Drone Flights?

The Ehang 184 passenger drone

Chinese company Ehang released its first video of passengers riding in their unmanned drone. Similar to the “Space Race”, transportation drones are the new category that countries are racing to explore. The new video suggests the China is advancing more so than the US or Europe.

The drone is different from established air travel like airplanes and helicopters because they still use small electric motors like normal drones. The unmanned drone can cope with a number of different conditions like storm winds and being in low visibility. The Ehang 184 can currently reach speeds up to 80 mph.

As usual, technology has advanced faster than we can regulate it. As of today, there are no rules about passenger drones. There is worry about flying the drones in already populated air space and safe altitudes for the drone to fly.  The drone is currently not available for purchase but Ehang hopes to announce prices and details this summer.



3D Printing Food?

Coming to a kitchen near you: 3D printed food! While 3D printing food is not a totally new idea, researchers at Columbia University are looking into making it better. They are currently trying to figuring out a way to heat the food while its printing.

According to this video, they plan to make 3D food printers with lasers to heat the food, instead of more traditional cooking methods.The ingredients that go into this machine are the same ingredients used to make regular food, so the concept truly isn’t that foreign. Using the laser will make the cooking more accurate than that of an oven or microwave, down to about a millimeter. While the 3D printer seems like something only a top chef would use, they hope that in the future everybody will have a 3D food printer in their kitchens. They plan to make this 3D printer relatively affordable, thus changing the way we cook today. If implemented, this could affect various food industries. Why go out for a fancy meal when you could make it at home for less money?

When could you expect to see this in stores? The technology has not been picked up by any big businesses quite yet, so it could be a long time before we could see these in our everyday lives.

So enjoy your microwaved mac ‘n’ cheese for now, the future is coming soon.


Are Cashierless Stores the Future?

A look into the new Amazon Go store.


The Internet of Things is back at it again! Monday marks the first day that customers will be able to shop at the first Amazon Go store in Seattle. While this is definitely not the store for the technologically novices, it is exciting to see what we can really access. The store has absolutely no checkout lines, so how are customer supposed to shop? Well, to even enter the store you have to log on to your Amazon Go app. Sensors throughout the store will then track what you take and charge your Amazon account. There will even be digital displays under each item that will tell you how the item was rated, just like on the website!

As this is the first store of its kind, many wonder how it will take off. According to the article, Amazon tested the store on its current employees. According to an Amazon representative, the volume of business just from that small market was significantly higher than expected. While this is their first store of this kind, selling groceries, ready-to-eat meals, cold drinks and meal prep kits, Amazon operates 13 bookstores across the U.S.

A store like this definitely inspires a question or two. Is human interaction being replaced by the simplicity that technology brings? Will this be the beginning of the end for cashiers? How will Amazon ensure that the technology is always talking to each other and does not malfunction? While I have no answer to these questions, perhaps time can tell us a thing or two. Even though I am currently a cashier, I would be excited to try out this new store!



Goodbye Parents, Hello Luka?

Luka, the reading robot.

The Internet of Things is not only everywhere but it keeps getting bigger. Luka is the newest educational toy that can read to your children for you. Luka works by scanning pages of books, reaching into its cloud database, and then reading out loud to the child. Luka can only read books in its database, but don’t worry about limiting your child’s selection because so far Luka can read more than 50,000 books. Luka also comes with a compatible app so that parents can be involved as well. The app allows parents to alert their children when to get off Luka and go to bed or even when to wake up.The goal is that Luka will teach your kids how to read independently.

While Luka seems like a great resource, some people are not onboard. There are worries that Luka will further erode traditional family values. Reading a bedtime story to your child is seen as bonding experience and has been for years. If your child were to have Luka read to them, would it damage your relationship? The interviewer in this video had a similar question for the creator of Luka. The answer is yet to be seen, but with other products out there like the LeapFrog Tag Reading Stylus, I doubt that it would replace the natural craving we have for human interaction. I, like the creator, believe that it could be helpful to keep learning on track if children have parents that are busy and are not always available to help their child.

Another potential problem with the Luka toy is that it may increase children’s addiction to technology. With increasing worries about how constant technology affects us and especially children, a toy like Luka could potentially fail on the market.

Luka will be released in the United States this March and will cost about $149.