SnapTravel wants you to book hotel rooms with a chatbot

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Ontario Art Museum lets you experience old paintings in AR

Digital artist, Alex Mayhew, has created an app that allows visitors of the Art Gallery of Ontario to experience traditional paintings in augmented reality (AR). The app is called reBlink and gives historical paintings a modern update. When a viewer opens the app and points their camera at a painting, the image is adapted on-screen. The paintings ‘come to life’ by moving and also include a contemporary twist – such as a smartphone or selfie stick. The app is available on iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded ahead of time. Check out the teaser below.

Dating app uses your personal tweets to find a personality match

Dating app, Loveflutter, assumes you can find out a lot about a person by what they post on social media and aims to take advantage of this insight. The app uses an algorithm based on the tweets a user has posted on their profile and analyses the words that they use. This (apparently) helps them to determine aspects of their personalities, happiness levels and compatibility with potential matches.  The concept is founded on the idea that people use Twitter to express their unfiltered thoughts, rather than the structured posts they upload on Facebook and Instagram. This means they post more frequently and include more words that reveal ‘true’ aspects of their personalities that wouldn’t be advertised on a traditional dating profile. What do you think your Twitter account would say about you?

Australian Ninja Warrior handles the heat

Program Station Audience
Australian Ninja Warrior – Sun Ch9 1,804,356
Australian Ninja Warrior – Tues Ch9 1,583,327
Australian Ninja Warrior -Mon Ch9 1,541,995
Masterchef Australia – Thurs Ch10 980,421
Masterchef Australia – Wed Ch10 959,333
Masterchef Australia – Sun Ch10 862,381
Masterchef Australia – Mon Ch10 852,722
Utopia ABC 845,980
Masterchef Australia – Masterclass Ch10 840,694
Masterchef Australia – Tues Ch10 827,857

17/07 – 23/07

Coca-Cola is launching AI-powered vending machines

Buying Coke from a vending machine is going to become a whole lot more interesting! Coca-Cola’s global director of digital innovation, Greg Chambers, has recently revealed that the company will soon test out ‘next generation’ vending machines that will be powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The machines will be accompanied with an app to allow for greater customisation and will let customers order any Coca-Cola drink for themselves or someone else and have it available at a nearby machine. Each machine will have distinct personalities depending on where they are located. For example, a machine in a hospital will be serious and functional, while one at a university could be more playful and light-hearted. Chambers says he wants people to, “build emotional connections to machines and with products… in new and exciting ways.” Strategically, the new technology will improve the user experience while also providing Coca-Cola with rich data about purchasing habits. The vending machines are set to roll out in parts of the U.S., Australia and New Zealand in the next few weeks.

‘The Rock’ teaches people how to use Siri in Apple’s latest spot

iPhone users know that Siri exists on their phones, but do they really understand or utilise the virtual assistant’s full capabilities? Apple has continuously tried to educate people how to use the invisible interface through Siri suggestions, tool tips, App Store promotions and interviews in hopes that users will use it beyond asking about the weather. Recently, they’ve tried a new approach in a three-minute movie-like ad that features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (the highest paid actor in the world in 2016). The spot is episodic in nature, and shows how an insanely busy person can use Siri as a tool to ‘Dominate the Day’ on a daily basis in both basic and obscure ways. Although it is a lengthy ad, the quick transitions and quality visuals make the whole clip engrossing. So, did you learn anything new?

SnapTravel wants you to book hotel rooms with a chatbot

Investors have poured $8 million into a hotel booking startup called SnapTravel, which lets users find and book hotel rooms by interacting with chatbots via text messages or Facebook Messenger.  The startup aims to appeal to people who want a travel agent experience without calling or visiting a store. However, SnapTravel isn’t fully automated. The ‘bot’ part of the service is for users’ simpler questions, but human agents are able to step in when things get complicated (like when your flight gets cancelled and you booked a non-refundable hotel). Human agents operate as travel agents by calling hotels for you, confirming your check-in and providing deals, but they can be conveniently contacted via message. As users continue to use SnapTravel to make bookings, the service remembers individual preferences and takes these into consideration for future recommendations. SnapTravel also doesn’t need users to download an app in order for it to work, so you can save storage room on your device.

iRobot wants to sell digital maps of homes collected by their Roombas

CEO of iRobot, Colin Angle, has hopes to sell the indoor mapping data collected by their Roomba automatic vacuum cleaning machines in the near future.  iRobot’s latest line of 900-series Roomba vacuums use simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) technology to map rooms while they clean, memorising the room layout and the location of furniture. Angle believes that mapping data collected by the Roomba could be used to make other in-home smart devices like lighting, thermostats, and security cameras smarter. Of course, the idea of sharing a detailed map of your home raises understandable privacy concerns. While Angle promises that users will need to give their consent for the data to be shared, he shares no details on how it would work and whether it will be opt-in or opt-out. We can only dream what a company like Apple could do with this kind of data.


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