Pizza Hut has unveiled the limited edition "Pie Tops II" trainers as part of its sponsorship of the "March Madness" basketball tournament. The sneakers are Bluetooth-enabled and allow their wearers to automatically order pizza. Pressing a button integrated in the tongue of the right-hand shoe automatically orders the daily offer of two pizzas via smartphone. Pressing the button in the tongue of the left shoe activates a built-in IR blaster to pause the TV programme to allow the wearer to receive their pizzas without missing anything.
The Austrian startup myAcker lets users rent a plot online to remotely grow a garden. Customers of this online service can choose how big their garden should be and which plants they want to cultivate. The garden is then created according to customer wishes, using only natural seeds. Either online or via an Alexa Skill, virtual gardeners can monitor how their garden is doing, decide when the harvest should take place and how to have the fruits of their labour delivered home carbon-neutrally.
The German town of Langenfeld has partnered with the Cologne-based startup QDEGA to launch the initiative “Stadtschlüssel” that enables cashless parking downtown. After registering with personal details and bank data, users receive a key card about the size of a debit card with a built-in RFID chip as well as a key fob with an NFC Chip and QR code. The card provides access to all public parking facilities and enables people to remotely open the parking barrier. The key fob lets users collect points with every purchase at participating retailers. The points are credited toward parking fees.
The US company STEMtrunk offers an eponymous toy rental service as a subscription. After registering, parents receive monthly deliveries of various high-quality toys that were designed to help children gain more knowledge in the MINT fields. The toys include Lego building bricks, drones, robots and DIY computer kits that allow learning during play. The company’s service is a reaction to the fast-paced toy market and lets parents rent these often very expensive toys at an affordable price instead of having to buy them.
The US company BuzzFeed is testing the waters in brick-and-mortar retail, selling “Tasty Cookware” home goods as a line exclusive to the retail chain Walmart. The collection comprises 90 kitchen accessories and its name is a spinoff of BuzzFeed’s media brand Tasty that produces very successful cooking videos, which are especially popular among Millennials. Accordingly, the products target exactly this group and cost between US$4 and US$100. With the exception of an emoji-shaped cookie-cutter, the kitchen tools are simple and mainstream-friendly.