Discovering innovations that matter since 2002

One million plastic bags are used every minute, contributing massively to pollution through both their production and disposal. Many countries have introduced incentives to encourage the use of reusable bags, but despite their best intentions, the average shopper is prone to forget them at least some of the time. Offering a solution is the PaperJohn, a biodegradable backpack made from 100 percent recycled paper — which can be worn on the back, enabling people to cycle to the store and avoid plastic bags altogether.

From Germany, the PaperJohn — made by Ogata — can carry more groceries than the average paper bag, since it is made with higher density paper. It is 320 x 170 x 450mm, and features shoulder straps. The raw material comes from renewable wood, avoiding precious resources such as oil or food, and Ogata plan to manufacture the product in one of Germany’s neighboring countries, to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation. The bag can even be branded with logos or advertisements at very low costs.

paperjohn

Stores will be hopefully able to offer this eco-friendly alternative soon: a crowdfunding campaign is set to launch next month. How else could customers be encouraged to make their shopping trips more environmentally friendly?

For even the most seasoned programmers, hardware can still remain something of a mystery. We have seen many organizations, such as a wildlife camera building kit, offer accessible ways for children to learn these new skills, and now, looking to do the same of adults, Tron-Club offers a monthly subscription service for circuit building kits, which get more challenging each time.

Each month, Tron-Club will send users a kit — including parts such as breadboards and LEDs — with instructions to build unique circuits. They start simple, and become more complicated and difficult as users’ skills develop. The aim is to help learners grasp the functions of different electronic parts, and eventually be able to apply them to robotics, home automation, and more. The team also offers quick response — usually with a video — via their social sites.

The subscription costs GBP 11 a month, or GBP 120 a year. What are some other essential skills in today’s world that adults and children alike should be nurturing?

About half of all of the world’s food goes to waste, but we have seen plenty of companies doing their part to help curb this global issue. In France, a law has even been passed which prevents supermarkets from throwing food away. We recently wrote about a nutritious powder that is made entirely from expiring fruit. Now, BuyMeBy wants to automate and digitize the process of discounting expiring items, and upgrade the discount rack for the e-commerce age.

buymeby

Often, consumers buy foods with later expiration dates to prevent having to throw it away, leaving perfectly good products on the supermarket shelf. BuyMeBy enables supermarkets and grocery stores to offer expiring products at reduced prices to online shoppers as well as those instore. The startup will track expiration dates using inventory-management software, and gradually lower the prices of perishable products. But since many of the applications used by supermarkets don’t currently track expiration dates, the startup is having to look elsewhere, such as data about food life and food deliveries. A company called ECount, which offers date tracking within its analytics software, could also provide the solution. Customers will be able to browse nearby deals using a smartphone app, or search stores’ e-commerce sites for discounted items to reserve or have delivered.

BuyMeBy is currently working with a natural foods store in Greenwich Village to perfect the logistics of the operation before it begins a pilot program in New York. What other traditional models of food-saving strategies can do with a digital upgrade?

As anyone who has ever shared a bus with a teenager knows, the noise that comes out of the average smartphone’s inbuilt speakers is a tinny, compressed travesty — robbing the latest Rihanna song of its much-needed frequencies. Now, the Marshall London is a smartphone for music lovers with a pair of front-facing speakers that provide a higher standard of portable listening, as well as a host of other muso-related features.

The London has inherited the design of Marshall’s legendary amplifiers: it is a stylish black rectangle adorned with gold buttons, inputs and on-screen controls. A button at the top enables the user to jump straight to their music, and a headphone jack on either side allows for dual listening. The speakers have a dedicated sound card and an enhanced bass, and the device comes with high quality in-ear headphones. The London also features a built-in equalizer app, a DJ app and the ability to store and play high quality FLAC files. Aimed at musicians, the smartphone also boasts dual microphones, both with noise reduction, which can record sound in stereo.

marshalllondon1

The Marshall London is available for pre-order at EUR 549 for delivery in September. Are there other ways to adapt smartphones for different consumer groups?

According to the World Health Organization, more people die from a lack of timely care than from Aids, TB and malaria combined. Millions of people worldwide don’t have access to reliable emergency care, and the ones that do are often faced with large expenses and delays. A new startup called MUrgency wants to change that. The team’s cloud platform and mobile app together form a worldwide, decentralized emergency response network that can be accessed by a tap on the user’s smartphone.

The MUrgency database is comprised of a trusted network of doctors, nurses, paramedics, Red Cross volunteers, and more, who supply real time support when requested. In the event that they need care, a user can activate this network by tapping the “Alert My MUrgency Network” button on the mobile app. The service then finds and alerts the nearest first responders. Virtual bodyguards can also help lone users navigate through situations via video, audio or chat messaging, establishing vital communication channels that could save lives. The app also lets users shout out to others within their network — friends, neighbors, and loved ones — who will be notified so they can provide help. In addition, the service can also locate nearby emergency facilities, ranging from hospitals, to police stations, pharmacies and others.

Though some may question the app’s logistics — would relying on volunteers really work? — the widened criteria of certified aiders, as well as the added option of virtual assistance has reduced response time by more than half in Dubai, and from 8-12 minutes to 2.54 minutes in Israel. MUrgency is available for free on Google Play and the App Store. What other difficult to access, but necessary human rights can be decentralized in this way?

Insurances are often large expenses that — thankfully — don’t always get used. To help customers make the most of this expense, a brokerage startup Givesurance is now enabling them to donate money to charity via their existing insurance payments, without increasing their outgoings. Most insurance companies spend a significant amount of their commission on advertising, attempting to attract new clients. Givesurance, converts some of this commission into client donation credits, which can be given to a charity of their choice.

To begin, new clients provide Givesurance with their existing insurance plan — the company, renewal date and policy number. The startup is already working with over 200 insurers — including Progressive, Metlife and Zurich — but if the client’s company is not yet on board, Givesurance will suggest a similar plan with one of their partners. Then, the brokerage will return 5 percent of the payment to the client in the form of donation credits, which amounts to approximately 30 percent of Giversurance’s commission.

Customers can choose from a growing selection of NGOs who are currently working with Givesurance to donate to. We recently saw a travel agency enable customers to donate one percent of their holiday expenses to charity. Are there other large expenses that would make sense to include a donation within them?

Smartphones come with a variety of inbuilt sensors which can capture realtime data about the user’s activities, and sensor data is quickly becoming a discipline on its own. Addressing this is a startup Sense360, which aims to make it easier for mobile apps to use this data and allow for automated user experiences.

Sense360 collects all the data from smartphones’ sensors — including ambient light, accelerometer and gyroscope, and location — and processes it on behalf of its clients according to the app’s specific needs. The startup has been collaborating with a number of companies including Walla.by, ChangeCollective and Happinin in the lead up to their recent launch, experimenting with potential services.

To use, clients simply add a few lines of code to their backend, which enables Sense360 to access their raw data. It then applies algorithms to sort through the information and isolate the desired sensor data, to help the app developers provide new dimensions of smart customer service. Most promisingly, the platform is optimized to run in the background without draining battery power and operates as a blind middleman, processing the data without any awareness of who each user is.

Sense360 is another example of platforms seeking to make technologies interact more intuitively with each other, enhancing user experiences by requiring less action from them. The startup offer accounts starting from USD 99 per month, which allow up to 1 million event detections. What are some apps that can benefit from this tool?

Flying can be a traumatic experience for humans, so it’s not hard to imagine how disconcerting it can be for pets — they suddenly find themselves in an airport with a stint in quarantine, along with an eight hour flight ahead of them. Luckily for those passing through New York, JFK is set to build a new USD 48 million terminal named The ARK, which will provide luxury pre-flight hospitality for 70,000 animals a year.

arkjfk1

The 16,500 square-meter quarantine facility is set to open next year, replacing the airport’s old Vetport. It will provide climate-controlled stalls for horses and cows, an aviary and trees for cats to climb. Beloved dogs can enjoy a luxury resort run by Paradise for Paws — who already have three other locations in the US — complete with flat screen TVs, massage therapy and a bone-shaped pool to splash around in. The terminal is designed in such a way that animals can be transported directly to and from aircrafts, reducing stress and risk of injury. Owners will be charged to house their animals in the facility, with varying prices depending on the animal and the services required.

What’s next in the lucrative luxury pet industry?

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

9 Smart surface offers up recipes based on ingredients placed upon it

The Netherlands-based Studio diip has created the Vegetable Recognizer, a system that uses image recognition to detect different types of vegetable and then provide recipes that include those foods. It uses a projection screen that can be overlaid onto any surface, and the camera overhead will then identify objects placed on the surface. Once the vegetables have been identified, a list of pre-programmed recipes is checked before the Vegetable Recognizer recommends recipes that contain the ingredients on the table. Kitchens can also be made smarter with June ovens, which uses a similar food recognition software and automatically programs itself to cook the food placed inside it.

Read more about Studio diip »

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

8 Hotel restaurant’s pop-up store lets diners wear what they eat

Hotels, like supermarkets, are often sustainability offenders. Bedsheets are washed every night, and lights are left on 24/7 to suit the schedule of guests. To counter that, a pop-up store at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn is now turning meat byproducts from the venue’s restaurant into leather clothes and bags for guests. Run by Kate Huling, who uses leather and wool salvaged from slaughterhouses for her brand Marlow Goods, it will feature alpaca fur, sheep wool and leather that’s taken from animals served in the hotel’s restaurant, which is headed by her husband.

Read more about Marlow Goods »

9 Smart surface offers up recipes based on ingredients placed upon it

The Netherlands-based Studio diip has created the Vegetable Recognizer, a system that uses image recognition to detect different types of vegetable and then provide recipes that include those foods. It uses a projection screen that can be overlaid onto any surface, and the camera overhead will then identify objects placed on the surface. Once the vegetables have been identified, a list of pre-programmed recipes is checked before the Vegetable Recognizer recommends recipes that contain the ingredients on the table. Kitchens can also be made smarter with June ovens, which uses a similar food recognition software and automatically programs itself to cook the food placed inside it.

Read more about Studio diip »

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

7 App lets diners check the vibe of restaurants in real time

The right atmosphere at a restaurant can really make or break an experience. That’s why the dining app Dash introduced its Venue Vibes feature, which lets customers get accurate and real-time info about the atmosphere of nearby restaurants. It uses the existing POS systems of restaurants to accurately gauge how busy each one is in comparison to its maximum capacity. When searching for a place to eat through the app, users will be shown whether the place is lively, active, relaxed or quiet.

Read more about Dash »

8 Hotel restaurant’s pop-up store lets diners wear what they eat

Hotels, like supermarkets, are often sustainability offenders. Bedsheets are washed every night, and lights are left on 24/7 to suit the schedule of guests. To counter that, a pop-up store at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn is now turning meat byproducts from the venue’s restaurant into leather clothes and bags for guests. Run by Kate Huling, who uses leather and wool salvaged from slaughterhouses for her brand Marlow Goods, it will feature alpaca fur, sheep wool and leather that’s taken from animals served in the hotel’s restaurant, which is headed by her husband.

Read more about Marlow Goods »

9 Smart surface offers up recipes based on ingredients placed upon it

The Netherlands-based Studio diip has created the Vegetable Recognizer, a system that uses image recognition to detect different types of vegetable and then provide recipes that include those foods. It uses a projection screen that can be overlaid onto any surface, and the camera overhead will then identify objects placed on the surface. Once the vegetables have been identified, a list of pre-programmed recipes is checked before the Vegetable Recognizer recommends recipes that contain the ingredients on the table. Kitchens can also be made smarter with June ovens, which uses a similar food recognition software and automatically programs itself to cook the food placed inside it.

Read more about Studio diip »

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

6 3D printer makes pancakes that look like diners’ faces

Believe it or not, 3D printed food that mirrors its eater is not entirely new — a Japanese café created gummy men, which are jelly sweets made in the shape of its consumer. Now the ultimate personalized breakfast is made available by design company Kinneir Dufort — a pancake with the diner’s face on it. A digital camera captures the consumer’s image, and the system’s image processor transforms brightness into contours, then dispenses layers of batter directly onto a hot plate, which creates detailed and complex images on the pancake’s surface. Other than providing a humorous dining experience, the software could also help waiting staff avoid mixing up orders.

Read more about Kinneir Dufort »

7 App lets diners check the vibe of restaurants in real time

The right atmosphere at a restaurant can really make or break an experience. That’s why the dining app Dash introduced its Venue Vibes feature, which lets customers get accurate and real-time info about the atmosphere of nearby restaurants. It uses the existing POS systems of restaurants to accurately gauge how busy each one is in comparison to its maximum capacity. When searching for a place to eat through the app, users will be shown whether the place is lively, active, relaxed or quiet.

Read more about Dash »

8 Hotel restaurant’s pop-up store lets diners wear what they eat

Hotels, like supermarkets, are often sustainability offenders. Bedsheets are washed every night, and lights are left on 24/7 to suit the schedule of guests. To counter that, a pop-up store at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn is now turning meat byproducts from the venue’s restaurant into leather clothes and bags for guests. Run by Kate Huling, who uses leather and wool salvaged from slaughterhouses for her brand Marlow Goods, it will feature alpaca fur, sheep wool and leather that’s taken from animals served in the hotel’s restaurant, which is headed by her husband.

Read more about Marlow Goods »

9 Smart surface offers up recipes based on ingredients placed upon it

The Netherlands-based Studio diip has created the Vegetable Recognizer, a system that uses image recognition to detect different types of vegetable and then provide recipes that include those foods. It uses a projection screen that can be overlaid onto any surface, and the camera overhead will then identify objects placed on the surface. Once the vegetables have been identified, a list of pre-programmed recipes is checked before the Vegetable Recognizer recommends recipes that contain the ingredients on the table. Kitchens can also be made smarter with June ovens, which uses a similar food recognition software and automatically programs itself to cook the food placed inside it.

Read more about Studio diip »

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

5 Nutritious powder is made from freeze-dried expiring fruit

Much like Sainsbury’s, the team at FoPo food powder are also making use of expiring fruit. They plan to freeze-dry fruit immediately before it expires, and create a nutritious food powder from what would have otherwise gone to waste. This increases the produce’s shelf life from two weeks to two years. The powder will be good for use in soups, smoothies or baking. A restaurant in Melbourne — perhaps for the more adventurous consumer — is going a step further to reduce food waste by including food commonly considered as organic waste on its menu. Ingredients include rainwater, foraged sea vegetables, stale bread and carcasses normally thrown away. Adding to this line-up is a French supermarket Intermarché, who are turning fruit and veg that are too ugly to sell into a range of new products.

Read more about FoPo food powder »

6 3D printer makes pancakes that look like diners’ faces

Believe it or not, 3D printed food that mirrors its eater is not entirely new — a Japanese café created gummy men, which are jelly sweets made in the shape of its consumer. Now the ultimate personalized breakfast is made available by design company Kinneir Dufort — a pancake with the diner’s face on it. A digital camera captures the consumer’s image, and the system’s image processor transforms brightness into contours, then dispenses layers of batter directly onto a hot plate, which creates detailed and complex images on the pancake’s surface. Other than providing a humorous dining experience, the software could also help waiting staff avoid mixing up orders.

Read more about Kinneir Dufort »

7 App lets diners check the vibe of restaurants in real time

The right atmosphere at a restaurant can really make or break an experience. That’s why the dining app Dash introduced its Venue Vibes feature, which lets customers get accurate and real-time info about the atmosphere of nearby restaurants. It uses the existing POS systems of restaurants to accurately gauge how busy each one is in comparison to its maximum capacity. When searching for a place to eat through the app, users will be shown whether the place is lively, active, relaxed or quiet.

Read more about Dash »

8 Hotel restaurant’s pop-up store lets diners wear what they eat

Hotels, like supermarkets, are often sustainability offenders. Bedsheets are washed every night, and lights are left on 24/7 to suit the schedule of guests. To counter that, a pop-up store at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn is now turning meat byproducts from the venue’s restaurant into leather clothes and bags for guests. Run by Kate Huling, who uses leather and wool salvaged from slaughterhouses for her brand Marlow Goods, it will feature alpaca fur, sheep wool and leather that’s taken from animals served in the hotel’s restaurant, which is headed by her husband.

Read more about Marlow Goods »

9 Smart surface offers up recipes based on ingredients placed upon it

The Netherlands-based Studio diip has created the Vegetable Recognizer, a system that uses image recognition to detect different types of vegetable and then provide recipes that include those foods. It uses a projection screen that can be overlaid onto any surface, and the camera overhead will then identify objects placed on the surface. Once the vegetables have been identified, a list of pre-programmed recipes is checked before the Vegetable Recognizer recommends recipes that contain the ingredients on the table. Kitchens can also be made smarter with June ovens, which uses a similar food recognition software and automatically programs itself to cook the food placed inside it.

Read more about Studio diip »

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

4 Pre-prepped ingredients delivered to the door help anyone make their favorite restaurant dishes at home

To help consumers save money and time, but still enjoy a restaurant-standard meal, Forage is delivering pre-prepared ingredients and recipes for them to make famous dishes from popular restaurants. The most labor-intensive parts of the meals — such as making rich sauces or finely chopping ingredients — are already prepared by the company, and dishes can be served in 20 minutes. Encouraging a similar culinary DIY attitude is a Baltimore-based startup Hop Theory, whose teabag-like sachets will transform average beers into quality craft brews. The biodegradable bags contain a combination of hops, fruit peel, seeds and natural flavors, which will enable drinkers to customize their beverage in minutes. Are there other ways to make fine-dining at home easier, and enable consumers to impress friends and be more creative with their meals?

Read more about Forage and Hop Theory »

5 Nutritious powder is made from freeze-dried expiring fruit

Much like Sainsbury’s, the team at FoPo food powder are also making use of expiring fruit. They plan to freeze-dry fruit immediately before it expires, and create a nutritious food powder from what would have otherwise gone to waste. This increases the produce’s shelf life from two weeks to two years. The powder will be good for use in soups, smoothies or baking. A restaurant in Melbourne — perhaps for the more adventurous consumer — is going a step further to reduce food waste by including food commonly considered as organic waste on its menu. Ingredients include rainwater, foraged sea vegetables, stale bread and carcasses normally thrown away. Adding to this line-up is a French supermarket Intermarché, who are turning fruit and veg that are too ugly to sell into a range of new products.

Read more about FoPo food powder »

6 3D printer makes pancakes that look like diners’ faces

Believe it or not, 3D printed food that mirrors its eater is not entirely new — a Japanese café created gummy men, which are jelly sweets made in the shape of its consumer. Now the ultimate personalized breakfast is made available by design company Kinneir Dufort — a pancake with the diner’s face on it. A digital camera captures the consumer’s image, and the system’s image processor transforms brightness into contours, then dispenses layers of batter directly onto a hot plate, which creates detailed and complex images on the pancake’s surface. Other than providing a humorous dining experience, the software could also help waiting staff avoid mixing up orders.

Read more about Kinneir Dufort »

7 App lets diners check the vibe of restaurants in real time

The right atmosphere at a restaurant can really make or break an experience. That’s why the dining app Dash introduced its Venue Vibes feature, which lets customers get accurate and real-time info about the atmosphere of nearby restaurants. It uses the existing POS systems of restaurants to accurately gauge how busy each one is in comparison to its maximum capacity. When searching for a place to eat through the app, users will be shown whether the place is lively, active, relaxed or quiet.

Read more about Dash »

8 Hotel restaurant’s pop-up store lets diners wear what they eat

Hotels, like supermarkets, are often sustainability offenders. Bedsheets are washed every night, and lights are left on 24/7 to suit the schedule of guests. To counter that, a pop-up store at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn is now turning meat byproducts from the venue’s restaurant into leather clothes and bags for guests. Run by Kate Huling, who uses leather and wool salvaged from slaughterhouses for her brand Marlow Goods, it will feature alpaca fur, sheep wool and leather that’s taken from animals served in the hotel’s restaurant, which is headed by her husband.

Read more about Marlow Goods »

9 Smart surface offers up recipes based on ingredients placed upon it

The Netherlands-based Studio diip has created the Vegetable Recognizer, a system that uses image recognition to detect different types of vegetable and then provide recipes that include those foods. It uses a projection screen that can be overlaid onto any surface, and the camera overhead will then identify objects placed on the surface. Once the vegetables have been identified, a list of pre-programmed recipes is checked before the Vegetable Recognizer recommends recipes that contain the ingredients on the table. Kitchens can also be made smarter with June ovens, which uses a similar food recognition software and automatically programs itself to cook the food placed inside it.

Read more about Studio diip »

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

3 Supermarket store is entirely powered by food waste

To counter the fact that supermarkets are one of the worst offenders for food waste, Sainsbury’s has created the first outlet in the UK to be powered solely through leftover produce. Once the expiring food stuffs are marked down, donated to charities, or repurposed as animal feed, whatever’s leftover is picked up by a local waste recycling company, Biffa, and the electricity generated through anaerobic digestion is sent to the store via a 1.5km cable. Bio-bean, another UK green energy facilitator is doing this with coffee. The company collects waste coffee grounds from coffee stores and instant coffee factories, then converts it into biomass pellets and biodiesel, which they sell to London businesses to power buildings and transport.

Read more about Sainsbury’s campaign and bio-bean »

4 Pre-prepped ingredients delivered to the door help anyone make their favorite restaurant dishes at home

To help consumers save money and time, but still enjoy a restaurant-standard meal, Forage is delivering pre-prepared ingredients and recipes for them to make famous dishes from popular restaurants. The most labor-intensive parts of the meals — such as making rich sauces or finely chopping ingredients — are already prepared by the company, and dishes can be served in 20 minutes. Encouraging a similar culinary DIY attitude is a Baltimore-based startup Hop Theory, whose teabag-like sachets will transform average beers into quality craft brews. The biodegradable bags contain a combination of hops, fruit peel, seeds and natural flavors, which will enable drinkers to customize their beverage in minutes. Are there other ways to make fine-dining at home easier, and enable consumers to impress friends and be more creative with their meals?

Read more about Forage and Hop Theory »

5 Nutritious powder is made from freeze-dried expiring fruit

Much like Sainsbury’s, the team at FoPo food powder are also making use of expiring fruit. They plan to freeze-dry fruit immediately before it expires, and create a nutritious food powder from what would have otherwise gone to waste. This increases the produce’s shelf life from two weeks to two years. The powder will be good for use in soups, smoothies or baking. A restaurant in Melbourne — perhaps for the more adventurous consumer — is going a step further to reduce food waste by including food commonly considered as organic waste on its menu. Ingredients include rainwater, foraged sea vegetables, stale bread and carcasses normally thrown away. Adding to this line-up is a French supermarket Intermarché, who are turning fruit and veg that are too ugly to sell into a range of new products.

Read more about FoPo food powder »

6 3D printer makes pancakes that look like diners’ faces

Believe it or not, 3D printed food that mirrors its eater is not entirely new — a Japanese café created gummy men, which are jelly sweets made in the shape of its consumer. Now the ultimate personalized breakfast is made available by design company Kinneir Dufort — a pancake with the diner’s face on it. A digital camera captures the consumer’s image, and the system’s image processor transforms brightness into contours, then dispenses layers of batter directly onto a hot plate, which creates detailed and complex images on the pancake’s surface. Other than providing a humorous dining experience, the software could also help waiting staff avoid mixing up orders.

Read more about Kinneir Dufort »

7 App lets diners check the vibe of restaurants in real time

The right atmosphere at a restaurant can really make or break an experience. That’s why the dining app Dash introduced its Venue Vibes feature, which lets customers get accurate and real-time info about the atmosphere of nearby restaurants. It uses the existing POS systems of restaurants to accurately gauge how busy each one is in comparison to its maximum capacity. When searching for a place to eat through the app, users will be shown whether the place is lively, active, relaxed or quiet.

Read more about Dash »

8 Hotel restaurant’s pop-up store lets diners wear what they eat

Hotels, like supermarkets, are often sustainability offenders. Bedsheets are washed every night, and lights are left on 24/7 to suit the schedule of guests. To counter that, a pop-up store at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn is now turning meat byproducts from the venue’s restaurant into leather clothes and bags for guests. Run by Kate Huling, who uses leather and wool salvaged from slaughterhouses for her brand Marlow Goods, it will feature alpaca fur, sheep wool and leather that’s taken from animals served in the hotel’s restaurant, which is headed by her husband.

Read more about Marlow Goods »

9 Smart surface offers up recipes based on ingredients placed upon it

The Netherlands-based Studio diip has created the Vegetable Recognizer, a system that uses image recognition to detect different types of vegetable and then provide recipes that include those foods. It uses a projection screen that can be overlaid onto any surface, and the camera overhead will then identify objects placed on the surface. Once the vegetables have been identified, a list of pre-programmed recipes is checked before the Vegetable Recognizer recommends recipes that contain the ingredients on the table. Kitchens can also be made smarter with June ovens, which uses a similar food recognition software and automatically programs itself to cook the food placed inside it.

Read more about Studio diip »

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

2 This vending machine will deny you snacks based on medical records

Are the customers always right? The Luce X2 Touch TV vending machine challenges that by using facial recognition and customers’ medical records to determine if they should be allowed to buy an unhealthy snack. Before the snack is released, customers will be scanned to determine factors such as age, build, and mood. Algorithms, which also have access to participating customers’ medical records, can then decide whether purchasing a coffee with three sugars, or the fourth candy bar of the day is a bad idea, and refuse to vend the item. Could gyms also integrate their memberships with a similar model, whereby snacks are denied to those who don’t visit often enough?

Read more about Luce X2 Touch TV »

3 Supermarket store is entirely powered by food waste

To counter the fact that supermarkets are one of the worst offenders for food waste, Sainsbury’s has created the first outlet in the UK to be powered solely through leftover produce. Once the expiring food stuffs are marked down, donated to charities, or repurposed as animal feed, whatever’s leftover is picked up by a local waste recycling company, Biffa, and the electricity generated through anaerobic digestion is sent to the store via a 1.5km cable. Bio-bean, another UK green energy facilitator is doing this with coffee. The company collects waste coffee grounds from coffee stores and instant coffee factories, then converts it into biomass pellets and biodiesel, which they sell to London businesses to power buildings and transport.

Read more about Sainsbury’s campaign and bio-bean »

4 Pre-prepped ingredients delivered to the door help anyone make their favorite restaurant dishes at home

To help consumers save money and time, but still enjoy a restaurant-standard meal, Forage is delivering pre-prepared ingredients and recipes for them to make famous dishes from popular restaurants. The most labor-intensive parts of the meals — such as making rich sauces or finely chopping ingredients — are already prepared by the company, and dishes can be served in 20 minutes. Encouraging a similar culinary DIY attitude is a Baltimore-based startup Hop Theory, whose teabag-like sachets will transform average beers into quality craft brews. The biodegradable bags contain a combination of hops, fruit peel, seeds and natural flavors, which will enable drinkers to customize their beverage in minutes. Are there other ways to make fine-dining at home easier, and enable consumers to impress friends and be more creative with their meals?

Read more about Forage and Hop Theory »

5 Nutritious powder is made from freeze-dried expiring fruit

Much like Sainsbury’s, the team at FoPo food powder are also making use of expiring fruit. They plan to freeze-dry fruit immediately before it expires, and create a nutritious food powder from what would have otherwise gone to waste. This increases the produce’s shelf life from two weeks to two years. The powder will be good for use in soups, smoothies or baking. A restaurant in Melbourne — perhaps for the more adventurous consumer — is going a step further to reduce food waste by including food commonly considered as organic waste on its menu. Ingredients include rainwater, foraged sea vegetables, stale bread and carcasses normally thrown away. Adding to this line-up is a French supermarket Intermarché, who are turning fruit and veg that are too ugly to sell into a range of new products.

Read more about FoPo food powder »

6 3D printer makes pancakes that look like diners’ faces

Believe it or not, 3D printed food that mirrors its eater is not entirely new — a Japanese café created gummy men, which are jelly sweets made in the shape of its consumer. Now the ultimate personalized breakfast is made available by design company Kinneir Dufort — a pancake with the diner’s face on it. A digital camera captures the consumer’s image, and the system’s image processor transforms brightness into contours, then dispenses layers of batter directly onto a hot plate, which creates detailed and complex images on the pancake’s surface. Other than providing a humorous dining experience, the software could also help waiting staff avoid mixing up orders.

Read more about Kinneir Dufort »

7 App lets diners check the vibe of restaurants in real time

The right atmosphere at a restaurant can really make or break an experience. That’s why the dining app Dash introduced its Venue Vibes feature, which lets customers get accurate and real-time info about the atmosphere of nearby restaurants. It uses the existing POS systems of restaurants to accurately gauge how busy each one is in comparison to its maximum capacity. When searching for a place to eat through the app, users will be shown whether the place is lively, active, relaxed or quiet.

Read more about Dash »

8 Hotel restaurant’s pop-up store lets diners wear what they eat

Hotels, like supermarkets, are often sustainability offenders. Bedsheets are washed every night, and lights are left on 24/7 to suit the schedule of guests. To counter that, a pop-up store at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn is now turning meat byproducts from the venue’s restaurant into leather clothes and bags for guests. Run by Kate Huling, who uses leather and wool salvaged from slaughterhouses for her brand Marlow Goods, it will feature alpaca fur, sheep wool and leather that’s taken from animals served in the hotel’s restaurant, which is headed by her husband.

Read more about Marlow Goods »

9 Smart surface offers up recipes based on ingredients placed upon it

The Netherlands-based Studio diip has created the Vegetable Recognizer, a system that uses image recognition to detect different types of vegetable and then provide recipes that include those foods. It uses a projection screen that can be overlaid onto any surface, and the camera overhead will then identify objects placed on the surface. Once the vegetables have been identified, a list of pre-programmed recipes is checked before the Vegetable Recognizer recommends recipes that contain the ingredients on the table. Kitchens can also be made smarter with June ovens, which uses a similar food recognition software and automatically programs itself to cook the food placed inside it.

Read more about Studio diip »

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

1 In Australia, customers can pay for their coffee with their smart cup

Though existing eco-friendly coffee cups have undeniable environmental benefits, low levels of adoption to date have meant there is a limit to the impact they are currently having. Knowing that to encourage sales, a green product must outperform its non-green rival in every way, Frank Green focused on building convenience directly into his coffee vessels. SmartCup’s dishwasher safe drink vessels are embedded with smart payment capabilities, which enable customers to pay for their coffee by swiping the cup itself. The cup is connected to a smartphone app CafePay, which lets users pre-pay for their coffees or gift them to friends, and collect loyalty rewards, creating an even more seamless visit to the café in users’ morning routine.

Read more about SmartCup »

2 This vending machine will deny you snacks based on medical records

Are the customers always right? The Luce X2 Touch TV vending machine challenges that by using facial recognition and customers’ medical records to determine if they should be allowed to buy an unhealthy snack. Before the snack is released, customers will be scanned to determine factors such as age, build, and mood. Algorithms, which also have access to participating customers’ medical records, can then decide whether purchasing a coffee with three sugars, or the fourth candy bar of the day is a bad idea, and refuse to vend the item. Could gyms also integrate their memberships with a similar model, whereby snacks are denied to those who don’t visit often enough?

Read more about Luce X2 Touch TV »

3 Supermarket store is entirely powered by food waste

To counter the fact that supermarkets are one of the worst offenders for food waste, Sainsbury’s has created the first outlet in the UK to be powered solely through leftover produce. Once the expiring food stuffs are marked down, donated to charities, or repurposed as animal feed, whatever’s leftover is picked up by a local waste recycling company, Biffa, and the electricity generated through anaerobic digestion is sent to the store via a 1.5km cable. Bio-bean, another UK green energy facilitator is doing this with coffee. The company collects waste coffee grounds from coffee stores and instant coffee factories, then converts it into biomass pellets and biodiesel, which they sell to London businesses to power buildings and transport.

Read more about Sainsbury’s campaign and bio-bean »

4 Pre-prepped ingredients delivered to the door help anyone make their favorite restaurant dishes at home

To help consumers save money and time, but still enjoy a restaurant-standard meal, Forage is delivering pre-prepared ingredients and recipes for them to make famous dishes from popular restaurants. The most labor-intensive parts of the meals — such as making rich sauces or finely chopping ingredients — are already prepared by the company, and dishes can be served in 20 minutes. Encouraging a similar culinary DIY attitude is a Baltimore-based startup Hop Theory, whose teabag-like sachets will transform average beers into quality craft brews. The biodegradable bags contain a combination of hops, fruit peel, seeds and natural flavors, which will enable drinkers to customize their beverage in minutes. Are there other ways to make fine-dining at home easier, and enable consumers to impress friends and be more creative with their meals?

Read more about Forage and Hop Theory »

5 Nutritious powder is made from freeze-dried expiring fruit

Much like Sainsbury’s, the team at FoPo food powder are also making use of expiring fruit. They plan to freeze-dry fruit immediately before it expires, and create a nutritious food powder from what would have otherwise gone to waste. This increases the produce’s shelf life from two weeks to two years. The powder will be good for use in soups, smoothies or baking. A restaurant in Melbourne — perhaps for the more adventurous consumer — is going a step further to reduce food waste by including food commonly considered as organic waste on its menu. Ingredients include rainwater, foraged sea vegetables, stale bread and carcasses normally thrown away. Adding to this line-up is a French supermarket Intermarché, who are turning fruit and veg that are too ugly to sell into a range of new products.

Read more about FoPo food powder »

6 3D printer makes pancakes that look like diners’ faces

Believe it or not, 3D printed food that mirrors its eater is not entirely new — a Japanese café created gummy men, which are jelly sweets made in the shape of its consumer. Now the ultimate personalized breakfast is made available by design company Kinneir Dufort — a pancake with the diner’s face on it. A digital camera captures the consumer’s image, and the system’s image processor transforms brightness into contours, then dispenses layers of batter directly onto a hot plate, which creates detailed and complex images on the pancake’s surface. Other than providing a humorous dining experience, the software could also help waiting staff avoid mixing up orders.

Read more about Kinneir Dufort »

7 App lets diners check the vibe of restaurants in real time

The right atmosphere at a restaurant can really make or break an experience. That’s why the dining app Dash introduced its Venue Vibes feature, which lets customers get accurate and real-time info about the atmosphere of nearby restaurants. It uses the existing POS systems of restaurants to accurately gauge how busy each one is in comparison to its maximum capacity. When searching for a place to eat through the app, users will be shown whether the place is lively, active, relaxed or quiet.

Read more about Dash »

8 Hotel restaurant’s pop-up store lets diners wear what they eat

Hotels, like supermarkets, are often sustainability offenders. Bedsheets are washed every night, and lights are left on 24/7 to suit the schedule of guests. To counter that, a pop-up store at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn is now turning meat byproducts from the venue’s restaurant into leather clothes and bags for guests. Run by Kate Huling, who uses leather and wool salvaged from slaughterhouses for her brand Marlow Goods, it will feature alpaca fur, sheep wool and leather that’s taken from animals served in the hotel’s restaurant, which is headed by her husband.

Read more about Marlow Goods »

9 Smart surface offers up recipes based on ingredients placed upon it

The Netherlands-based Studio diip has created the Vegetable Recognizer, a system that uses image recognition to detect different types of vegetable and then provide recipes that include those foods. It uses a projection screen that can be overlaid onto any surface, and the camera overhead will then identify objects placed on the surface. Once the vegetables have been identified, a list of pre-programmed recipes is checked before the Vegetable Recognizer recommends recipes that contain the ingredients on the table. Kitchens can also be made smarter with June ovens, which uses a similar food recognition software and automatically programs itself to cook the food placed inside it.

Read more about Studio diip »

10 Queue jump app lets charitable patrons skip the line

Slipping the maître d’ a twenty dollar note to get in front of a restaurant line is usually considered bad taste, but a new system now offers hungry diners guilt-free queue jumps. CharityWait is a feature of SmartLine’s digital waitlist, which enables diners to skip the line by donating to the restaurant’s chosen charity. The diner gets a table, and the charity receives 60 percent of the contribution — SmartLine retain the other 40 percent. Could this feature of rewarding good will be used in other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industries?

Read more about CharityWait »

The recycling rate in NYC is 15 percent. Compared to 63 percent in Austria, which has the highest recycling rate according to the European Environment Agency, the figure seems to be attributed to factors beyond lifestyle, and extending to urban design. A new app called Intellibins, which helps users find the nearest recycling station, could now go some way to change that figure.

“I once had to walk from 28th Street to 14th Street-Union Square to find a recycling bin,” Kathryn Hurley, co-founder of the app says. And it is this inconvenience that perhaps deters New Yorkers from recycling. The mobile app maps 1,535 recycling points covering 21 materials — everything from bubble wrap to electronics, clothing and aluminum bottles. Users simply choose their type of waste, and the app will provide them with the nearest point they can recycle at — be it public trash bins or participating merchants.

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The app sources its data from the NYC Open Data platform, New York Recycles!, and its own research. It is currently inviting Beta testers, and aims to eventually incorporate recycling rewards, integrate social media profiles and introduce “check-ins” at recycling points.

We have seen other location-based apps give users smarter navigation around the streets of NYC and other urban cities — a walkability app shows users their greenest route, while another helps users find the nearest public restroom. What other aspects of public urban spaces would benefit from being incorporated into a mapping system?