The airline Easyjet has announced an addition to its English-language app in the shape of the "Speak Now" feature, which allows users to search for flights using voice commands. Instead of manually tapping their details into the app, travellers can now say their destination, travel dates and preferred airports to get matching results. The feature was developed with the software company Travelport and with Google Cloud's natural language understanding tool "Dialogflow". It means that people will no longer have to perform the 12 taps on their smartphones that were previously required.
The Dresden-based start-up Morpheus Space has developed an ion thruster for nano-satellites to control their orbit in space. The mini-thrusters enable the nano-satellites to be burned up in the atmosphere and not to end up as space junk. The thrusters use gallium for fuel. The metal is ionised and accelerated by an electric field. According to Morpheus Space, the nano-satellites can also be combined in a network so that they can replace each other if one of them no longer works.
Nestlé's KitKat brand is hugely popular in Japan and it has just been given a paper packaging there that can be folded into an origami crane. This move is part of the company strategy of selling the chocolate bars in recyclable packaging by 2025. To make the unusual packaging more attractive, consumers can make an origami crane from it, as the bird is a traditional messenger of thoughts and wishes. With about 4 million bars being sold every day in Japan, the company expects to cut down on roughly 380 tons of plastic each year.
The American company Crib Technologies has developed an app called "Eevie" which helps users to live more sustainable lifestyles. People can select 20 good habits in the app and get it to remind them to stick to them. The habits include avoiding plastic straws, packaging and meat, as well as buying local and sustainably produced food. The app is also capable of detecting the current context at the user's location and using AI to remind them of their good intentions while shopping, for example.
The Californian start-up Dlive has positioned itself as a blockchain-based alternative to YouTube. Viewers can earn points in the gaming community and exchange them for cyrptocurrency by watching streams and interacting with streamers. The aim is for them to support each other. The first thing one can see in their profiles is who follows whom. Unlike YouTube, DLive does not charge fees to content creators. However, the creators have to have received a certain amount of points from viewers to become partners of the platform. A special chat allows everyone to suggest new features.