The Wonder, August 3 - Smart Mirrors, Self-Driving Scooters, and Bioengineered Lungs

INthe wonder, blog, technology|BYsf appworks

A Weekly Snapshot of Life-Changing Technology

Happy Friday!

Smartphones were banned in schools in France in an effort to reduce screen time for children under 15.

You know what won’t reduce screen time? This week’s edition of The Wonder.

Smart Mirrors

Naked Labs, Which makes a body-scanning mirror that builds a 3D model of users, announced a $14 million series A. It has already started shipping its smart mirror.

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Andrew’s Take: Imagine a mirror that analyzes your body shape and tells you what areas of the body need more focus in the gym. Or one that could detect imperceptible changes to your skin tone that could indicate early stage disease. What about one that tells you when certain clothes don’t fit anymore, and orders new clothes that fit your body perfectly. There’s a lot to be excited about with smart mirrors.      

Darius’s Take: We’ve been talking about smart mirrors for years now and it’s exciting to see the technology being shipped in real products. Early models of 3D scanning had a bulky arm encircle your body, but this scale rotates your body, which is much less clunky.

Self-Driving Scooters

Singapore startup Scootbee is building a dockless, on-demand, self-driving scooter.

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Andrew’s Take: I shrugged this off at first glance, thinking the self-driving thing was going too far, but then I realized that they meant self-PARKING. That got my mind turning. As cities become more populated, people will have to commute greater distances (either from outside-in, or across larger areas of a city). Transportation for the last mile is an unsolved problem, and city bike and scooter programs are struggling to figure out what to do when their vehicles are idle. Scooters, cars, and flying taxis that can shuttle passengers and then go find their own parking (or navigate to the next user) addresses the idle issue in a neat way.

Darius’s Take: This will make ride-sharing easier and make traffic lighter (less bikes/scooters in the streets). Scooter-sharing gained popularity in the last couple of years. Unfortunately, messy riding and parking got them banned in some cities. The self-parking scooter can keep ride-sharing going while also addressing the parking problems.

Bioengineered Lungs

Researchers from Texas successfully transplanted bioengineered lungs grown in a lab into pigs.

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Andrew’s Take: As long as there is a transplant waiting list, there is a need for more transplant options. With this breakthrough, bioengineered organs in humans could be just 5-10 years away.

Darius’s Take: Are we getting closer to immortality as technology advances? Soon we will be able to replace failing body parts with synthetic ones made from our own cells.

A long nap...

A couple of ice ace roundworms that were frozen for 42,000 years woke up and started eating as if nothing had happened. They are now the world’s oldest multicellular living organism.

Thanks for reading! We’ll see you next week.

-Andrew and Darius