It's been over a year since we've seen interactive restaurant tables in the news, but here comes a new one from Pizza Hut. Yes, the American fast food joint is hoping that if their deep-dish pizzas aren't enough to get you inside, perhaps their fee-yancy touchscreen table will be. Have a look:
What's interesting about this, from a business perspective, is that Pizza Hut is owned by Yum! Brands, which also owns KFC and Taco Bell. While the last interactive restaurant table we looked at was integrated into a one-off restaurant, Yum! Brands (God I hate typing that stupid exclamation point in their name) has some 40,000 restaurants in over 125 countries.
As for the actual interface design (which was done by creative firm Chaotic Moon), it still seems a bit cutesy to me; I'm not confident that people will want to do a two-finger drag to choose a pie size, for instance—I suspect they'd rather just hit an S, M or L button. But the visual representation of how large something is will probably prove popular. And once the balance between what the technology can do and what people actually want has been worked out, if Y!B decides to move ahead with this concept, we could see mass uptake in a relatively short time period, on account of their size. Presumably they've got the juice to require individual franchisees to integrate these units, handily spreading the costs out.
That crusty industrial building may not look like much, but it's special for two reasons. One, it's located in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, a city with little history of industry, meaning buildings like that are not commonplace. And two, it's going to become a creative incubation hub to the tune of some CAD $30 million in funding.
The Bayview Yards Innovation Centre, as it's called, is nearly 46,000 square feet of raw space that will house a rentable digital media and animation lab, meeting and presentation spaces, design studios and a makerspace dedicated to "industrial design, prototyping, fabricating and additive and subtractive manufacturing."
The aforementioned $30 mil in funding, half of which is from the city and half from the province, isn't a mere gesture of largesse; the bread is intended to provide "a big boost to the creative sector that has been waiting to emerge in this city for decades." The local talent-drain problem is well known, with creative types easily lured to cities like Toronto or New York; by giving, say, the industrial design grads at Ottawa's Carleton University a cool place to make stuff, the government bodies reckon they can hang on to their citizens while creating jobs and wealth.
The design of the space is being undertaken by local design firm prototypeD. Says company founder and CEO Janak Alford,
Ottawa needs a space where our hidden talents can really be brought together and celebrated.... In the Bayview Yards, we all have an opportunity to experience a new kind of ecosystem, one of creativity and innovation, which is bustling and busy and exciting, and where the potential of this generation can find a foothold to move up professionally and make a big splash on our society.
...It really will be a dynamic, multi-faceted space. But the people will make this space really unique. It will be a hallmark creative space, outside of but compatible with the high calibre of thinking from our post-secondary institutions, and open to all.
If all goes well and the space fills up, there are plans to add a tower that will bring a whopping 180,000 additional square feet. But that's a ways off yet; the Innovation Centre is scheduled to launch in 2016.
Don't you hate it when the view through your rearview mirror is obscured by the rear seat headrests, or that hitchhiking drifter that you picked up? Back when I still owned a car, I pulled the rear headrests out of my '01 Golf just so I could get a clear view. Then there's this ridiculous design trend we have now for absurdly chunky C-pillars, which completely obscure your view of whatever's behind your car's rear quarters.
Nissan is addressing this with their forthcoming Smart Rearview Mirror, which they're unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show:
Can something go viral when you intend it to go viral? Apparently so, particularly as we become more gullible as a society. While Jimmy Kimmel's twerking fire and hotel wolf videos at least had an element of believability to them, this latest makes me despair for people's reality filter: Since its launch yesterday, Facebookers have been eagerly promoting this video purporting that Back to the Future 2's hoverboards now exist.
HeliGraphix is the name of a Germany-based collective of RC helicopter enthusiasts who document their stunts online. The group's latest project, H.U.L.C.—that's "Heavy Ultra-Lifter Crane"F—sought to achieve what no one yet had: The ability to lift and carry a human being around using two small RC copters. I am so deathly afraid of heights that just watching this video made me want to get off of my office chair and lie down on the floor to feel safe.
While they make it look simple, it's hard to overstate how complicated it is to pull something like this off. The 'copters have to be strong enough to carry the woman (not to mention those crazy boots), and it's not like they're just lifting straight up; since there's two of them, they've got to pull sideways as well. Not to mention the pilots have to be precise enough to avoid dropping or jerking their payload. You'd think they'd try this over a body of water or something soft, so it's a testament to their skills and preparation that they did this over a concrete patio.
The group isn't shy about their accomplishment, having spent four months and "several thousand Euros" in preparation: They're touting it as "Clearly a world-record and one of the most monumental actions in the history of R/C model aviation: THE WORLD'S FIRST MANNED R/C FLIGHT!"
For tech geeks who are interested in the hardware, it's all documented in painstaking detail right here; for those with a passing interest in how they pulled this off, hit the jump to see the explanatory video.