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News From Around the World

Keyless entry system creates a new code for each Airbnb guest

Add / Remove Many of the hosts on Airbnb are vacation property managers with multiple lettings, and we have seen a number of startups offering management platforms and services that enable them to optimize their sub-letting business. One platform lets users automate their pricing to maximize bookings, while another provides rental assistants who will check-in guests on behalf of busy … Read More »

Kid-to-kid toy app introduces children to the sharing economy

Add / Remove Sharing is something children all struggle with to some degree, and many have a hard time parting with their precious toys, even if they barely play with them. But a new app is introducing kids to the sharing economy by helping them and their parents exchange unloved or unused toys. Kidstrade is a Princeton-based startup run by parents, … Read More »

Police use 3D mug shots to help spot criminals

Add / Remove Taking a mug shot has been common practice among police departments for decades. But having only one shot of criminals’ faces can make it difficult to identify them on CCTV footage. That’s why police in Japan are planning to use 3D cameras to take pictures of criminals, making it easier to identify suspects from security camera footage. According … Read More »

Table heats food with smartphones, so diners can’t use them

Add / Remove The proliferation of smartphones at the dinner table is robbing many people of quality time with their friends and family. We have already seen Dolmio Australia create a covert off-switch, hidden inside a pepper grinder, as part of a marketing campaign. Now, IKEA Taiwan is tackling the same problem with a cleverly designed table, which requires diners … Read More »

Designer clothes-sharing via Instagram comments

Add / Remove The clothing industry, which depends on seasonal trends, has a huge carbon footprint — tons of textiles are thrown away each year even if they are in pristine condition. Now, Sweden has launched a campaign to promote a more sustainable model, encouraging residents to pass their unwanted garments on. The initiative from VisitSweden and the Swedish Institute … Read More »

Diabetic doll helps children understand illnesses

Add / Remove Dolls were once criticized for creating unrealistic expectations in young children and pandering to stereotypes. But now doll makers are trying to break these clichés by designing more diverse alternatives. American Girl has developed a doll set that includes a diabetes care kit and arm crutches to help children understand diseases better, and to let them create … Read More »

Filters provide clean water and jobs in Uganda

Add / Remove In Uganda, 30 percent of people lack access to clean water, and preventable water-borne diseases are the leading cause of death for children under five-years-old. While water can be sterilized through boiling, the process is both time consuming and costly, often using up valuable charcoal. Now, SPOUTS is a for-profit organization offering an affordable alternative in the … Read More »

Wireless headphones know what song is playing

Add / Remove We first came across Muzik in 2013, and wrote about how their headphones enable users to instantly share the track they are listening to with Facebook friends. Now they are offering a wireless upgrade, the Muzik Convertible, and have introduced audio-recognition software, customizable gesture controls, and more. Along with the Muzik app, users can program the Bluetooth-connected … Read More »

Where Are They Now?: Sharetribe

Add / Remove PwC estimate that the sharing economy will grow from USD 15 billion to USD 335 billion in the next ten years. Big players such as Airbnb and Etsy are being joined by a raft of new startups, popping up almost on a weekly basis — we recently saw an vehicle jump-start app in Montreal, a coding workshop … Read More »

Conductive concrete can de-ice itself

Add / Remove Last month we saw a timely invention from Turkey’s Koc University — a salt embedded asphalt, which could prevent frozen roads. Now, researchers at the University of Nebraska have developed another solution, which sees augmented concrete that can de-ice itself. The material is made by adding a small amount of steel shavings and carbon particles to the … Read More »