1. Designer edits physical reality through visual effects
Eindhoven – Created by designer Audrey Large, the life.vfx project demonstrates a way of distorting physical objects through visual effects used in film-making.
Large argues that the ubiquity of screens and digital content is already creating a mixed reality, in which computer-generated images are superimposed onto physical environments. She suggests that by designing and editing physical objects as if they were part of the digital realm, we could create a more consistent experience of reality. ‘The awkwardness of our times is felt because we keep on designing objects and spaces as a way of navigating between two physical and digital worlds while we are experiencing them as one,’ she explains.
Large brings the idea to life through the Mocaps.vfx series of artefacts. Each object in the series started as an everyday product such as a fork or a vase, before being repeatedly distorted to reflect the gestures of its user. The movements were measured through motion capture and fed back into the software to transform the original shape. The project is a comment on the increasingly blurred nature of our reality and suggests that we can create unified design principles for the physical and the virtual worlds.
2. Tate Modern turns to healthy fast food for its latest project
London – Tate Modern is to host a pop-up food initiative later this year in collaboration with nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson and chef Gizzi Erskine that is described as ‘healthy food for hedonists’. In line with the general backlash against clean eating and the rise of fast casual dining, Pure Filth draws on Ferguson’s nutritional knowledge to show that healthy eating can be an intrinsic part of fast food.
The menu, which includes staples such as burgers and fries, has been designed to deliver in terms of taste and nutritional value, and includes tips such as ‘good for mood, gut and workout’ alongside dishes such as Shakshuka.
‘It’s not about compromise or cutting back. Instead, we’ve worked to create moreish recipes that actively work to nourish and sustain you,’ says Ferguson. See our Upstream Eating microtrend for more on why consumers are increasingly looking for medical assurances when choosing what to eat.
3. First FDA-approved digital pill tracks medication intake
US – Although the idea of a digital pill is not new, Abilify MyCite is the first to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Patients ingest the digital pill, which is fitted with an intelligent sensor that tracks when it is taken. Abilify MyCite is used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and as an additional treatment for depression.
The nature of these conditions means that sufferers can be inconsistent in taking their medication, which experts estimate costs about £75bn ($100bn, €85bn) a year in additional treatment and hospitalisation.
See our Smartphone Therapies microtrend for more on the brands that are using digital technology to help the pharmaceutical industry to evolve.
4. Ocado warehouse uses smart robots to speed up delivery times
UK – Online supermarket Ocado has developed automated warehouse technology that works alongside human employees to complete orders and replace stock. The system can fulfil a 50-item order in under five minutes, something that would typically take human workers about two hours.
The brand hopes to replicate the success of its warehouse at a new location in southeast London, where work is under way to build the world’s largest automated warehouse for grocery shopping. As explored in our forthcoming Food and Drink Futures Report 2017, online grocery shopping is the fastest-growing retail sector as brands use technology to offer fast and convenient delivery services.
5. Consumers turn increasingly to AI for emotional support
Brands and psychologists are developing services designed to help people experiencing mental health issues to discuss their problems in a non-judgemental environment. ‘This is a tremendous opportunity in terms of mental healthcare,’ Eleni Linos, assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, told The Guardian. For more on the growing need for AI therapists, read our Mental Health Market.
6. Thought-starter: How can we ensure that AI benefits society?
As AI becomes more visible and more powerful, senior writer Rebecca Coleman highlights the steps humanity can take to create a world in which technology is used to heal rather than widen rifts in society.
‘What’s most needed is clarity on the way in which technology, when wisely deployed, can dramatically enhance the quality of life for everyone. This technoprogressive, transhumanist vision of sustainable practical abundance can fill the void that is currently driving voters into warring camps,’ says David Wood, chair of London Futurists and executive director of think tank Transpolitica.
The idea that technology can be used to help humanity overcome societal, political, environmental and economic challenges may at first seem like an impossible utopian dream. But through the implementation of accessible educational programmes designed to enable people to develop a deeper understanding of AI, it may one day be used to provide the solutions that society so desperately needs.
Read the full Opinion here.