Amazon Prime Opts For Monthly Subs to Compete With Netflix

When it comes to video streaming service, there is currently a debate over which is best for you, Netflix or Amazon prime. With Netflix recently raising its prices, Amazon Prime looks to be a large contender thanks to some of the original content it now produces, but many are put off by the large upfront cost for the service. This could change as US users of the service could switch to a monthly service.

Previously Prime users had to pay a yearly subscription of $99, offering access to not only their fast delivery options but also Prime Video and Prime Music, the media providing aspects of the Prime service. The monthly subscription costs $10.99 a month if you wanted to keep all the benefits while if you only wanted Prime Video you could opt in for the $8.99 subscription.

With the yearly total costing you $131.88, a 25% increase overly the annual membership, users may want to take the monthly bundle around times like Christmas or large concentrations of birthdays, rather than using it as a go to package over the yearly service. It should also be noted that if you were to select the monthly subscription you won’t get the 25% prepayment discount that annual members of prime benefit from.

Oculus Founder Delivers First Consumer Unit in Person

The founder of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey, decided that he would deliver the very first consumer version of the Oculus Rift VR headset himself. The lucky recipient? Ross Martin, an indie developer from Anchorage, Alaska, who was the first person to pre-order the consumer Rift, which will be arriving at the houses of the remaining customers starting on Monday.

The decision by Luckey to deliver the Rift had been a move that he desired for a long time but was only able to realize at the last moment, due to the obvious issues with the founder being out of the office just days before the product’s release. “This didn’t come together until the last second, I’ve had a bunch of things that I’ve wanted to do over the years, and I was pretty adamant,” Luckey told Polygon. “I said hey guys, I’ve been working on this since 2009, we’ve been working on Oculus since 2012, I’ll be damned if some random delivery guy is going to get the satisfaction of delivering the first Rift. That’s mine.”

Meanwhile, Martin, who documented his feelings on the experience on Twitter, first posting an image of the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  He continued to state that in further tweets “So grateful to Palmer Luckey and Oculus for coming all the way to Alaska,” and “You guys are super cool!” Leading up to the release, Martin had no idea that he was the first to order the Rift and when he received the call that it would be delivered early and in-person, he simply believed that all pre-orderers had gotten the same treatment. “I would never think that someone doing it by hand would be the first,” he said.

It is great to see that despite the Rift taking so long to come to market and moves that have been considered unpopular, such as their acquisition by Facebook, that Luckey and Oculus VR treat their customers well.

Amazon is Now Leasing Airplanes to Help With Deliveries

When it comes to ordering things online, Amazon is one of the places people first look. With distribution all over the world, the company is currently at the forefront of technology to help deliver their products, including being the leader in the “drones for deliveries” concept. In the companies latest move, Amazon is now leasing airplanes.

A step up from your garden delivery drone, Amazon has signed a lease on not one but 20 Boeing 767 freighter planes. With the ability to control and help organise international deliveries, could this be the first step in a truly global delivery system?

In an email to ArsTechnica, Dave Clark (Amazon SVP of Customer Service) provided the following:

We offer Earth’s largest selection, great prices, and ultra-fast delivery promises to a growing group of Prime members and we’re excited to supplement our existing delivery network with a great new provider, ATSG, by adding 20 planes to ensure air cargo capacity to support one and two-day delivery for customers.

From this statement, it would seem to be the case that the new planes will be there to help support and expand on Amazon’s Prime delivery scheme, something which offers quick delivery of their products.

Am I the only one who’s expecting Amazon to create a drone carrying aircraft to help deliver their products?

Amazon.JP Delivering Japanese Video Games Worldwide!

We all like that new game smell. Opening up the post to find that new game, the case screaming for you to open it up and slide in the disk. Sometimes the game you want to play isn’t available in your country, a case that is most common with Japanese releases. Don’t worry, as Amazon.JP has started delivering Japanese video games worldwide.

With select games and even consoles now available for international shipping, you can enjoy some of those releases that you’ve missed out over the years. Currently, the offer only applies to items sold directly by Amazon.jp with international shipping.

In order to do this, you may want to view Amazon.jp in English, an option that you can find on the right-hand side of a product page (shown below).

With fair prices for games like Dark Souls 3 costing just ¥ 6,473 (around £41 without shipping), you could soon find yourself building up an international collection of games. Some consoles these days don’t care about the region of the game, for example, the PS4 and Xbox One while others you may have to reorder to enjoy the Japanese releases (the Wii U and 3DS among them).

Are you looking forward to ordering your first game from Japan? What games are you going to pick up? Tell us your experience in international games and delivery services in the comments below.

Hungry? Don’t Worry! The Delivery Robot Starship Is Here!

It gets late, you could go to the kitchen and cook a nice warm meal but every bone is your body is crying out to sit down and play one game, watch one more movie or even to just keep reading. You select one of your favourite fast food places and place your order, waiting the half hour before you get a message saying your food is waiting for you outside. Upon opening the door, you don’t see a driver or even a car but instead a small robot, the smell of your food making you hungrier by the second. Say hello to the Delivery Robot Starship!

The small drone is designed and created by some of the founders of that popular video software Skype. With a top speed of 4mph, the Starship isn’t build to travel the galaxy or even the country but within a few miles, it can safely navigate thanks to the cameras that will not only stop it before it collides with anyone else walking on the paths but in some cases it even steps out the way, letting people walk past in a polite fashion rarely seen by automated vehicles.

While it is in early develop, the ability to delivery up to 20 pounds worth of equipment could help people deliver everything from your takeaways to your morning shopping. With plans to expand its testing in the UK followed only by testing in the US by April, you could soon see a Starship near you.

Amazon Reveals Fresh Details on its Drone Delivery Service

Amazon has been developing its drone delivery service, Amazon Prime Air, for nearly three years. While the process has been slow, and had many hurdles to tackle, the company remains confident that Prime Air will launch soon, but it will not necessarily make its debut in the US.

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo, Amazon’s Vice President for Global Public Policy Paul Misener, revealed that the logistics of Prime Air, which will use custom drones to make deliveries more than 10 miles from an Amazon depot, have been established, with the only sticking point, in the US at least, being with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“The goals we’ve set for ourselves are: The range has to be over 10 miles. These things will weigh about 55 pounds each, but they’ll be able to deliver parcels that weigh up to five pounds,” Misener told Yahoo’s David Pogue. “It turns out that the vast majority of the things we sell at Amazon weigh less than five pounds.”

Regarding dealing with climate, weather conditions, and urban terrain, Misener said, “our customers live in a wide variety of buildings. Some live in rural farmhouses, some live in high-rise city skyscrapers, and then everything in between, in suburban and exurban environments. We want to be able to serve all of those customers. And it may take a different kind of a drone to best work in each one.”

Amazon is still in negotiations with the FAA, and various other international airspace regulators, to make Prime Air viable without impacting existing air traffic.

“[W]e’ve proposed to regulators around the world, including the FAA, a certain kind of an airspace design that would keep the drones separated from the aircraft,” Misener explained. “We were thinking: Manned aircraft above 500 feet. Between 400 and 500 feet there’d be a no-fly zone — a safety buffer. Between 200 and 400 feet would be a transit zone, where drones could fly fairly quickly, horizontally. And then below 200 feet, that would be limited to certain operations. For us, it would be takeoff and landing. For others, it might be aerial photography. The realtors, for example, wouldn’t need to fly above 200 feet to get a great shot of a house.”

However, if the FAA refuses to allow Amazon’s drone deliveries, the company will continue to pursue the strategy in other countries. “There’s no reason why the United States must be first,” Misener added. “We hope it is.”

Amazon released a new video last month showcasing Prime Air, inexplicably starring Jeremy Clarkson (well, he is under contract now):

 

Amazon US Offers Prime Users Cheaper Games

You remember that feeling when you’ve really wanted a game and the best place to buy it is online? Releases in a few days and you want to make sure you have it ready for when you get in, ready to stare and watch as it starts up and the world disappears. Now remember that $99 Amazon asked you for that next day delivery through Prime? Seems like the two could now be one and the same, with Amazon Prime offering discounts on all new releases and pre-orders of video games.

Amazon’s site now reveals that when you are a prime member you will receive (if its Amazon shipping the game) 20% off. Have you been burned by recent pre-orders not living up to expectations? For those burned by games like Colonial Marines fear not, the discount not only counts towards pre-orders but also for the first two weeks after its release.

Not only does the offer extend to those who have already pre-ordered games via Prime but it will also include Collectors editions of games. I’m sorry to say that product bundles, such as consoles and games releasing at the same time, will not be included in the deal.

Saving 20% may not seem like much, but if you purchase several games over the year the savings quickly stack. Sadly the offer seems to be limited to Amazon.com for now, so hopefully other Amazon sites will quickly follow suit. Check out the terms and conditions and FAQ’s before buying all those games you’ve been putting off pre-ordering.

Volvo Is Testing In-Car Delivery System

Do you remember back in April Amazon announced plans to make deliveries to the boot of your car? No? Well, it seems nothing has come of it yet, so Volvo has taken the reigns with Swedish postal company PostNord to offer this system in Sweden.

Try and think of all of the times where you have been at work, out of town or even just so lazy that you didn’t get out of bed to catch that 7:45am delivery. Now try to think of that delivery never being missed again because you can have that packed dropped safely into the boot of your car and locked away until you pick it up. That’s the ideal plan set out by this joint venture of Volvo and PostNord.

The process is simple, you place your order, tell the delivery company your car location and a special uniquely generated entry code for your car and wait for the item to be delivered.

I still have my reservations for this process though, what if you forget about that laptop you left on the back seat or that money in the centre console just ripe for the picking? I know that the selected drivers would have to pass security tests, but still.

Jeremy Clarkson Reveals New Amazon 30-Minutes Delivery Drone

The last we heard from Amazon regarding their drones, they were still using a model that looked like a slightly enlarged version of a regular consumer drone. Their latest reveal though is nothing like what you’d find in a hobby store.

The new craft, as pictured above, would carry the package inside the fuselage (the body of the craft) rather than beneath the drone. The drone takes off vertically similar to a helicopter before flying straight towards your house. With an impressive range of 15 miles, the drone looks to be the first of a generation of more powerful drones, built for a range of environments; soon the Amazon drone army will be flying through the air delivering anything you need within the hour.

With sensors designed to search for and evaluate possible landing environments, the drone lands, releases your product and then takes back off. Of course, it doesn’t just appear and fly off, with a notification on your Amazon app you’re alerted so you can watch the device drop off your product and be ready to pick it up.

With development centers in the U.S, U.K and Israel you could soon see the drones flying once they receive approval. If that didn’t spark your interest then check out the video below, with none other than Jeremy Clarkson, explaining the details in his usual unique style.

Amazon Prime Now Offers Same Day Delivery in Parts of UK

Amazons never been strangers to upgrading their services,  from the idea of delivering with drones, opening their own bookstore, offering offline video playback and even suing people who leave fake reviews about products. It should be no surprise then that Amazon prime users are to get yet another added bonus to their services with their new scheme Prime Same Day.

At the moment at the cost of £79 a  year you can get Amazon prime, giving you access to free next day delivery on a range of their products and their Amazon Prime Music and Video services, giving you access to a wide range of music and video streaming facilities at no extra cost. If that wasn’t enough the new scheme will see you getting the ability to place orders for delivery the same day.

There are a few restrictions on the deal’s though, currently only those within the M25 are eligible at the start of the scheme, and while there are no limitations on the value of the items ordered, there will be a set collection of items available. Don’t worry though, as the collection is set to range around a million items, with orders placed before noon delivered between 6 and 10 that evening.

If that wasn’t enough, Prime members ordering to London or Birmingham can have it delivered within the hour for £6.99 or for free within a two-hour window between 8am and midnight the same day.

Costing nothing extra and giving their users more choices and speedier returns on their purchases can only be a good thing for the customer and if it works, Amazon will soon see deliveries being placed every hour of the day ready for that adventure the next day.

Share Amazon Prime With Family Not Friends With New “Feature”

Amazon Prime already gives you one day free delivery, and also gives you access to everything from their movie streaming service, which will soon include a new show by Clarkson, Hammond and May, as well as one hour delivery in Manhatten, Dallas, Balitmore, Miami and now even London. One of the biggest benefits though was that for the yearly cost of £79, you could share the benefits with friends. This has now changed with the introduction to Amazon household.

Introduced on the 1st August 2015, Amazon Household lets you share the benefits of prime with upto six members. These members are limited though, firstly you may have only two adults connected to the Prime registration. The adults may have their own accounts, but the four children that can be connected to the account do not need an account to be registered as part of the “household”.

It should be noted though that in order to share and enjoy the benefits of Prime both adult account holders “need to authorise each other to use payment cards associated with their Amazon accounts for purchases at Amazon”. This means that when creating an account with your partner, they will have full access to your card details, as if they were on your account and also anything regarding those payment options. Furthermore the description goes on to state:

“..each adult will be able to copy the payment cards of the other account to his or her Amazon account and use them for purchases at Amazon.”

This means that when you share your account with your spouse or partner, they will have access to not only use your account but also to copy over your card details. The change in the system means that sharing it with your co-worker may not be the best course of action, and there may even be partnerships or relationships where avoiding this deal may be the best course of action. Sadly any future sharing will use this new system, but if you were sharing a prime account with someone before August 1st you can still use the old system, for now at least.

What do you think about Amazon Household? Is it a step forward or does it just open up problems for users and Amazon alike?

Amazon Prime Now Opens One-Hour Delivery in London

Amazon launched their one-hour Amazon Prime Now delivery last December in Manhatten US and later expanded the experiment to Dallas, Baltimore, and Miami. Now Amazon has reached over the big pond to open up the service outside of the US for the first time and in a timely fashion compared to their usual expansion times that take a lot longer.

Amazon Prime Now is now available to several postcodes in central London. Zone 2 and zone 3 postcodes couldn’t get the speedy delivery yet, but several Zone 1 postcodes can now take advantage of this new delivery method.

Amazon says that Prime Now can deliver thousands of products in London, but you need to order for at least £20 each time and it will cost you £6.99 per order for this speedy delivery method. If you don’t need it that fast, you can get the delivery for free within a two-hour window between 8am and midnight.

The service is of course geared towards products that you’d need last-minute, but you can get anything from inkjet printers to microwave ovens and Apple TV devices. You can pick products from 27 of Amazon’s departments.

Users can also choose to tip the delivery courier if they wish too. You can read a lot more about Amazon Prime Now on the official page, download the mobile app, or check your postcode for availability.

Thank You TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Amazon Drones Granted Patent

Amazon has been granted a patent for its previously announced, potentially still just theoretical, drone delivery system. The online retailer originally announced ‘Amazon Prime Air’, a plan to deliver the less valuable goods such as books, DVD’s and toilet paper; by utilising the drones. Since December 2013, it has been seeking authorisation from the US federal Aviation Authority to start testing the drones in the real world.

With the recent approval in the US, the drones have been limited to testing within the sight of the pilot; it has also tested this in Canada and has a development centre in the UK. This sounds like a work of Science fiction, but Amazon maintains that it aims to “get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less” with this system.

“As part of that wider process Amazon submitted a patent application in September 2014 detailing how the unmanned craft would talk to each other, share weather information and get packages to homes and businesses safely.

The patent has now been published, revealing new details about the system. They include:

  • Amazon drones could bring packages directly to your location, not just an address. “The current location of the user may be based on, for example, a determined location of a portable device (e.g., mobile phone) associated with the user, the location of the network utilised by the user when placing the order, etc.”

  • There will be several types and sizes of drone depending on the package being delivered.

  • The drones will attempt to avoid both humans and animals. “If it is determined that the navigation path and/or failure path intersects with a human and/or other animals, roads, walkways, etc., the navigation path may be altered to avoid the humans, animals, roads, walkways.”

  • The drone would use a range of sensors including cameras and infrared light to work out its path and find landing areas.”

The timing couldn’t be better, the FAA this week said it would grant test of unmanned helicopters to be used to spray crops and also give experimental approval to drones for use in journalism.

How do you feel about drone being granted? I look forward to having some of my small computer parts delivered this way, especially if they can do it in 30 minutes. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Google Recommends Pizza, Will You Order?

Fast Food seems to keep getting quicker, going from one-minute meals in the microwave to weekly delivered healthy meals food and the internet have been constantly going hand in hand. It looks like it may go one step further though and combine ordering your meals with something as simple as a google search.

When searching for nearby restaurants, an option to “place an order” will be available.  After selecting a delivery service, you will get taken to their website to place an order. The scheme is being trailed in the US with six different providers, but they are keen to add more in the future. With everything from MyPizza.com, Delivery.com and Eat24 offering their support for the scheme it is only a matter of time before other companies join in this scheme, and hopefully before a similar scheme is introduced in other countries.

With Google already the go-to place for many for web searches and getting information and images, how long do people think it will be until you can get a google food? Go onto the website, search for a particular type of food in your area and get options from all of their websites offering you their food on a single page?

Thank you Google+ for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Google.

Amazon Wants to Deliver to Inside Your Car

Amazon is at it again, first with the drone delivery and now delivery to the inside of you car. No this isn’t a teleportation scheme where they shoot your parcel into your car; this is a little less sci-fi and a lot more jittery.

First off, you have to be an Amazon Prime customer; ok easy enough. Next you have to own an Audi; well I do like the Audi A4. Lastly, you have to live in Munich; yes Munich.

Let’s delve a little deeper into this. Amazon’s short term goal is for DHL to deliver a parcel to the trunk (boot for UK) of your car; the means of access is by offering a single use keycard to the delivery driver. Audi says there will be no additional insurance problems, as the delivery driver won’t have access to the rest of your car. In the future Amazon are looking to also accept returns from your trunk too.

I like this idea, it means you don’t have to wait at home for the parcel; it would make a brilliant way of delivering a secret gift while the recipient is at home.

I see three problems with this:

  • You have to be super trust-worthy of the driver
  • You can’t use your trunk for that day
  • What if you own a hatchback without a separate trunk space?

Thank you to The Verge for providing this information

AmazonFresh Has Stopped Alcohol Deliveries

AmazonFresh, the e-tailer taking on the big supermarkets with their crazy deals. The scheme is only available in the US right now, but it looks likely to be making its way across the pond to hit the UK very soon.

It started out offering all sorts of groceries and other goods, but reports have come in that beer and wine have been removed from the online service without any warning or an information on whether it will return. It is believed that some US states restrict the delivery of alcohol and some states require delivery services to adhere to strict guidelines have given Amazon the scare; however this is still unknown. Whichever way you look at this, you are going to have to resort to other means of alcohol transportation such as Drizly. Luckily for UK drinkers, Amazon.co.uk still offer tasty beverages on their online store.

Amazon Drone Delivery in US Rural Areas Approved by FAA

Amazon has been given approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct same-day drone deliveries in rural areas. The FAA has granted Amazon Prime Air an experimental airworthiness certificate to conduct drone tests over remote parts of Washington state.

The company must comply with strict regulations, restricting flights to no higher an altitude than 400ft (120m), “during daylight hours”, and only in “visual meteorological conditions” (i.e. no heavy snow or rain). The certificate only grants flight privileges to one approved model of drone; should Amazon modify its drone, or want to use a new model, the FAA would have to grant a new certificate before Amazon was allowed to fly it.

The news is especially positive for Amazon since, after the FAA issued proposed rules for US drone flights back in February, it seemed as though the dream of Prime Air had been killed off before it had even started.

Source: The Guardian

Amazon Experimenting With Fitting 3D Printers in Delivery Vehicles

Amazon is pretty much doing everything it can to get goods to you as quickly as possible. From Amazon Prime next day delivery to their conceptual Prime Air drone service. It’s almost like they’re working towards having no time between clicking the buy button and receiving your goods.

Well now the company has got one step closer to that goal, by filling a patent for a system that would produce the goods in the delivery van while on the way to your house. The application details that Amazon’s delivery trucks,  or “mobile manufacturing hubs,” would contain 3D printers that could physically manufacture the items you ordered. They say that the concept could mean “time delays between receiving an order and shipping the item to the customer may reduce customer satisfaction and affect revenues generated.”

Such a system is purely conceptual at the moment, but could mean delivery of goods in significantly less time than ever before. Perhaps Amazon should try and get the drones in the air first though.

Source: The Verge

Has the FAA Killed Amazon Prime Air?

Prime Air, Amazon’s ambitious 30-minute drone delivery service, may have been downed by the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) new regulation proposals before it even got off the ground. NBC News has reported that these new regulations are designed to control and restrict commercial drone flights:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that operators of commercial unmanned aircraft would need to see the drone with “unaided vision,” in draft rules published on Sunday. It also said that small drones must not fly over people – denting Amazon’s plans for its Prime Air drone delivery service.

The FAA was quick to stress that the regulations are still in the proposal stage and that they are still gathering input from all affected parties.

Despite this, Paul Misener, Vice President of Amazon, sounds hopeful that the company will still be able to fulfil its vision, saying, “The FAA needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers. We are committed to realizing our vision for Prime Air and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need.”

Source: BGR

Successful Delivery Drone Test in France

French express delivery company GeoPost has successfully tested a delivery drone for same-day parcel orders. The drone trial is part of GeoPost’s GeoDrone project, in partnership Atechsys, and took place at its drone delivery testing centre Centre d’Etudes et d’Essais pour Modèles Autonomes.

The drone delivered a parcel with 40 x 30 x 20 cm (16 x 12 x 8 in) dimensions and weighing 4kg weight within a 12 mile radius. The test involved an automated take-off, flight, successful landing and delivery, ending with a return to base.

GeoPost hopes that further refinements to its drone technology will mean being able to access more remote areas, such as mountains, rural areas, and even islands.

Source: Gizmag

Amazon to Drop Off at UK Local Post Offices

Royal Mail and Amazon have joined forces to allow Amazon customers to pick-up parcels from UK Post Offices. This will bring the number of Amazon’s drop-off points to 16,000 in the UK.

The news has lead a number of experts to believe that this is Royal Mail’s way of keeping relevant after it was suggested that Amazon using its own delivery services could damage Royal Mail’s business by 2%. Amazon has increasingly been less reliant on third-party couriers and delivery services, as it has been building its own logistics infrastructure. This keeps Amazon’s costs down while enabling them to deliver more quickly, allowing for services like Amazon Prime and its next-day delivery.

The UK’s Royal Mail was privatised last year amid claims that its business is losing out to online services. A big proportion of Royal Mail’s business, the delivery of letters, has been in decline for a number years due to the rise of paperless communications.

Source: BBC News

You Can Now Order Pizza from an Xbox One

After announcing it in October, Domino’s Pizza yesterday released its Xbox One pizza delivery app.

Now you barely have to stop playing to get your pizza fix – you can even order using Kinect’s gestures or its voice recognition system. The app allows you to customise your pizza, modify delivery and track it being made. You can take advantage of the Xbox One’s Snap feature, so you can get straight back to play in no time at all. As The Telegraph points out, Pizza Hut had an app on the Xbox 360, making some wonder why the change to Domino’s?

Did Pizza Hut get Bill Gates’ order wrong?

The new app is available now from the Xbox Marketplace.

Source: The Telegraph

Amazon Posts Delivery Drone Jobs in the UK

Look out! Amazon’s drones are out to get yo.. deliver things to you!

According to a job posting on Amazon’s website, they are seeking a “Flight Operations Engineer” in Cambridge to help in the testing of their “Prime Air” delivery drones. The job posting requires the candidate to have “flight test experience, manned or unmanned”.

The new posting comes with ads for project managers, software engineers and a “Senior Research Scientist”. This quickly follows last week’s news that Amazon was seeking permission from the FAA to conduct tests in the US. It seems that Amazon’s plans to conquer the skies are moving very rapidly.

Source: The Register

Google Team up with Barnes & Noble to take on Amazon Book Delivery

From today, Google are joining forces with Barnes & Noble to offer a same-day book delivery service in selected areas of the United States.

Manhattan, West Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay will all be able to take full advantage of the Google Shopping Express Service partnership, which compounds on Googles already offered deliveries for stores such as Costco, Walgreens, Staples and Target. There are also plans to expand this new service to Brooklyn and Queens.

Barnes & Noble claim this partnership is an “attempt to link the digital and physical”. Will this move see Google and Barnes & Noble take some market share off the business giant Amazon? Only time will tell.

As much as competition is great, another obvious reason for this deal is a move away from slowly dieing brick-and-mortar stores and into the digital age.

Why not just buy an e-reader? Some people prefer the paper.

Image courtesy of Geekwire

Walking Bio-Bots Powered By Muscles Becoming a Reality

First of all, a ‘bio-bot’ is a machine which uses synthetic 3D-printed material with biological muscle tissue. Having stated the latter, researchers from the University of Illinois have apparently developed the so-called bio-bots in question, taking us one step further into the future of technological advancements.

Some might wonder how the bio-bots work and what is so special about them. The answer lies in the muscle fibers, having them spiked with electricity in order to contract. The muscles are attached to flexible 3D-printed skeleton frameworks, resulting in bending the skeleton when the muscles contract and reverting back to its original state when they relax. This in the end produces movement, combining biological and synthetic material to achieve such an action, thus the name ‘bio-bot’.

It is said that researchers have been working on similar projects since 2012. At that time, a walking bio-bot prototype used rat heart cells in order to provide motion. However, the researchers found out that the rat cells were not responding well to the induced electricity and couldn’t control when they fired. However, it appears that the ‘new version’ has solved this problem.

“Skeletal muscles cells are very attractive because you can pace them using external signals,” head researcher Rashid Bashir said. “We want to have different options that could be used by engineers to design these things.”

The group of researchers from Illinois sees bio-bots potentially useful for surgical aids and drug delivery vehicles. The group also emphasized that, having their own neurons, they could even recognize and respond to light and chemical stimuli. The group has apparently published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which is a good place to get more details about the bio-bots in question.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The University of Illinois and Nature World News

Domino’s Pizza Delivery, Now With Added Physics

Domino’s have been using some simple physics principles to ensure that your pizza doesn’t suffer any damage in transit. Using their Steady Pizza technology, the use a gyroscope mechanism to ensure that the pizza stays level, even when the delivery bike is going up a steep hill, over bumps, or leans around corners.

No one wants to open their pizza box only to find that it’s slipped to one size and become a calzone. It’s a simple trick that they’ve used, but it’s still pretty cool regardless and the technology is already being used for their stores in Brazil, with the intention of rolling it out to global stores in the near future.

The only person who has to suffer now is the driver, who has to have this monstrosity parked on the back of their scooter, not sure how heavy it is, but it doesn’t look like the most practical thing you could put on the back of your bike.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/SQPn924SibM[/youtube]

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

Just a Pizza Delivery… On a Train?

Apparently you can get your pizza delivered everywhere nowadays. From ordering it at home, at work, even in a park might be a possible ordering location. However, a comedian apparently went further than that and ordered it on a train.

Though not an actual joke, comedian Chris Ramsey ordered the pizza half-way through his train journey back home, which inevitable became a Twitter phenomenon. The ordering nearly stopped before it began, as of course it was considered by most to be a joke. However, Domino’s Pizza did deliver its order to the customer even if it meant to bring it on the train. Furthermore, they insisted to add extra pizzas for everyone on the train to enjoy.

It seems that even support from fellow comedians were seen between the flood of Twitter comments. It is however to be expected since a delivery such as this one cannot be seen every day.

Finally, the pizza arrived and everyone was excited. As promised in the tweets, Chris did take a selfie with the delivery guy, which apparently was as excited as Chris was.

It is not a common opportunity to see such excitement in delivering a pizza on a train, but by the looks of it people are extremely excited to be served anywhere and everywhere. Who knows, maybe train companies will even offer pizza delivery as an option in the near future.

Thank you TheLADBible for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of TheLADBible