• Amelia W

Akon City, Virtual Beings, and CES 2020 Weirdness

New year, new weird trends to follow.. 2020 has not disappointed us so far - there's already plenty of weird/cool/downright crazy things to cover. Let's get right into it.

The Best (Weirdest) of CES 2020

Ah, another CES, another convention of really cool, really weird tech gadgets. While there’s a lot to cover off, let’s have a look at the top three WorldWideWeird worthy products, shall we? ⠀⠀ 1. Samsung’s C-Lab Selfie Type Remember laser keyboards from a few years back? Projecting the image of a keyboard onto a flat surface and using optical tracking to detect when you hit a projected key. Coll idea, less cool execution of idea. Well now one of Samsung have come up with what might be the next evolution of this idea: SelfieType. SelfieType doesn't bother with projection at all, instead it uses your smartphone's front-facing camera to track finger movement as you tap away on an otherwise blank table surface. But thanks to some advanced image processing, SelfieType can follow your fingers and work out what you're trying to type. There’s no word yet on plans for public release, so sadly we will type analogue for now. *Ugh* ⠀⠀ 2. Air purifying drones Oh you have a stationary air purifier just waiting for dirty air to come to it? How cute. How about you take a more active approach and get yourself an Ataraina flying drone instead? This evolved version of their previous flying air cleaners generates an electrostatic field, designed to attract smoke, dust, pollen and other nasty stuff. Some people might say this is a completely pointless gadget that’s overpriced and over-engineered. Other people would, too. ⠀⠀ 3. Charmin Roll Bot Ah, and now to the favourite. The toilet paper robot. Yes, it’s a robot with the sole purpose of bringing people in ..compromising situations… toilet paper. Finally, the days of awkwardly asking your stall neighbour for paper, or drip drying are o-v-e-r. Toilet paper robot for the win.

Clever Collabs and Samsung's Virtual Beings...

Buy T-shirt, Get Condo For Free That’s right, you can now get a flat with the purchase of a Diesel t-shirt. The clothing brand has released 143 t-shirts priced between $370K to $5.5m, advertised to come with a ‘free’ condo. ⠀

⠀ The stunt is part of Diesel’s attempt to promote their new real estate venture, Diesel-branded condos in Miami and the unique t-shirts are decorated with floor plans of the apartments that buyers will receive with their purchase. The condominium is the result of a partnership with real estate company Bel-Invest and construction is set to begin in April of this year. Although the condos look amazing, we simply can’t afford a $5m t-shirt right now. *crying*

From Landfill To Labs In an unlikely partnership, Ford is recycling McDonald’s coffee waste into car parts. The automaker will take ‘coffee chaff’ and divert it from a landfill to its laboratory, where it will be engineered into bioplastics. In addition to reducing food waste, the effort will make car parts lighter, use less petroleum, and lower CO2 emissions. ⠀⠀ This ingenious handling of landfill comes as no surprise, as more than 1/4 of all carbon emissions are from the transportation sector, and the auto industry is under massive pressure to reduce tailpipe emissions. It’s also worth noting that Ford is one of four global automakers that have bucked the Trump administration by reaching a deal with California to increase the fuel economy of — and reduce emissions from — their new vehicle fleets through 2026. ⠀⠀ A brand that’s refusing Trump AND finding creative ways to reduce emissions? We’re lovin’ it.

Science Fiction is Now Reality Thanks To Samsung's New AI Virtual Beings As if the world wasn’t strange enough, Samsung’s future factory STAR Labs has now developed Neon – AI-powered virtual beings that look and behave like real humans. But unlike AI assistants like Siri or Alexa, the Neons aren't programmed to be "know-it-all bots" or an interface to answer users' questions and demands. Instead, the avatars are designed to converse and sympathise "like real people" in order to act as hyper lifelike companions. Terrifying. ⠀

⠀ STAR Labs CEO Pranav Mistry said: "Neons will integrate with our world and serve as new links to a better future, a world where 'humans are humans' and 'machines are humane'.” The AI beings were first debuted at CES 2020, and included simulations of a yoga instructor, a banker, a K-pop star, a news anchor and a fashion model. While the Neons may seem like they’re based on real humans, each one has its own unique personality, including being able to move, express themselves and speak. They can also remember and learn things about their user, and speak in any language. ⠀⠀ The Neons are still currently in their early development phase, acting mainly as AI chatbots in human-like form. Can’t wait until they’re available for purchase – We would personally love us an AI K-pop star to hang around daily.⠀

Welcome To Akon City, Where The Currency is Akoin

Remember Akon? Barely us either. The mid-2000’s “locked up” and “Lonely” hip-hop star has recently resurfaced in media, but for reasons wildly beyond our imagination. As we all know, a lot of celebrities with more money than sense will launch a clothing line, drinks brand or invest in a restaurant. Not Akon. His passion project is wayyy bigger - he just announced on Instagram that he is officially building "Akon City" in Senegal (where he spent a lot of time in his childhood.) ⠀⠀

Construction of Akon City will take place in the village of Mbodiene, and the entire project has been designed to be environmentally sustainable; the city will be 100% solar powered, have its own airport, and the local economy will run on the singer's proprietary crypto-currency, Akoin. (Yes, really!!) ⠀⠀ As it’s a 10-year building block, his teams are doing it in stages. They began construction in March, and stage two is going to be in 2025. Akon added that the aim of this huge undertaking is to make life better for people living in Senegal. "If you can have a billion dollars sitting in the bank, while you have all these people suffering, it’s crazy to me," he said. "It’s like a waste of a billion dollars." Admirable Akon comes to the rescue.

To learn more about the weird and wonderful things happening in culture, check our Instagram @world__wide__weird

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