Need to Know
16 : 10 : 19

Habbi Habbi’s phygital books for language learning, cement with a lower carbon footprint, and Millennials want to strip back their wedding spend.

P.S. condoms get candid about protection

P.S. condoms P.S. condoms

US – The direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand aims to cut through the marketing spiel of sexual wellness companies with its straightforward branding.

P.S. describes itself as ‘a new type of condom brand’ for a new generation, offering odourless natural latex condoms via subscription. Tapping into the design cues of other DTC brands, its genderless packaging and conversational brand language positions it as a fuss-free product.

With access to period and shaving products disrupted by Generation Z-focused brands such as Blume, Ohne and Billie, P.S. aims to do the same with its unembellished marketing and attitude. ‘All the other companies out there are telling you that you need to try really hard to be sexy. We're here to remind you to just be you,’ reads the P.S. website. It also hosts a series of articles offering advice about sexually-transmitted diseases, as well as tips to become a better lover.

In this way, P.S. is recognising how Generation Z is turning to online platforms and social media for sex education, as well as realistic, inclusive perspectives on sex. For more, explore the Sex Re-education micro trend.

This phygital book helps children become bilingual

Habbi Habbi Habbi Habbi
Habbi Habbi Habbi Habbi

US – Habbi Habbi is teaching toddlers to speak new languages through engaging phygital UX.

The platform, which is targeted at children aged one to 10, aims to educate them in a second language without increasing their screen time. Habbi Habbi is comprised of a book – currently available in Mandarin or Spanish – and reading wand, which, when tapped on a page, transforms the book into an interactive tool.

Habbi Habbi hopes that non-bilingual parents will buy the books for their children, as language skills are associated with better mental flexibility and stronger family connections. ‘If parents speak multiple languages fluently, they can start teaching their kids the other language when they are infants,’ says co-founder Anne-Louise Nieto. ‘But there are many of us who aren’t fluent in another language and revert to speaking to our kids in English. We need products that are designed to be truly bilingual.’

Despite the amount of time they spend online, young people are still interested in engaging with printed formats. Read our microtrend Young Bibliophiles for more.

MIT hopes to shrink cement’s carbon footprint

US – Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a new process for making cement with a lower carbon footprint.

The researchers are experimenting with an electrochemical system with the aim of making ‘sustainable cement’. Using renewable energy and an electrolyser, the system converts limestone’s calcium carbonate into calcium hydroxide.

The resulting CO2 from the process is concentrated in such a way that it’s easier to capture and contain. In this way, any potential carbon dioxide released during the manufacturing of ubiquitous Portland cement could be cleanly captured and used as a by-product for other means, such as carbonating drinks or as a liquid fuel.

‘About one kilogram of carbon dioxide is released for every kilogram of cement made today,’ says Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, and a researcher on the project. In total, cement production today reportedly accounts for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

For more on the future of material innovation, explore our Material Far Futures report.

Cement production process by MIT Cement production process by MIT

Stat: Young Americans are jilting marriage traditions

Young Americans are demonstrating more contemporary attitude towards marriage, according to a study by TD Ameritrade. The survey found that parents are no longer expected to pay for their children’s weddings, with four in 10 Millennials stating they plan to foot their own bill.

Engagement rings are also less of a priority, according to the survey, with the traditional rule that a ring should cost three months’ salary no longer relevant. While the average engagement ring in the US retails for $5,680 (£4,445, €5,107), according to The Knot’s 2018 Real Wedding Study, two-thirds of Americans under 28 believe that an engagement ring should cost less than $2,500 (£1,953, €2,244).

The study points to a future in which marriage traditions are modernised to fit with the liberal yet unostentatious attitudes of Millennial and Generation Z consumers.

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