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Smile’s Innovation Watch #29

Smile’s Innovation Watch #29

It’s already back to school season 🏫 Time passed like a snap 👌 and we barely realize, stuck in our home, that months have passed. Since we’re progressively adapting to this “new normal”; we, at Smile Innovation, are getting back to our habits and that’s true also for the techwatch 😃

In this edition, you’ll discover our 2-month-condensed cherry-picked articles, news, discovery and videos.

This, is our Innovation watch.

💡 Innovation

Swiss region will accept cryptocurrencies for taxes in 2021

Switzerland’s Zug canton joins its eponymous central city and several Swiss towns in agreeing to take tax payments in cryptocurrency. Zug is thought to be the first region in the wealthy Alpine country to make the decision. Naming themselves as the *crypto valley, they will accept taxes for companies and individuals up to 100 000 Swiss francs (±92 828€) in BTC and ETH as of February 2021. Using third party solutions, the administration will still receive the payment in the local currency, with literally no risk at all. But they hope for a nice buzz for sure.

LG Wing is the first phone with two twistable screens

That’s a completely new way of thinking application and multitasking and LG is betting high on this one. The two-screen let seems to be able to be positioned in a T-shape and support multiple phone orientation. I bet our friends at Neopixl can’t wait to start thinking about app design for this one 😁

Harvard and Sony built a foldable surgery robot

It’s a bit like those pop-up books we had when we were children; this tiny robot is created to be flexible but always comes back in the initial position itself. With three linear actuators, the movements can be remotely controlled in different directions, while being 68% more accurate in microscopic tracing than a tool controlled by a human hand directly. It already passes tests while simulating retinal vein surgery successfully.

🗽 Privacy & Freedom

Facebook is announcing glasses that let you zoom in other people conversations

Because Facebook doesn’t know anything about the creepiness of their product, they showcased lenses that let you target a group of people an use a homemade A.I. model to clean your surrounding audio to hear, cristal clear, the conversation of the group you are looking. For all who feared Google Glasses, brace yourself; privacy is getting more and more a privilege.

Amazon is going after your fitness data

Leveraging on the dead Echo Look, Amazon is trying to offer a new activity tracker as a wristband, with no screen, but microphones always on that will guess how you are (stressed, happy, …) during the day while the other sensors will monitor your activity. The companion app lets you scan yourself in 3D to check on your body composition with a better result than the impedance measure you can find on some smart scales. The device is 99,99$ + taxes and the service is 3,99$ + taxes each month.

Amazon will let you fill your space with furniture

Coming to Amazon shopping for iOS and desktop browsers, Room decorator will let you see multiple items at scale and simultaneously in your interior. You’ll be able to store and share the rendering or save the entire room layout. AR shopping is booming!

💰 Acquisition

Apple reached $2 trillion market cap in August

In just two years, the company doubles its valuation, and it’s the first publicly traded U.S. company to reach this milestone after being the first to get the $1 trillion market cap two years ago.

Uber pushes into on-demand public transit with partnerships

Operating in partnership with city public transit of Marin County in the S.F. Bay Area. With the pandemic striking the world, the business of Uber is refocused on Eats food-delivery service, medicine-delivery service, and public transportation partnerships, planning to open 15 cities around the world on this segment.

Trump signs orders banning U.S. business with TikTok owned ByteDance and Tencent’s WeChat

Because WW3 isn’t going to happen just by itself, the leader of the free world decided to go a step further in the commercial war against China and signing an executive order to prevent any U.S. company from doing business with those two companies, but also others, taking part of their plan to purge untrusted Chinese tech services under their Clean Network program. Microsoft was in discussion to buy the U.S. activity of TikTok to let the service operate on American soil, but it’s now doubtful it will happen.

🔓 OpenSource

Mozilla is laying off 250 people because they want to focus on making money

Pocket, the VPN service, Hubs, the VR chatroom, and other privacy products are the new focus for the company closing his Taipei’s office. The principal revenue stream for Mozilla is the search engine paying them to be the default ones in each country. The coronavirus crisis accelerated the need for new cash for the company.

Open-source icon resources

It’s not one but 3 resources we are sharing today:

  • Tabler Icons which are 681 fully customizable free SVG icons under MIT license with a gorgeous website to try them all
  • which are pure CSS icons that just need a selector to exist, with an option to get pure SVG or TSX code! And there’s a figment and Adobe XD resources available.
  • Hero Icons which are 226 icons available under MIT license available in CSS and JSX. If you have time, be sure to check the classic hero icons which are not free but a masterpiece of CSS art!

China is building a GitHub alternative

Since the U.S. technology being available to Chinese people is uncertain, more and more fears of being left without access to their open-source project repositories. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology picked up a 7-year-old Chinese startup, who created Gitee, to build an independent, open-source code hosting platform in China. Github, owned by Microsoft, already gutted of services in Iran, Syria, and Crimea in the past because of government regulation and pressure.

🌱 Sustainability & Society

A license to prevent oil and gas companies to use your work

Like a lot of industries, Oil & Gas are relying on a lot of open-source technology projects such jupyter, requests, or purest just to name a few of them. It helps them to increase their efficiency and make them more profitable, using a lot of automation in their process. Using this license, which violates the O.S. Initiative’s canonical O.S. Definition, it can be used as a bold stance in the fight to save the planet.

Amazon is opening its 1st Amazon Fresh physical grocery store in L.A.

The idea here will be to build a new grocery store experience from the ground up, targeting a different customer than Whole Foods and Amazon Go stores. Indeed, this is part of the course with all consumer packaged goods plays: own a wide variety of brands targeting all demographics, and you will own the space.

Burger King unveils its new restaurant’s concept with touches features and outdoor dining

With the spread of COVID-19, restaurants aren’t the same anymore, and it seems B.K. is embracing it the fullest. The new concept includes drive-in where you park at a spot and order through the mobile app. If you place your order ahead, you’re parking on another dedicated spot to get your order. You don’t have a car? You can pick up your order on lockers accessible from the outside and the kitchen. Want to seat? Still possible but you’ll be outside in the shaded patio. Going for the traditional drive-thru? Your order will be delivered by the conveyor belt system from the suspended kitchen. And if you’re a delivery driver, you’ll have your own dedicated lane for that.

😁 Fun & WTF

Mario Kart Live will be A.R. race inside your home

For the 35th birthday of Mario, Nintendo announces Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. Pushing further the physical x digital integration in their game, after real-life Super Mario with Super Nintendo World, then LEGO™ Super Mario, here Super Nintendo offers us a real-life Mario kart experience, with a kart which let you design your own circuit in your home and play it in Augmented Reality.

Smaller than expected and directly embedded in your skull to not be noticeable by anyone, the new prototype is successfully tested on few pigs over the last couple of months and the scientists succeeded to decode signals sent to muscle in order to walk for example or when the pig is smelling some particular odors. The biggest success may not rely on the fact that Elon thinks he can cure autism (which is not an illness) or mental illness such depression by also “writing” into the brain, but more on all the nanosurgery techniques developed for the implantation itself, which is 100% reversible without any trauma.

Xiaomi unveils an entirely transparent TV

For their 10th anniversary, the leading Chinese tech company released a completely see-through TV. Not sure about the use case since absolutely no TV channel is ready to broadcast program with an alpha channel but, hey! Maybe we found a usage for animated PNG finally?

🛠 Tools

Manage your website from a Google Sheet

SpreadSimple is one of those solutions which are appearing more and more to offers you to take benefits of the fact that Google Spreadsheet provides API to access data and populate/manage your entire website or e-commerce from it.

Learn another language while browsing the web

This chrome extension slips into your page content and offers you to replace some of the words or parts of a sentence with another language, so you can learn with the context and all along during your day. Only available in French so far, there’s a voting system to unlock new languages. So far Spanish is on his way to be the next available language.

Did you say open-source web analytics with not personal data tracking?

That’s exactly what GoatCounter is. And it’s free for non-commercial use on their hosted services! You can self-host it for free (even commercially) and if you want to know more why someone is re-inventing the wheel since Google Analytics or Matomo exists, checkout his explanation.

Netflix launches a free section

It’s not even requiring an account to watch. But it will only offer some episodes of Netflix’s most popular titles like Stranger Things, The Two popes, or Grace and Frankie. Not available on iOS.

Ikea turned a virtual influencer into a physical installation

Maybe they think since it’s not a real person but a virtual influencer it’s fine to watch her 24/7 on a big LED screen in front of their stores. But I’m not quite sure the European market is ready for this.

Amazon is opening “online order only” physical stores

It’s called the dark store and it’s part of the future of online grocery shopping for Amazon. And it’s not the same stores as the online-only converted store during the pandemic (which are reverted now to their original purpose), but a true store designed only for orders to be delivered by drivers and bike delivery service.