With full-time chefs and other pros giving demos, Pirch (see video below) encourages customers to linger in its eight expansive showrooms. The carefully trained technicians deliver and install products and perform long-term warranty work, making them the first—and only—ones to call if you have a problem.
Waterworks is known for its luxury bathroom fixtures sold in 15 stand-alone showrooms (and other locations) and by more than 60 partners. The company entered the kitchen-design market last year with an all-kitchen showroom and kitchen sections in three existing showrooms.
Fullpower built the lab about a decade ago to capture data from sleep patterns. Of course, test subjects don’t typically snooze deeply with wires glued to their skulls, chests, legs, and arms. But almost everyone manages to at least nod off for a while, and the data that subjects generate are valuable and often surprising. “What we found early on is that sometimes you sleep less and feel more refreshed,” Kahn says. “It’s because you woke up in the light part of the sleep cycle.” The insight led him to develop a sleep-cycle alarm that could determine the best time to alert a person within a certain window. “Sometimes it’s better to get up at 10 of seven than at seven,” he says.
Researchers are discovering that each of us walks around with 1.5 gal. (5.7 L) of what may be the most sophisticated and revealing diagnostic available. Each drop teems with data, not just about your current state of health but also about what your future might hold.
The breadth of blood-detectable conditions is exploding thanks to the latest technologies. As doctors get better at understanding what goes wrong at the molecular level when we get sick, they can better pick out specific compounds in human plasma–the component that holds all the blood cells–that signal the first stages of trouble.
MyFord Touch was powered by a Microsoft operating system, but Ford is now using an OS from BlackBerry subsidiary QNX that already runs in-dash systems in Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes-Benzes, among others. In 2005, the system’s early days, a partnership with Microsoft was “completely obvious,” says Gary Jablonski, Ford’s manager of infotainment systems. “We wanted a big software company, lots of horsepower, connected to the consumer industry, connected to the phone industry.” The BlackBerry software, he says, will be more resistant to crashes of the PC variety. It turns out the kinds of bugs people will tolerate from their phones drive them crazy on the road.
Sync 3 aims to wipe the touchscreen clean with a far easier interface. “We really focused on trying to make a system that was the simplest to use for customers,” Jablonski says. That goal may sound obvious, but John Schneider, the project’s chief engineer, acknowledges that to justify the added cost, “We tried to pack a lot of features into MyFord Touch.”
There’s a shift under way in large organizations, one that puts design much closer to the center of the enterprise. But the shift isn’t about aesthetics. It’s about applying the principles of design to the way people work.
This new approach is in large part a response to the increasing complexity of modern technology and modern business. That complexity takes many forms. Sometimes software is at the center of a product and needs to be integrated with hardware (itself a complex task) and made intuitive and simple from the user’s point of view (another difficult challenge). Sometimes the problem being tackled is itself multi-faceted: Think about how much tougher it is to reinvent a health care delivery system than to design a shoe. And sometimes the business environment is so volatile that a company must experiment with multiple paths in order to survive.
Data based on more than a dozen studies published in peer-reviewed journals suggest that in healthy people, float therapy can be an effective relaxation technique. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. What’s yet to be determined is whether people who have psychiatric disorders, like depression, could gain therapeutic benefits from floating.
But researchers are actively seeking answers. One study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that for a group of people with stress-related pain, flotation helped decrease anxiety and depression. Next year Feinstein plans to scan the brains of people with conditions like PTSD before and after they float. He expects to see a drop in activity in the brain areas that correlate with anxiety, which could bolster floating’s potential as a helpful treatment technique.
Economy class usually consists of uncomfortable cramped seats that follow a standard row format. But that's changing. Several airlines have introduced economy seats that can be converted to flat beds, and some have taken that even further.
Air New Zealand's Skycouch allows for a row of three economy seats to be converted into a flat bed, all with the push of a button.
The arms on the seats retract, while the seat base extends and seat belts lengthen to give you space for reclining. Up to two people can recline together by lying horizontally against the wall. It's been dubbed the "Cuddle Class," and comes at the standard price for each seat, and the third shared seat for half price.
Compared with a traditional loan application, Lending Club is blissfully easy. To qualify, borrowers need only an active bank account, a minimum FICO credit score of 660–the approximate subprime cutoff point–and at least three years of credit history. A proprietary underwriting algorithm approves or rejects the loan on the spot.
On the surface, lending might seem just as simple. Prospective backers can create a Lending Club account and fund it through a bank transfer. They can choose loans to fund individually or set parameters regarding loan size and risk and let Lending Club’s systems assign the funds automatically. But while it’s tempting to view that activity as lending–the natural flip side of borrowing–what’s actually going on is more complex. What lenders are really doing is investing: they’re putting their money in notes backed by the prospective repayment of loans. The sizes of the loans range from $1,000 to $35,000. Investors can buy notes in increments as small as $25–which means they can purchase small slices of lots of different loans, spreading the risk around.
It’s now commonplace for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to turn their domiciles into startup incubators. Three years after Kenna started 20Mission, its 41 rooms are booked solid. A small room with a shared bathroom now runs $1,800 a month. Stays can last years but are typically a few months. Today every room has a door, and the front door unlocks with the tap of a smartphone. Rent is paid in cash, check, or Bitcoin. The Internet router takes up an entire closet. In the basement there’s a television studio, where residents produce a weekly Web program called Money & Tech.