Apologies for the absence, but we’re back! This time, Nora talks about Ring, a very cool project on Kickstarter (via Core77). You tap the side of the ring, then use finger gestures to control your various devices. Check out the video and let us know if you’d use this. Are Minority Report style gestural interfaces the future, or will we stick with our phones and purpose-built devices?
Cathi brings you the story of “selfie money” (via PSFK). Artist Jonathan Keats has an ironic proposal for saving cash money: appeal to our narcissism by printing bills with ‘selfie’ images of individuals on it!
Nora also mentions Duolingo, the fun, free online language learning website she’s been using. Check it out!
This time around, we do a bit of a debrief about Cathi Bond’s book launch.
Nora Young talks about an upcoming episode of Nora’s show Spark, on the future of work, and wonders what are the jobs that humans – for sure – can do, that A.I. programs can’t down the road. She mentions this New Scientist article on A.I. taking on some functions traditionally performed by judges. You can find some of Spark’s past coverage on this issue here and here. So, what do you think? Based on how A.I. is progressing, what would you advise young people to go into as a career?
Cathi’s obsession with nests, cocoons, and tree-houses continues. This time it’s a model rainforest in Cornwall that includes a very cool tree-house where you can stay over amongst the trees! (Via Gizmag)
Nora’s obsession with data continues as well. This time, it’s a neat project launched by Intel’s R&D wing and some TED fellows: We The Data is a platform for thinking up democratic approaches to data use (via Technology Review) Along the way, Nora refers to research at MIT, and practical uses of feature phone data.
On this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond and Nora Young are back from a midwinter break with some wacky stories that nonetheless point to bigger trends. Cathi has two examples of tech for babies. There’s the Bubble Baby futuristic, self-cleaning crib, which Cathi and Nora would both like for themselves (via Gizmag), and the slightly more dubious sounding iPotty (via Gizmag).
Nora looks at The Polaroid Cacher, a very cool art project which is built off a vintage polaroid camera (via Prosthetic Knowledge). Essentially, it recreates the experience of taking instamatic snapshots, but in this case, it captures your digital, on-screen interactions. It’s part of a trend we’ve looked at before on The Sniffer, and on Nora’s show, Spark, of combining the digital and the mechanical or analog. Why do we love this stuff so much?
Finally, Cathi saw this Samsung easel TV which came out of this year’s CES (via Paste Magazine). She points to it as part of a flood of new TV designs. What would it take you to invest in a new TV?
Hey trendwatchers! In today’s podcast, Cathi Bond talks about a gorgeous – and tiny – portable home by Leaf House, and a fellow named Laird Herbert. Small houses are picking up as a trend; could you see yourself living in one? (Via Jetson Green)
Nora Young mentions Springwise’s story about the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, which now accepts art by artists as barter payment for a night’s stay in the hotel. It has Nora wondering whether the barter economy could make the leap from peer-to-peer, to individual-business bartering. More on the barter economy from Business Week, here.
Finally Meagan Perry has created this very cool project called Stationary Groove. It maps what music people at different Toronto subway stations are listening to and offers up a playlist.
This time, trendwatching pals, everything old is new again, at least in retail. Cathi Bond hearkens back to the tinkerer and the bookmobile with Styleliner, a mobile boutique fashioned out of an old chip truck (via PSFK). How important is in-person shopping to you? Is online OK for some things but not others?
Nora Young looks at a new experiment in the growing attempt to marry the digital and the paper book in creative ways. Between Page and Screen uses augmented reality to create a 3D experience with books (via Springwise). Is this the beginning of a more sculptural approach to text? A cool niche a la Griffin and Sabine or The Raw Shark Texts? More importantly, would you read like this, or do you prefer good ol’ linear text?
On this week’s podcast, Cathi Bond is feeling inspired by her participation in 1,000 Songs, a Facebook group about music, coordinated by arts guy about town, Jim Shedden. She’s discovered great tunes by The Cowsills and more. If you can’t get depth from long form journalism, maybe social media is the answer after all.
Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about this article in Technology Review, about the impending job loss as a result of the rate of change in computer technology. It reminded Nora of this article by Farhad Manjoo. Oh, and watch out for flying robots.
In today’s trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond looks at the news that IKEA is creating a development in east London. The neighbourhood will have about 1,200 homes, and will be mostly car-free. What do you think? Would you live in a development like this? Is this the ultimate in ‘extending the brand’? You can read more about it here.
Meanwhile, Nora Young is back from New York, and finds the city still in retro mode, at least as far as cool bars and eateries goes, from the 70s vibe of Marshall Stack, to older aesthetic throwbacks. Still, nothing felt as fresh as the steampunk vibe of a few years back. Cathi points out that the retro feel is found far and wide these days, from the return of vinyl to Toronto spots like The Communist’s Daughter and Commute Home, to the ‘rumpus room’ aesthetic you find in videos like this one, from Real Estate:
In this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond talks about the launch of The Slant, dubbed an “artifact” publication (via JC Report). It looks cool, with a bit of an anti-consumerist edge. What’s the place for real, physical artifacts in a digital age? You can find out more about the project by watching their charming Kickstarter pitch.
Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions this new infographic on post-secondary students’ use of cellphones, particularly in class (via Mashable). Nora wonders how educators can respond. Should they design courses that actually involve interactive use of phones, thereby satisfying the urge for a quick info hit while keeping the course on track?
And a quick note in the ongoing struggle for publishers to adapt to a digital age: a division of Simon and Schuster is trying out smart books. These are regular paper books kitted out with RFID tags. Browsers can touch their phones to them to learn more about the books (via PSFK)
In this trendwatching podcast, Nora Young talks about how cultural entrepreneurs are experimenting with subscriptions to limited edition, niche products, appealing to our love of the physical and the unique in an era of zeros and ones. Fast Company discusses how two projects, The Thing Quarterly and Quarterly.co are using the subscription model for physical goods. Nora points to Trendwatching’s take on the rise of subscription services.
Meanwhile, Cathi Bond takes us on a journey into publishing in the 21st century. Though she’s had encouraging signs in the conventional publishing world, including having her novel optioned for a film, she’s considering self-publishing. Cathi asks the hard questions every author thinking about going this route ought to be looking at. What do you think the future of self-publishing in a digital age is? Any tips for Cathi?