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07 : 09 : 18

Nike promotes female empowerment in Mexico, Aexos invests in athletes’ physical health, Google Assistant can now speak various languages at once.

Nike empowers young Mexican women

Juntas Imparables (Together Unstoppable) – Just Do It, PrettyBird production for Nike

Mexico – As the company celebrates 30 years of its famed Just Do It slogan, the sports brand has launched its first Nike Women campaign in Mexico.

The short ad, entitled Juntas Imparables, or Together Unstoppable, features young women – including boxer Mariana Juárez and runner Paola Morán – battling societal expectations and sexism on the bustling streets of Mexico City. The campaign aims to demonstrate that the challenges of being a woman in what remains a largely male-dominated country are no obstacle for those wishing to pursue their goals.

The film kicks off a month-long campaign that will encourage young Mexican women to become involved in sports through a more social approach to activity. Women will be able to register a team of four to log workouts through the Nike Training Club app, Nike Run Club or through face-to-face sessions at the brand's dedicated Nike Women MX House. Once the challenge begins, teams can review their progress on a scoreboard and the winning team will receive a one-year Nike sponsorship.

To discover what’s driving Mexico’s youth, explore our dedicated market here.

A protective shirt for contact sports players

Halo by Aexos, Canada Halo by Aexos, Canada
Halo by Aexos, Canada Halo by Aexos, Canada

Canada – Technology start-up Aexos has developed a compression shirt that helps reduce whiplash and the likelihood of concussion during contact sports.

The long-term health consequences of sports-related injuries has become a major topic of conversation in the sports industry. In response to both athletes’ and sports teams’ concerns, Aexos developed the Halo shirt, which not only provides postural support for sports players without affecting their mobility, but also aims to reduce the impact of contact play. The design's key innovation is found in its high collar. During normal play the shirt’s smart material remains soft, but on impact the material stiffens to improve neck stability, slowing the rate of whiplash motion by 46%.

Elsewhere, sports brands are investing in athletes’ health by focusing on recovery. At CES 2017, Under Armour unveiled a new line of sleepwear embedded with a bioceramic material known to improve sleep quality.

Dubai’s future buildings will be 3D-printed

Dubai – The city’s new strategy, launched by UAE prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is for every new building in Dubai to be constructed using 3D-printed components.

The integration of 3D printing into the cityscape will begin in 2019, starting with 2% of each building being 3D-printed, with the aim of increasing this to 25% of each new build by 2025.

According to the government of Dubai, 3D printing components will cut construction costs by 90% and labour costs by 70%. In addition, the government says the technology could help to reduce waste by up to 60%.

Initially, the strategy will focus on construction, developing foundations, construction joints, lighting, parks, buildings for humanitarian causes and mobile homes. However, the Dubai Future Foundation has also revealed plans to expand the strategy to other industries, including 3D-printed bones and organs for the medical sector.

For more on the design and building of our future cities, see our dedicated series here.

Dubai Future Foundation, UAE

Google’s assistant becomes multilingual

Google Bilingual Assistant

Global – At the recent IFA consumer electronics show, the company announced that its virtual assistant will now include multilingual support, enabling devices to understand and speak more than one language at a time.

Family members in bilingual homes will now be able to adjust their devices to speak and understand two languages interchangeably. Users can issue commands such as ‘Hey Google, turn off the hallway light’ or ‘¡Hey Google, apaga la luz del pasillo’, and the device will respond to either command. This upgraded assistant is able to understand any pair of languages from English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, and there are plans to add more languages in the coming months.

As technology becomes a prominent part of the home, Google is continuing to demonstrate efforts to make human conversation with virtual devices more natural, with this now accommodating different language and speech behaviours. For more on how design and technology are changing in a new era of Bricolage Living, see our macrotrend here.

Stat: The food waste crisis is worsening

Each year, 1.6bn tons of food, which is equivalent to one third of the total amount of food produced globally, goes to waste. A new report by consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group suggests these figures will continue to rise as the problem emerges as a critical global issue.

To tackle the scale and scope of the problem, food suppliers, hospitality, travel and CPG brands must consider how they can help to either reduce or repurpose food waste. Seen in practice, US company Agraloop has launched a new initiative, Crop-A-Porter, which transforms leftover yields from crops such as bananas, sugar cane and pineapples into biofibre that both reduces waste and provides additional income for farmers. The biofibre can then be woven into a sustainable textile fabric suitable for clothing. Elsewhere, food start-up Rise Products has developed a flour made from repurposed brewers’ grain.

Thought-starter: How fintech is transforming Africa’s financial systems

Once riddled with corruption and hyperinflation, the financial infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa is being overhauled to establish a more cohesive and reliable system that focuses on financial inclusion.

Technologies such as online banking and ATMs, which have become so commonplace in many other parts of the world, have experienced low adoption rates across Sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, many consumers are relying on their mobile devices to manage their money. As a result, in 2017 telecoms provider MTN Rwanda worked with the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) to introduce MoKash. The service provides customers with access to short-term loans and savings accounts, which accrue interest of up to 7%. It also requires no bank account and to apply, users simply enter a series of numbers into a telephone handset.

While Western consumers and financial institutions are often hesitant to explore blockchain and cryptocurrencies, these innovations are winning notable interest across Sub-Saharan Africa. Powered by the digital currency Dash, Kuvacash promises consumers an easy-to-use, reliable payment system, in which users exchange US dollars for blockchain tokens that can then be used to pay for goods or services at any retailer that uses the Kuva app.

Read the full market here.

Starting From Scratch, Kuvacash
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