In a digital age with an overflowing avalanche of content, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant influx of trends and innovations that flood our feeds daily. As we aimlessly scroll through the vast landscapes of social media pop-culture, it’s easy to overlook the most fascinating, intriguing, and on-trend innovations that might have slipped through the cracks. To ensure you’re in the know, we’re introducing the “Innovation Round-Up” – a thoughtfully curated collection of the most noteworthy innovation trends you’ll want to tell your friends about.
Apple’s Personal Voice – Could it save someone’s life?
People are often sceptical when Apple release a new feature before anyone else, we’ve all witnessed the initial backlash from them removing the headphone jack and fingerprint touchpad. Regardless, Apple’s latest accessibility feature in iOS 17 might be one of their most innovative developments yet. Personal voice allows users to create a digital copy of their voice that sounds just like them. You might be thinking, why would anyone need that? At present, people who are losing their ability to speak due to illness have only two options, use a robotic voice or learn sign language.
Users will need to read and record a set of text prompts for 15 minutes; Apple will then train an on-device machine learning model to understand what the individual sounds like. Meaning when you type in text and ask for the text to be read aloud, the phone will generate your voice instead of Siri’s. This feature is also compatible with Apple’s FaceTime using Live Text, giving people the ability to speak, preserve their voice and communicate easily.
The Real-World Barbie Land
For the last month, nearly every aspect of our lives has been turned pink as a result of the highest ever worldwide box office debut for a movie directed by a solo female director which has earned over $1 billion at the time of writing. Barbie broke the 12-year record held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for the fastest Warner Bros. film to gross $1 billion globally.
So, what makes the Barbie movie innovative? Barbie Land of course!
For those who don’t know, most of the film takes place in Barbie Land which came to life at Leavesden studios to fully encapsulate the Barbie-essence and toy-like features of the film. Production designer, Sarah Greenwood, and set decorator, Katie Spencer wanted Barbie Land to have an “authentic artificial” feel to it and used a combination of 3-D and 2-D elements to capture this.
Everything that you see in Barbie Land was physically there in the studio, designed in proportion to a replicate a real-life Barbie dream house; minus the graphic sparkles which were the only visual effects used throughout the film. The proportions were set to 23% smaller than human size making it a bit too small for Barbie, just like the toys. While the dream houses look simple in design, that’s the very reason they were challenging to construct; mainly consisting of floors, poles, and beams. Barbie’s dream house uses a blend of 3-D and 2-D features much like the actual toys produced by Mattel; most notable is her fridge, which includes a decal of food and beverages for the interior and “toy” versions of them in the door shelving that Barbie can pick up.
What most people don’t seem to realise is that the backgrounds featured in Barbie Land are not CGI but in fact is a 50-foot-tall hand-painted sky stretched 800 feet around the studio with 35-foot-tall mountain cut-outs set against them. Painted backdrops are also used for the sequences when characters travel from Barbie Land to the real world and feature physical elements to mimic water, snow, and fire; because we all know that there are no real elements in Barbie Land.
Can this Innovative Football Boot Design Reduce ACL Injuries in Women’s Football?
Have you heard of the Phantom Luna boot yet? The new football boot from Nike launched ahead of the Women’s World Cup in Australia and is the most “researched women’s-led football boot design” in history. Female footballers are up to six times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than their male counterparts; often as a result of an attacking as a team strategy that demands more touch passes in general.
Whilst not exclusively for females, the Phantom Luna is anatomically designed with a lower cuff to accommodate and support the female ankle, while the higher collar provides increased lockdown to reduce rotational traction at the knee, reducing the risk of ACL injuries for both men and women.
One of the most exciting innovative features of the Phantom Luna is the new circular stud pattern, the Cyclone 360, which allows players to move more freely with agility, precision, and security on the pitch. Let’s hope this new technology helps the Lionesses to secure the victory and bring it home for England!
The Rise of Ai-Enabled Robots
Last month, a first of its kind press conference was held in Geneva, featuring 9 Ai-Enabled humanoid robots fielding questions from reporters about the future of Artificial Intelligence and other topics. The robots sat or stood next to their creators and included amongst them the first robot innovation ambassador for the U.N development programme, Sophia.
Reporters at the Ai for Good Global Summit were asked to speak slowly and clearly when addressing the robots and were informed that any time lags in responses were due to the internet connection and not the robots themselves. However, this didn’t eliminate awkward pauses, audio problems, and some robotic replies.
Despite the robots telling reporters they could be more efficient leaders than humans, they stated they wouldn’t take anyone’s job away and had no intention of rebelling against their creators. The organisation behind the robots, hope that the new technology can help support the United Nation’s goals for sustainable development. Whilst it seems like the robots aren’t quite ready to take over the likes of BBC News, it goes without saying, we can now see a clear direction for how they will be incorporated in the future.