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Brick and Mortar Shopping The Amazon Way With ‘Amazon Go’

Intriguing news, Amazon, the archenemy of retail stores, introduces a bold idea that portends to revitalize brick and mortar shopping.

Even as online shopping increases in market share, sometimes you just have to go to the store.  The Amazon Go experience is designed to get you in and out quickly and hassle-free.

You enter the small (1,800 sq. ft.), yet well-stocked and invitingly organized grocery market. Instead of the usual line of tired cashiers across the front, you see gleaming turnstiles. You scan your Amazon Go app as you pass through a turnstile. You grab a shopping bag, quickly locate the bread and milk, and instead of rock-hard, frozen TV dinners, you select freshly prepared ready-to-go meals.

Then comes the best part—you head straight out the door to your car. While you are shopping, Amazon Go’s “Just Walk Out” technology keeps track of items added to or removed from your bag. As you leave the store, Amazon charges your account for the things you take and sends you a receipt.

According to Business Insider, Amazon plans to build 2,000 of these grocery stores across the US over the next ten years starting with the first store in Seattle.

The stores will be stocked with staples like bread and milk but will also include artisan cheeses and other delicacies. Hungry shoppers will also be able to select from chef-prepared, ready to eat meals and “chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits” that include fresh ingredients you finish preparing at home.

On the surface, Amazon Go may appear to be trendy, convenient shopping for the urban niche market. However, the bold impact comes when the Just Walk Out technology is made available to other, larger retailers.

Amazon’s No-Line Retail Shopping Experience has the potential to re-ignite customer interest in brick and mortar stores and change the way we shop for years to come.

Ferroelectret Nanogenerator: The Energy from Your Fingertips

Engineering researchers at Michigan State University have developed a new way to capture and use energy generated by human motion.  A paper-thin device called a ferroelectret nanogenerator (FENG) produces electric energy when compressed or folded and promises to have a bold impact on portable electronics.

We’ll have the ability to charge our headset or cell phone with human motion meaning no more frantic searches for the power cord or a place to recharge. In some devices, the nanogenerator many even replace the battery. Technology in the form of electronic gadgetry would become more practical in remote areas.

“We’re on the path toward wearable devices powered by human motion,” said Nelson Sepulveda, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and lead investigator of the project.

So far, the team has successfully powered by touch a bank of LED lights, an LCD touch screen, and a flexible keyboard. Sepulveda and his team are currently developing technology that could be placed in the heel of a shoe. The power generated when walking could be transmitted to a wireless device such as a headset or watch.

Additional advantages of the FENG technology include affordability, biocompatibility (it is composed of non-toxic materials), and adaptability. The paper-thin material is both flexible and foldable. Each time you fold it, the voltage created increases exponentially.

The bold idea—a flexible device that captures energy from human motion—opens up the possibility of clothing that captures our body movements to power our electronic gear.