In today’s exciting world of advanced technology, we are constantly being introduced to new concepts and developments. As innovative thought is far-reaching into all fields, it is no surprise that the food industry is also coming out with progressive ideas and designs.
McDonald’s, one of the world’s most profitable franchises, has set off on a new endeavor. The fast-food chain has opened its first flagship automated restaurant aimed at eating on the go. The goal is to minimize the amount of human presence, and to use robots or machinery where possible.
At the new Texas location near Fort Worth, customers can either pre-order on the app or make their selections at a kiosk inside. While there are some staff members in the kitchen to prepare the meals, there is no need to employ workers to man the register or hand out the orders. A robot distributes the orders at the pick-up counter or drive-thru window. The physical restaurant is significantly smaller than most McDonald’s chains, as it is designed primarily for takeout orders.
According to franchisee Keith Vanecek, “The technology in this restaurant not only allows us to serve our customers in new, innovative ways, it gives our restaurant team the ability to concentrate more on order speed and accuracy, which makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone.”
While some have applauded the potential improvements to the ordering process, others have expressed concern about the number of layoffs that the shift to automated systems will inevitably cause. Only time will tell if this new system is efficient, and how it impacts the amount of manpower needed.
Lablaco is an Italian company that helps fashion brands digitize their products. The idea behind the movement is that, like many industries, it’s only a matter of time before the fashion world goes completely digital. The “phygital” fashion market will see consumers purchasing both physical items and their digital “twins” which avatars will wear in the metaverse.
In an effort to establish a more sustainable and profitable approach to fashion, Lorenzo Albrighi and Eliana Kuo co-founded Lablaco in 2016 and serve as co-CEOs. They are believers in circular fashion, where clothing is designed and produced with methods focused on reducing waste. The pair hopes to use blockchain technology to promote this effort.
In the model developed by Lablaco, when a physical item is purchased, its digital equivalent remains paired to it. If the physical item is resold, its digital twin moves to the owner’s digital wallet, so that authenticity is apparent and the designer can follow where its creation goes.
While the fashion industry presently generates 92 million tons of waste each year, digitizing fashion will significantly reduce these numbers. If a designer currently needs to create an item in 10 different colors to test it out, the same item can be released into the metaverse in 10 different hues. Sales specs could be studied to determine which version to produce physically.
In the metaverse, opportunities are endless. While this is a new spin for fashion, it is clear that many industries in the world are headed in this direction. And, as usual, fashion will continue to keep up with the times.
The fact that much of the Western world spends too much time glaring at screens, surfing the net, and scrolling on social media apps is a topic that is often discussed. One of the few times that people used to be forced to unplug was while on board a flight. In recent years, however, connecting to an airline’s WiFi has become much more common, a service that used to be accessed primarily by busy businesspeople.
How does this advanced technology actually work?
There are two main types of inflight internet connectivity, one which uses antennas and the other that relies on satellites.
The first category is widely known as air-to-ground (ATG). Using this method, an antenna on the aircraft catches signals from cellphone towers on land. A major drawback is that the quality of the connection depends on the location of the aircraft at a given moment – for example, when flying over an ocean or a desert, service will drop as there is greater distance between the plane’s antennas and the cellphone towers. For this reason, many airlines are making the switch to satellite-based connections. Using satellites, the signal remains stronger no matter the location or movement of the aircraft.
While satellites resolve some of the major disadvantages of ATG, that system requires constant upkeep and advancements of the network. It is much simpler, faster, and cheaper to install new cellular towers than to launch a new satellite into space.
While the mere fact that such services exist is remarkable, there are a lot of improvements that need to happen in terms of expanding network service and speed. As with all technologies, it is likely just a matter of time till we see more impressive developments.
Boom is in the process of developing an aircraft called Overture, expected to be officially completed and released in 2025. Overture can travel at almost twice the speed of sound, and is designed to fit 65 to 80 passengers. While the company recently released a sophisticated version of the jet, Overture is still in the early development stages and has not yet run a test flight.
Overture, however, is not the first of its kind. The Concorde was a supersonic jet with routes across the Atlantic Ocean, primarily between London and New York City. In 2003, the ultra-speedy aircraft was forced to halt its services. With seat prices reaching a steep $10,000 per person, and deafening engines preventing the jet from flying over land, use of the Concorde was unsustainable. Although many have asserted that high-speed jets won’t make a comeback for these reasons, airlines seem confident enough in their return to be investing in them. Prior to the current American Airlines purchase, United Airlines had publicized its plans last year to buy up to 15 supersonic jets from Boom.
Despite previous economic failures of the aircrafts, the US government has shown support for bringing supersonic jets back and the FAA is devising new sets of code regarding noise levels over land. While Boom hopes its jets can begin running by 2029, the aircrafts and routes will need to be approved.
Although it is still unclear whether or not Overture will be approved for flying, the possibility is exciting. Many would love the opportunity to reach London from Miami in less than five hours, or to travel from Los Angeles to Honolulu in just three hours.
Only time will tell what the likelihood is for supersonic jets to fill the airspace…let alone the price tag!
In an effort to increase awareness about climate change, scientists in Australia are busy experimenting with printed solar panels. The team from the University of Newcastle is getting the newly invented panels ready for a 15,100-km (9,400-mile) trip in a Tesla electric car which will begin in September.
Charge Around Australia is a project that plans to power a Tesla vehicle using 18 of these special solar panels. With each plastic panel measuring 18 meters (59 feet) long, they are meant to be rolled out on the ground to absorb sunlight in order to charge. Created from laminated PET plastic, the printed solar is lightweight and costs less than $10 per square meter.
According to Paul Dastoor, the developer of the panels and coordinator of the project, the plan is twofold: the first purpose is to check the durability of the plastic panels and the second is to test the possibility of using the panels for other purposes in the future. He explained, “This is actually an ideal test bed to give us information about how we would go about using and powering technology in other remote locations, for example, in space.”
The 84-day journey is sure to raise interest in the effects of climate change. The team’s findings will have significant impact in the use of sustainable energy and solutions for the security of our planet.