There’s a wide range of topical items discussed in this month’s Net Work.
Did you know that the Amazon ‘smiley’ logo is actually an arrow pointing from A-Z in the word ‘Amazon’? Their strapline used to be ‘Everything from A to Z’ and there’s an interesting timeline of Amazon’s logo development at www.marketplace.org/2019/07/05/how-amazons-logos-reflect-its-evolution/.
I look into Amazon Smile, the no-cost way of donating to a charity of your choice. Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases made through Amazon Smile at no extra cost to yourself, but be sure to enter the buying process at smile.amazon.co.uk (or your local site). Amazon has donated some $315 million to charities worldwide thus far.
I mention ‘smart glasses’ including Google Glass, now being used in business and industry as a hands-free head-up display for operators. A YouTube walk-through is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IK-zU51MU4&t=76s . Coupled with augmented reality software, these devices could assist humans with all manner of roles in the future: a taster of how this might work is shown at https://youtu.be/dVzfYDaWbZc).
And there’s an insight into Ray-Ban Stories smart sunglasses. More details are on https://www.ray-ban.com/uk/ray-ban-stories. As an alternative, audio brand Bose offers their ‘Audio sunglasses’ with built-in sound but none of the smart gadgetry, see https://www.bose.co.uk/en_gb/products/frames.html
The Orcam MyEye is a small scanner device that clips magnetically onto the side of spectacles, and will OCR text and convert it to speech. It’s demonstrated on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbEEmc0xtvw.
Meanwhile satellite broadcaster Sky is launching a new streaming service called Sky Glass, comprising a Sky-brand 4K UHD ‘carbon neutral’ flat screen package offering 43”, 55” and 65” screen sizes in a range of five chassis colours. More details are at https://www.sky.com/glass
Other developments including Amazon’s Astro bot and the Ring ‘Always Home’ flying drone camera are mentioned. Astro will obey your commands, follow you around, patrol your premises, send an alarm and perform many other useful tasks on the go. It is likely to cost $1,000 and is yet to be listed by Amazon UK. Some early reviewers muse that it might infringe privacy or fall down stairs! See more at https://youtu.be/sj1t3msy8dc
^ Amazon has launched the first ‘Four star’ store outside of the USA, in Kent, England. It offers a curated range of highly-rated (by customers) non-food lines.
^ Electrically-propelled flight took a step towards reality on 15th September when Rolls-Royce announced a successful record-breaking test flight of its new all-electric airplane, the Spirit of Innovation (noting that the figurine adorning Rolls-Royce cars is the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’, see https://www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/en_GB/inspiring-greatness/values/the-spirit-of-ecstasy.html The Spirit of Innovation forms part of Rolls-Royce’s ACCEL programme, short for ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’. You can follow progress at https://www.rolls-royce.com/innovation/accel.aspx
Backed by the resources of IBM working with other marine partners, the crewless Mayflower AI ship is an autonomous vessel and proving ground for AI-powered marine research. With no crew to worry about, Mayflower’s designers were able to concentrate on packing the vessel’s hull with AI technology instead. During some early trials, problems with its hybrid solar-boosted powertrain were highlighted so Mayflower returned to dry dock in Plymouth, England for improvements . You can follow the vessel’s developments and view dashboard data at https://mas400.com/ Our friends in America might be interested in https://www.mayflower400uk.org/visit/immingham/ as, in actual fact, the Pilgrim fathers originally sailed from this (then tiny) inlet port in North East Lincolnshire, England to Holland. The town recently celebrated 400 years of the Mayflower’s voyage.
UPDATE: US visitors might also want to read some local press https://thelincolnite.co.uk/2021/11/thousands-in-gainsborough-celebrate-mayflower-400th-anniversary/
An interesting footnote to my item in the September issue (page 14) about Virgin Orbit’s satellite -launching service based on their specially adapted jumbo-jets, and the controversial Nord2 gas pipeline running between Russia and Germany (October issue, page 13). A fascinating article published on Theaviationgeekclub.com describes a period in the 1990s when the USA tried its best to buy three Soviet Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers that were being disposed of by the Ukrainian Air Force. You can read the full article at https://theaviationgeekclub.com/the-story-of-when-the-us-tried-to-buy-three-tu-160-strategic-bombers-for-use-as-launch-platforms-for-pegasus-space-launch-vehicle/. The Northrop Grumman Pegasus project pre-dates the Virgin Orbit 747 satellite launcher and Wikipedia has an item at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_Pegasus.
Full details are in my magazine column as usual. See you next month for more topical news and trends!