Innovation in unexpected ways

Innovation isn’t always grandiose, or complicated, requiring teams of badly dressed nerds in disheveled clothes working around the clock…don’t know if that last bit applies or not in this case, but this elegantly simple solution to real problems caught my eye; edible disposable cutlery.

Cutlery you say? Innovative? – apparently India throws away 120 BILLION plastic spoons forks and knives a year. And that’s a lot. Not just because I’m a closet tree-hugger, but because India has a particular problem with trash disposal – and drought.

So this wonderful solution emerged: made from Millet (a grain that is highly nutritious and uses much less water than rice), they are flavored and baked and stay crispy even with liquids – but can be eaten afterwards. If they are, they are nutritious; if they aren’t, they completely biodegrade within 45 days. They even have a shelf life of 3 years! No plastic, extra nutrition, little water…elegant and simple. Beautifully so.

Just wish they’d make some bowls and plates. I might feel a bit like I’m at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, but the appeal of no dishes would be worth it.

Mind controlled virtual reality + the trials and tribulations of Contactless pay

Two interesting thought bites today around mind controlled virtual reality (!) + the trials and tribulations of contactless pay.

First, mind controlled virtual reality.  What fascinating technology it is! – they are creating a mind operated virtual reality interface. By combining virtual reality and motion capture with brain machine interfacing, they hope to help patients recover from traumatic events.

It uses electrodes to sense your brainwaves and muscle activity and a proprietary motion capture camera system to “predict” your movement before you make them – and combine this with VR immersion. The company’s gotten a $100 million cash infusion from the Hinduja Group, for a $1 billion valuation. Not bad for technology that doesn’t really exist yet.

Curious how it will solve for the disorientation that happens when your eyes/brain think you’re moving, but your body senses that it really isn’t.

And the second interesting find today: How unscrupulous people are taking advantage of contactless pay (much more prevalent in the UK than in the US) to randomly steal in crowded situations. If you’re not familiar, it’s when all you have to do to pay it tap your card: no verification needed.


I am curious how this scam works though: someone bumps into you / your card with a point of sale device, which instantly transfers (swipes) some money. Into what account (where he can receive it and not be caught)? – there has to be a recipient account??

I understand there are safe guards in place to deal with this, namely transactions are held in limbo for a freeze period, and you can of course contest it if you see it in your account.

And I’m curious if there’s a way to “swipe” from one currency to another – i.e. take dollars/pounds and instantly (after the freeze period by your card’s bank) deposit it into a Bitcoin (untraceable) account.

Personally I think Apple pay’s biometric confirmation (finger swipe to approve transaction) a safe deal….I mean really, how many seconds do you really need to save for convenience? WHAT DO PEOPLE DO WITH ALL THESE EXTRA SECONDS??!

Enquiring minds want to know.