Blog / Tech roundup: AR art installations, electric vehicles advance and cancer-fighting nanobots

May 29, 2020

We keep an eye on the latest technology developments so you don’t have to. Here are some of the digital product developments that have been making the headlines over the last week or two.

Augmented reality art installations

Fancy a temporary art installation in your own home? The Acute Art app, with new AR artworks by Olafur Eliasson, allows you to sip a coffee with a colourful puffin perched on the table next to you, or to park a rain cloud above your bed, view your bedroom through the sight and sound of a gentle rain shower or park various other cool artefacts in your immediate surroundings. https://app.acuteart.com/

The electric vehicle revolution gathers pace

Many drivers taking the first, cautious steps towards EVs have tended to purchase half-and-half, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs, in the trade lingo), taking advantage of new technologies while keeping one foot firmly in the traditional, tried-and-tested sphere. However, interesting new statistics from the period just before the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown began in March show that drivers are now starting to go all-in on purely battery-powered vehicles as confidence in the technology increases. For the first time, battery-only vehicles (BEVs) overtook their hybrid cousins in terms of market share. This article makes for interesting reading if you want more detail on the stats: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/05/18/battery-electric-vehicle-sales-in-uk-were-outpacing-hybrids-before-covid-19-struck/

Fashion in the metaverse

We’ve heard a lot of talk about virtual reality and how real life is moving to the metaverse as we all stay at home. That may be quite true (yet!), but as ever, the fashion industry is pushing the boundaries. The Aglet app - a kind of Pokemon Go for trainer/sneaker obsessives - allows players to collect virtual shoes to add to their collection, and is also intended as a virtual design studio that will allow any talented designer, anywhere in the world, to create and showcase their own ideas. The app’s creator envisages that it will ultimately become a giant global talent contest for designers, with the best virtual designs being ultimately manufactured and marketed in the physical world. https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/24/as-fashion-has-its-metaverse-moment-one-app-looks-to-bridge-real-and-virtual-worlds-for-sneakerheads/

Fighting cancer, one nanobot at a time

While Covid-19 dominates the headline, it is easy to forget that cutting-edge medical research continues. This report focuses on tiny robots, which can be injected into patients and ‘disguise’ themselves as white blood cells in order to kill cancer cells. The nanobots which are engineered to look and travel like white blood cells, can be moved through the veins with powerful magnets and are programmed to drop their payload of cancer-killing drugs when they reach the target area. https://futurism.com/neoscope/robots-disguised-blood-cells-hunt-cancer

Coffee by drone

Food delivery companies are doing well in the current climate, but unless you are hyperlocal to your favourite coffee shop or ice cream parlour, there’s a problem: your coffee is likely to go cold, or your ice cream to melt while UberEats or Deliveroo make their way through the traffic. While the idea of drone deliveries is making slow progress as companies negotiate safety regulations, this article shows how drones are not only performing vital tasks such as delivering medication to senior citizens in Florida, but are slowly making inroads into other areas, with Google Wing already delivering coffee and ice cream in Australia: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephenmcbride1/2020/05/21/flying-robots-will-soon-deliver-your-morning-coffee/#24d7eaa37660