Another month has come and gone, and it’s kind of crazy to think about all the ridiculous things that have happened. The Olympics in Rio came and went (and were largely quite a shit show), Finland approved a universal basic income trial, Space X landed yet another rocket and the State Department found more Hillary Clinton emails. To say it was a wacky month is a pretty massive understatement.
But things weren’t just going crazy in our news feeds. The tech developments in the past month were truly groundbreaking. From self-destructing batteries to pizza delivery drones and 3D food printers, I feel like we got a little bit of everything for everyone.
But what’s even more berserk is that, try as I might to bring you guys the latest and greatest in tech gear and developments, I’m almost certain that I missed at least something this month—there really were too many big releases, major advancements and shocking discoveries.
Anyway, I did my best, you fiends! Here are this month’s top 10 most awesome new tech and gadgets:
Lenovo Releases the Thinkpad X1 Yoga and Blows Our Collective Mind
In the absence of any new Macbook developments as of late, Apple has gotten absolutely thrashed in the portable computer market. And the release of Lenovo’s new Thinkpad X1 Yoga, complete with an almost unheard of OLED screen (famous for its incredible tonality and color range), certainly doesn’t help.
The Thinkpad—like every other Thinkpad ever—is ugly on the outside. Its shell is simple, unassuming and black. But once you boot it up and look into the screen, a whole new world reveals itself. At over $1,600, it’s a little on the spendy side, but if you’re looking for the best viewing experience possible on a laptop, the X1 Yoga is your huckleberry.
Parrot Unveiled a Drone That Looks Like an X-Wing Fighter and I Absolutely Must Have It
Ugh… The recreational drone landscape really is something to admire. We’ve all sat back and watched it explode over the last couple of years, almost to the point of wondering where it could possibly go next. Well, just recently the folks from Parrot answered that question for us.
The Parrot Swing is a quad copter that lifts off vertically, but also features fixed wings, which makes flying it a hell of a lot cooler than anything we’re used to. In fact, it’s the first of its kind. Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux announced the release at a press conference in Paris a few days ago, and I’ve been dreaming of owning one ever since.
Some Creeps Made in Utero 3D Prints of Your Baby’s Face, so That You Can Touch It Before It’s Born
One of the most batshit crazy things I’ve heard of in a while came this past month from a team of polish doctors who’ve created a way to use 3D printers to scan ultrasounds and create 3D models of fetuses.
The original intent of the process is to give visually impaired mothers the chance to see their babies before birth. In that instance, it’s kind of endearing. But in the, “I wanna touch my baby’s face while it’s still up in them guts” kind of way, it’s nothing but terrifying and gross. Christ, what will they think of next?
Google Made Exploring Our National Parks Possible for Everyone
As I’m sure you all know, this past month marked the Centennial of the National Park Service. To celebrate, the National Park Service teamed up with Google Arts and Culture in order to create incredible 360-degree virtual tours of some of the most beautiful and least traveled locales in the entire National Parks network—which is great news for those of us who have jobs, Goddamn it.
Visitors to the digital exhibit—which is free—may explore Bryce Canyon (Utah), Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico), the Hawaii Volcanoes (Hawaii), the Kenai Fjords (Alaska) and Dry Tortuga (Florida). Incredible interactive 360-degree panoramas, beautifully-produced supplementary video footage and an actual Park Ranger tour guide make these exhibits some of the more impressive digital displays I’ve ever seen, and really demonstrate the capabilities of well-produced, 360-degree content.
LG Revealed a Prototype for an OLED Screen That Can Roll up Like a Newspaper Because Why the Fuck Not?
I cannot for the life of me fathom why anyone would ever want to literally roll their TV screen up like a yoga mat and walk around with it. Like, maybe for ease of transportation? Either way, the folks at LG revealed this month their prototype for a beautiful OLED display TV screen that can be bent, folded and even wrapped up into a cylinder—all without breaking or losing resolution.
It isn’t the first of its kind, as we recently saw the release of screens that can bend slightly, but nothing offers the same flexibility as this new LG release. We have no idea what kind of everyday application to expect—I’m personally hoping for a hollowed-out globular room that plays nothing but re-runs of Daria—but I’m sure it’ll be game-changing.
People at Iowa State Developed a Self-Destructing Battery, Probably for Spy Stuff
A team of mechanical engineers at Iowa State University (in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy) went full James Bond last month and announced their development of a battery that can completely dissolve in water within 30 minutes.
In theory, these batteries could be used in medical patients to help save the pain and hassle of having to remove a temporary medical device. Cool. But erring on the side of caution (as I tend to do), I’m going to go ahead and say we’re developing them for some secret crazy spy shit. And that’s dope.
Domino’s Announced Plans to Launch a Pilot Pizza Drone Delivery Program
OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD! IT’S FINALLY HERE! IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING! Like most of mankind’s greatest inventions (I’m looking at you, disposable syringes, jogging and the eggbeater!), New Zealand last month approved Domino’s proposal to test pizza delivery drones. PIZZA. DELIVERY. DRONES.
The exact location and trial period wasn’t revealed, but Don Meij, Domino Group’s chief executive and managing director, said it’s something they’ve been planning for a while. The delivery service will only be available to customers in close proximity of certain restaurants, but the dimensions, delivery distance and scope of the project is subject to change based on customer feedback.
The trial comes in partnership with Flirtey, a revolutionary Aussie-based drone delivery startup known more popularly for their use in delivering medicine to people in need. But, I mean, pizza is a medicine, right? And we all definitely need our medicine, right?
This Random Company Beat Uber, Google, Lyft and Eveyone Else by Debuting a Fleet of Self-Driving Taxis—in Singapore
Unless you’re a major tech nerd—and even if you are—you’ve probably never heard of the U.S.-based, MIT spin-off tech startup company nuTonomy. But the tech startup, which specializes in self-driving autonomous vehicles, pretty much made a low-key laughing stock of all the major heavy hitters this month by releasing the first ever fleet of self-driving taxis in Singapore.
The pilot program is only running within a 2.5-square-mile radius in a particular residential district, and the service is available by invite only. Despite the clear cautionary restrictions, the company says that, pending the results of this small trial, it plans on expanding the service to thousands more people within the next few months. Suck it, Elon Musk!
A Team of Researchers Invented a 3D Food Printer—and Yes, It Does Breakfast
What if I told you that there was a printer out there in this massive clusterfuck of a planet that would allow you to order your favorite breakfast and then print it like a TPS report? Because that’s (kind of) exactly what I’m telling you. A team of researchers at Columbia University (keep giving us our tuition’s worth, fellas!) has developed a food printer that can 3D print (and cook) multiple ingredient foods at one time.
The team experimented with ingredients like eggs, flour, cheese, cookie dough and jam, and experienced varying levels of success. But before you freak out and throw your microwave on Craigslist, understand that this isn’t the first time someone has tried to 3D print food (Hershey’s CocoJet and the Magic Candy Factory’s 3D gummy printer). It has been done before, but this is the first successful instance of multiple ingredients being combined and printed at once.
There’s still a lot of R&D to conduct here, but I’m hoping to be able to 3D print a fried peanut butter and fluff sandwich directly into my mouth by Christmas. Is it plausible? Probably not, but damn it, a guy can dream!
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Officially Hit the Shelves
With Apple announcing its plans to reveal the iPhone 7 in September, it seems only fitting that Samsung released the latest iteration of its heavy-hitting iPhone competitor, the Galaxy Note 7, a few weeks before.
The second you look at the Note 7—Samsung decided to skip a “6” entirely—it becomes immediately apparent that it was built from the ground up to be the non-iPhone answer to the iPhone. The physical design is remarkably similar to that of the iPhone, but the guts of this phone are damn near indistinguishable from the also-lauded Samsung S7 and S7 Edge.
Dual-curved Gorilla Glass 5 screens, 64GB of internal storage, microSD compatibility, a 12-megapixel f/1.7 camera, 4GB of RAM, its patented quick charging system and a 5.7-inch display make the Note 7 a major contender this year, and I’m definitely interested to see how the team at Apple plans on answering this.
In case you missed it, new Beats products are reported to be dropping at Apple’s iPhone 7 launch.
- Words: Maxwell Barna
- Lead image: The Verge