Harbisson, whose U.K. passport shows he’s the first legally recognized cyborg, was born colorblind. He designed his antenna—which translates colors into one of 360 musical tones he’s memorized—back in 2003 with help from a cyberneticist. At first, he connected it to headphones and a laptop. Eventually, he persuaded a surgeon to drill into his skull, implant a chip, and fuse the antenna to his occipital bone.
The couple say merging technology with their bodies has created new senses. “We are transspecies,” says Ribas, whose three-year-old seismic implant vibrates at different intensities based on data from online seismographs. As with other biohackers, their claims—he says my color registers as an F sharp, for example—are difficult to verify. But their London startup, Cyborg Nest, is manufacturing DIY kits meant to bring their transhumanism closer to the mainstream.
Adam Lashinsky of Fortune interviewed David Limp, an Amazon senior vice president who oversees Alexa and all of its Amazon devices at the Brainstorm Tech conference. Some eye popping details about the size of the device business and its business model.
“We really believe and the team believes that we should align ourselves with both the business model and the product, so that if customers use it over a period of time, then we'll take a small amount of profit every time they have a transaction. It might be an Audible book; it might be a Kindle book; it might be shopping as they go through the lifecycle of that product.
Nothing makes me and the team happier to see a first generation Kindle in somebody's hands. We're still supporting it. You can still buy books from it and that's a great win-win for us and the customer.”
The global market is projected to hit $2.7 billion in 2017, a 35 percent rise since 2010, according to the research company Statista. Breaking this down, hair-restoration surgical operations rose 57 percent from 2010 to 2014, and more than 3 percent of all U.S. households use a hair-loss product.
With all that money on the table, more than 55 labs around the globe are experimenting with solutions that range from stem cells and bioprinting to hair cloning and robotic transplants. The San Diego–based biotech company Samumed has been getting a lot of attention for its hair-loss drug, the evocatively named SM04554, a topical solution that targets the same genes that control fetal growth. Zap the right gene the right way, and you feasibly can regrow hair. Since 2008, the firm has raised $220 million and has set its sights on a valuation of $12 billion. (Its market cap currently is $6 billion.) Hong Kong–based Pineworld Capital has invested $6 million in Histogen, another regenerative medical company based in San Diego. It markets an injectable neonatal-cell scalp treatment that is slated to go on the market in China next year. The Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido has invested an undisclosed amount since 2013 in a partnership with RepliCel Life Sciences, a stem-cell research outfit (see video below) RepliCel Life Sciences plans to launch a $1,000 treatment by 2018, most likely in the form of topical dermal injectors.
When it comes to the state of the tax code, there’s a surprising amount of consensus in Washington: liberals, conservatives and every President from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump agree that the corporate tax is broken, ineffective and needs to be fixed.
The problem, in a nutshell, is that the 35% corporate tax rate is among the highest in the developed world. But because of loopholes, it produces less federal revenue, as a percentage of GDP, than most other countries’. The current system also creates an incentive for companies to perform feats of legal acrobatics, like relocating corporate headquarters and shuffling intellectual property to far-flung foreign locales, to shield their balance sheets from the IRS.
That’s where the BAT comes in. In theory, this little tax will fix those big problems. Instead of taxing corporate profits, the BAT taxes corporate cash flow. That means it doesn’t matter where a company’s headquarters are located or where its intellectual property is housed. All that matters is where it sells its products. If it sells its products in America, it pays 20% on what it makes. If it sells its products abroad, it pays no U.S. corporate tax at all. (Foreign taxes would still apply.)
But it’s not this blistering performance that has attracted a strategic partnership with France’s PSA Group. It’s the drastic drop in manufacturing cost and complexity that Divergent Manufacturing Platform promises. Here’s what Czinger reckons it will cost to set up a factory for annual production of 10,000 units: 16 3-D printers, 10 flexible robots, 50 technicians, 20 additional staff, and a 100,000-square-foot building. That’s $42 million for the factory and $30 million in tooling.
Those numbers compare with $250 million to build a traditional factory plus $250 million for comparable conventional manufacturing tool-and-die equipment. By his accounting, the rolling chassis unit cost also comes in $500 cheaper (at $3,500), which brings the fully amortized per-vehicle savings of about $3,900. Imagine PSA’s savings on the mainstream Peugeot or Citroën it plans to build this way within three years at 180,000 to 200,000 units annually. Much of that cost and emissions reduction comes by eliminating the paint shop. The aluminum and carbon-fiber chassis doesn’t need it, and the unstressed composite body panels get molded in color or wrapped.
When it only takes a small fortune to get into the car business, Divergent envisions many 10,000-unit microfactories springing up around the country, which would create local jobs and promote local entrepreneurship—just like at the dawn of the automotive age when 1,800 automakers dotted the U.S. landscape.
To use an IQOS, you push a flavored packet of tobacco called a heatstick into the mouth of a tubular, pipelike holder, which is a bit smaller than a kazoo. When you press a button on the holder, it heats up a metal blade inside, which cooks the tobacco to roughly a third of the temperature of a traditional cigarette. Then you puff away. The tobacco is warmed without combusting, so it doesn’t release any fire, smoke, or ash. This, in theory, makes it healthier to inhale when using heat-not-burn gadgets than when smoking, for instance, a run-of-the-mill Parliament.
In between heatsticks, you holster the cyberpipe in a mobile charger, a smooth, palm-size contraption that calls to mind a cigarette pack mated with a smartphone and designed by Apple’s Jony Ive.
But whereas pizzamaking remains high-touch and traditional, pizza marketing is anything but. There, Domino’s Pizza Inc. has decided that modern works better than authentic, and fun is best of all. For the past five years, the company has been emphasizing all the ways you can order pizza with minimal human and maximal digital contact. It’s introduced more ordering methods—Facebook, Twitter, Twitter with emojis, Apple Watch, voice-activated, “zero click,” wedding registry —than new items on its menu. Customers can track their pizzas online, starting as they’re being made, and in San Diego (for now; likely nationwide soon) they can track their drivers. If an Australian wants to pick up her order, a GPS system can monitor her approach so the pizza is hot on arrival.
Domino’s has spent millions to trick out a fleet featuring “the ultimate pizza delivery vehicle”—the DXP, a Chevrolet Spark subcompact with special side doors and warming ovens. An independent franchisee in New Zealand is testing delivery by drone and robot. In 2015, for the first time, more than half of Domino’s orders were placed online, and half of those came via mobile.
Libratus defeated its four human opponents with an average daily win of $206,061 and a grand total win on a hefty $1,766,250 in virtual funds.
But don’t let Libratus scare you — it was only created to play Heads-Up, No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker. It’s the brainchild of Professor Tuomas Sandholm and Ph.D. student Noam Brown from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science and uses the Bridges computer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center for its computation needs. It doesn’t rely on the experience of expert human players but instead, consists of algorithms that create a strategy based on an analysis of the rules and the opponents.
It’s probably the first time you’ve seen 300 drones flying in formation, but it’s almost certainly not the last. The technology underpinning the Intel Shooting Star drone system is fascinating in and of itself, but its potential applications are even more so. The same drones that accompanied Lady Gaga will one day revolutionize search-and-rescue, agriculture, halftime shows, and more.
Of all the tech innovationscoming out of McDonald's, we never would have expected the humble drinking straw needed a redesign. But that's exactly what a team of robotic and aerospace engineers did as part of a marketing push for the burger chain's new Chocolate Shamrock Shake.
For those who aren't familiar: the new menu item is a layered fifty-fifty combination of McDonald's standard chocolate milkshake with the minty seasonal favorite on top.
The redesigned STRAW -- short for "Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal," of course -- is meant to alleviate the most basic of problems: having to wait for your shake to melt a bit before you can get the perfect mix of chocolate and mint flavors. While a conventional straw will only slurp up one part of the shake at a time, engineers from JACE Engineering and NK Labs carefully engineered the STRAW's J-shaped snorkel design and side openings to suck in both layers at once. According to McDonald's, their new tubular sipping device required some fairly complex computational fluid dynamics simulations to get the flow right and make sure it works just as well at the bottom of your shake as it did on the first sip.