July 2017’s Coolest Things
Every month in the Sutherland Labs slack channel we compete to impress each other with the coolest things that we can find in the world. Sometimes that cool thing is a tent that goes in your pocket, sometimes it is an app that tricks you into exercising and sometimes, just sometimes, that cool thing is something completely unexpected. We have been tweeting about these cool things all month, but here’s our favourites from July!
If you thought that the British were dangerously obsessed with these multi-fingered biscuits then Japan’s fixation on the Kit Kat might shock you. Japan have had over 300 different varieties of Kit Kat flavours for four decades, but the latest additions like matcha green tea, sake, ginger and wasabi have begun to attract particularly dedicated tourists from around the world. The popularity of the snack is so great that two dedicated stores have opened in Tokyo and a new factory is under construction to keep up with demand.
Every time that you think technologists have finally learned their lesson from science fiction, along comes somebody like the designer of Replika, an AI chatbot designed to learn and perfectly mimic your behaviour and patterns of communication. So that if you were to mysteriously vanish, this chatbot could just hop onto Facebook and reassure everyone that you are just fine and there is no robot revolution going on outside that they need to be worrying about. In reality, this software has some amazing applications, from creating a “screen shot” of your personality at a certain time in your life for you to consult with later, or to create a living memorial that could go on communicating with your friends and relatives after you have passed on. You could even have your replicant write lists of cool things for you.
Part electric surfboard and part hydrofoil, the Jetfoil does a lot of interesting things on the water. It makes no sound and leaves no wake while also having a powerful motor to support its cruise control feature, letting riders lean back and enjoy scooting across the surface of the ocean in comfort. It is being hailed as an accessible option for people who don’t have the physical capabilities required for surfing, while still wanting to experience the best of what the ocean has to offer.
How would you like tyres that could adapt to changing conditions on the road? What if they could change their tread to suit different weather conditions without your input? Goodyear’s latest invention is an AI powered spherical tyre that is intended to be fully connective so that it can chat with your self-driving car and capture information about its surroundings in real-time. The bionic skin of the tyre can even detect punctures as they happen and rotate the injured section away so that the “self-healing” process can take over and patch the problem.
Check back at the end of the month for the latest coolest things that we have seen, and who knows, it might somehow out-do Sake flavoured Kit-Kats!