Happy Friday! We’ve got some news for you. For starters, if you’ve ever thought that teenaged boys are irresponsible, this study on mammoths shows that human teens aren’t the only reckless ones. Looking for some good health news? Breathalyzers will soon be able to diagnose Malaria. Hoping to hack your way around an algorithm? Now you can learn from a fruit fly brain.
And, as always, we’re here with five more stories you didn’t know you needed.
Elementary school children are the newest propellers of a fast-growing e-commerce market in Asia. Admiralty Primary School in Singapore recently distributed wristbands to each student that they can use to make in-school purchases—lunch, supplies, etc—digitally. The wearables, called “Smart Buddies” are sponsored by the Post Office of Singapore Bank, and were officially launched by the country’s education minister. This initiative represents national support for Singapore’s increasing cashlessness, all while reinforcing the fact that youth, especially in Asia, are driving an e-commerce explosion.
A robot modeled after a human butt is helping Ford’s engineers design comfortable and durable car seats. The robot—appropriately named “Robutt”—learns the various ways drivers and passengers would enter and exit a vehicle. Then it mimics the wear-and-tear pattern 25,000 times to simulate a decade of use in just three weeks. Car seats have traditionally been tested using metal machinery that puts varying levels of pressure on seats, but Ford decided that nothing hits the spot quite like a robutt.
Ever felt left out? All 27,000 subscribers to the Reddit group Maps without NZ know the feeling. Turns out, New Zealand is left off world maps at an astounding rate, and even the country’s official government website has been guilty of displaying maps missing the Oceanic nation. BBC caught wind of Kiwi frustrations and interviewed unsuspecting Londoners to see if members of the public would recognize the missing country on inaccurate world maps. Now that Reddit’s on the case, maybe the internet will finally put New Zealand on the map.
Since its explosive 2016 debut, Pokémon Go fans have been anxiously awaiting a spinoff. Well, fans, the follow-up will soon arrive. The game’s creator, Niantic Inc., just announced that they are making a similar augmented reality game—this time Harry Potter themed. Niantic released a statement confirming that, come 2018, gamers will be able to engage with J.K. Rowling’s wizardry, in both the real world and the digital. Pokémon Go proved a revolutionary step in mixed-reality gaming, and excitement is high for another fan-favorite franchise.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has proposed some changes to the way we watch televised sports. Sports games—from basketball to football to cricket—have been presented the same way for decades, and it’s getting old. Live sports, which typically draw a decent audience, are proving nonexempt from the drop in TV viewership across the board. Silver’s solution? Gamify and socialize live sports streaming. Silver wants sports games to be televised in the style of interactive live-gaming, complete with stats, comments, and chatter. But with existing network deals gripping the rights, it might be some time before we know whether Silver’s plan is a slam dunk.