A California start-up called View, which has raised a whopping $500 million from investors including Corning, General Electric and Khosla Ventures, is making high-tech windows that have the potential to bring to buildings what high-resolution touchscreens did for smartphones.
View’s windows eliminate glare, change hue, moderate internal temperature — and at some point, could show entirely different views of the outside world — via a process that uses a pane of glass sprayed with electrochromic material, which alters light transmission.
The result is smart glass that increases energy efficiency and promises better worker productivity, via technology accessed through an app.
To go along with the Time 100 Must Influential People issue, columnist Joel Stein, partly tongue in cheek, came up with a similar animal list here
“To do so, I formed a panel consisting of seven top animal experts. The Animals 100 board consisted of PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel president Rich Ross, environmentalist Philippe Cousteau, Farm Sanctuary president Gene Baur,BuzzFeed Animals editor Chelsea Marshall, my friend Phil Johnston—who not only co-wrote Zootopia but also wrote the scene in The Brothers Grimsby in which the characters get stuck in an elephant’s vagina—and Moby, the vegan musician who lives a few houses away from me and was walking by my driveway while I was working on this.”
“The Animals 100 board members agreed that we were embarking on an important endeavor. “We would all have the same basic answers with the 100 most influential people, like Obama and Malala,” said Zootopia co-writer Johnston. “If you talk about influential animals, other than that dog from the French silent movie, most people would say their house pet. Which is why this is a much more difficult list and makes you a better journalist.””
It’s a fun read, especially if you are an animal lover like me.
Jordan built a variety of obstacles, including a deluge of water and walls that collapsed inward, Indiana Jones-style. But what he really wanted was a trap that behaved unpredictably. That would really throw his friends off guard. How to do it, though? He obsessed over the problem.
Then it hit him: the animals! Minecraft contains a menagerie of virtual creatures, some of which players can kill and eat (or tame, if they want pets). One, a red-and-white cowlike critter called a mooshroom, is known for moseying about aimlessly. Jordan realized he could harness the animal’s movement to produce randomness. He built a pen out of gray stones and installed “pressure plates” on the floor that triggered a trap inside the maze. He stuck the mooshroom inside, where it would totter on and off the plates in an irregular pattern.
Presto: Jordan had used the cow’s weird behavior to create, in effect, a random-number generator inside Minecraft. It was an ingenious bit of problem-solving, something most computer engineers I know would regard as a great hack — a way of coaxing a computer system to do something new and clever.
This coin-size device clips on to whatever you want to locate in a hurry—your purse, golf bag, pet, bike, laptop, keys … whatever. Once clipped on, you pair the TrackR bravo device with the companion smartphone app and then assign each item (up to 10) to a unique icon to create a log of all your tracked items. When you need to locate one of these devices, just click on the app and choose the item you’re tracking. The TrackR uses a Bluetooth distance indicator to find the missing item within 100 feet and can ring the bravo tracking device.
Now, of course, every smartphone is a GPS device—if advances in chip design have allowed us to carry around powerful computers in our pockets, as often as not it’s the 24 GPS satellites circling the planet that make us take them out and use them. Milner argues that ubiquity has begun to exact a price. Part of that price is the ease with which we can now be located and tracked, but he also writes about another cost. He opens his book with an enchanting account of how ancient Polynesian navigators figured out how to cross thousands of miles of open ocean in outrigger canoes, guided only by the stars and the currents. Today, he points out, people blindly follow their turn-by-turn instructions into lakes or drive miles before they realize they mistyped the name of their dinner destination. He speculates, citing some suggestive psychological research, that our reliance on the technology may be altering the structure of our brains.
Rwanda’s minister of youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana recently signed a new agreement with the San Francisco-based company Zipline, whose aerial vehicles — aka vampire drones — will be able to deliver blood to more than 22 transfusion facilities throughout the country. The life-saving potential of this technology has been tested by Doctors Without Borders, which used drones to fight tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea. And if the Rwandan experiment works, it won’t be long before other countries in the region decide to follow suit. For Rutayisire, the prospect of aerially connecting hospitals, tech hubs and markets across the continent is simply too exciting not to try. “With so much potential,” he says, “it’s hard to not be optimistic.”
Back to hiring employees and owning good old fashioned assets
“These entrepreneurs are not launching technology companies or even "on demand" companies. They are instead starting child-care companies, retail stores, restaurants, and laundry services that use mobile technology not only for delivery, but as a way to be more efficient at every step of their operations. "You’re seeing models evolve," says Ron Johnson, the former CEO of J.C. Penney and creator of the Apple Store, who nine months ago started a mobile-enabled electronics retailer called Enjoy. "And that’s what you’d expect in a new area of the economy."”
Ed Bastian is Delta’s new CEO. He is a long term Delta executive most recently its President. He is also a new age executive. For many a compliment or complaint or research request for profiling Delta in my blogs and books, I have emailed him for years now and he often responds within minutes.
I was pleased to see in his first letter in the airline’s Sky magazine, he focused on technology. As he says “As the next generation of travelers becomes a significant part of our customer base we want to meet their expectations that a top brand be a leader in technology regardless of their business. That’s why we look to companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Salesforce.com, among others, as examples of global leaders in technology that provide a great product and great customer service.”
He describes some of the innovations that Delta frequent fliers have enjoyed for years now
“..last month, we were among the earliest companies, along with Starbucks and Hyatt to use Twitter’s new direct message button within a tweet—something that’s essential for communication private customer information”
“..we have invested heavily in making the FlyDelta app an essential travel tool with the ability to book,change and monitor flights. track bags at all points of the journey and even watch the Earth scroll by via the unique ‘Glass Bottom Jet’ feature.”
“We have upgraded our flight attendants’ handheld devices with more information and functionality; we’re investing In radio-frequency identification, or ”RFID,’to improve maintenance and baggage handling and we’re deploying thousands of tablets to Delta pilots to serve as electronic flight bags.”
Look forward to more innovations from Delta under his new role.
Photo Credit – Delta of Guest Service Tool flight attendants use to personalize service in the air.