What Tupac and Turkey’s prime minister have in common

Here’s a look at five ideas that could impact how we live, work and play.

1. Holographic concerts and speeches.

It used to be if you wanted to give a speech or perform in concert, you had to show up in person. Being alive was also crucial. But then technology emerged. We’ve seen the infamous Tupac hologram and now Turkey’s prime minister Tayyip Erdogan has delivered a speech via a hologram. This is a stunt we’ve seen before, when an Indian politician appeared in 53 places simultaneously.

The always forward-thinking MG Siegler considered the potential of holograms Sunday:

Word is that these holograms cost in excess of $100,000 to produce for short segments. So it’s not cheap. But it actually seems fairly cheap if you’re talking about re-creating some of the biggest acts in the world no longer with us. People would undoubtedly pay insane amounts of money for this experience.

The best part is that you don’t even technically need old video footage perfectly matched with the environment. Hollywood special effects studios such as Digital Domain can create holographic artists from the ground up to work into pretty much any scene. And because the audience remains far enough away, the illusion seems shockingly real.

And this doesn’t have to just be used for concerts. Imagine a lecture on physics “given” by Albert Einstein. Or a book “reading” by Jane Austen.

Exciting, right? Who would you want to see perform as a hologram?

2. Security systems that detect drones. Via Fast Company:

The device, called Drone Shield, analyzes noise picked up on its microphone and identifies the characteristic acoustic signatures of different kinds of drones. Sometimes these are sounds a person could hear with their ear, but likely people aren’t listening for them.

“The goal is to give you enough warning time to either go inside and shut your blinds … or for commercial uses, it’s to call the cops or alert your security,” [co-inventor Brian] Hearing says.

3. Your iPhone’s secret undo button. Slate demonstrates, just shake your phone!

4. Facebook is hiring human editors. For a company that uses an algorithm  to determine what appears in its NewsFeed, this comes as a surprise. While there’s a huge trend toward automating everything, this is a big exception. Via Re/code:

Facebook has sought to hire contract editors to staff up Paper, the company’s unreleased, Flipboard-like news aggregation mobile app, according to two people familiar with the matter.

These editors, sources said, will oversee around ten different news verticals on a wide range of topics, curating a mix of the “best stories” within each particular subject area for users to see. The Paper verticals will be filled with stories picked entirely by these editors.

5. The vending machine for cars. Via Wired:

If you find yourself in need of a ride in Hangzhou, China, you can waltz up to a multi-story garage, punch a few buttons, and have a fully charged electric vehicle deposited in front of you.

It’s a new car-sharing scheme launched by Kandi Technologies that takes the hyper-successful bike-sharing model in China and puts it onto four electrically powered wheels.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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Matt McFarland | January 28