We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Pokémon Go’s Legacy, Salad-Making Robots, and Electric Airplanes—The Download, April 5, 2017

The most fascinating and important news in technology and innovation delivered straight to your inbox, every day.

Three Things You Need to Know Today

Product-Picking Robots With Their Heads in the Cloud
Hive-minded armies of robots could take over warehouse picking. For humans, grasping a bottle of detergent or a bag of bananas is simple—but ask a robot to take over and it will struggle. That’s because the objects are often unfamiliar, irregularly sized, and delicate, demanding a gentle touch, versatility, and accumulated knowledge. Now, our own Will Knight explains how a startup called RightHand Robotics is combining new gripper designs, advanced computer vision, and cloud robotics to make the task achievable.

Get The Download! Sign up here to have it delivered free to your inbox.

Can Electric Airplanes Finally Take Off?
Fasten your seat belts, ensure tables are stowed—and check the motors for charge. Zunum Aero today announced plans to build a fleet of electric airplanes that will ferry 10-50 people at a time between underused airports in the U.S. by the early 2020s. It joins Wright Electric, which last month described plans to build aircraft capable of carrying 150 people on journeys between London and Paris within 10 years. Both are gambling on improving battery technology to make their business proposals fly, but the idea certainly isn’t as farfetched as it once seemed.

What Became of Pokémon Go
Last summer, catching ‘em all caught on. While the augmented reality game is undeniably past its peak, it still boasts 65 million monthly active users, and since its arrival researchers have suggested that it helps improve both physical and mental wellbeing. So, as the Financial Times points out (paywall), its most enduring legacy may be the demonstration that, when done well, gamification really works. On a less positive note for its developers, it’s also raising interesting legal conundrums, not least of which is: can a company be guilty of virtual trespassing?

Ten Fascinating Things

Crippling tolls, massive fines for emissions cheats, and outright bans all look set to help Europe achieve its aim of killing off the diesel car.

What does a stem cell look like? Thanks to CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing and machine learning, now you can see for yourself.

Corporate hackathons offer cash prizes to coders who spit out software during high-octane programming sessions—and some participants make a living that way.

Like the idea of using your printer for more than just killing trees? It’s now possible to use an inkjet device to make flexible resistive memory.

Swap out hydrogen for deuterium in drug molecules and it’s possible to tweak the rate at which they’re metabolized. Now, the first such drug is approved by the FDA.

How do you fool an AI video analyzer into misidentifying the contents of a clip? Subliminal images of pasta.

In a bid to make the most of India’s new cashless economy, WhatsApp plans to branch out into mobile payments in the country.

To help save the planet, should we eschew a climate change narrative in favor of one centered on social and economic benefits of low-carbon living?

A new chemical process can break down the fibers in poly-cotton, allowing your crusty old T-shirt to be recycled into new fabrics.

Sally the robot will make you the salad of your dreams—if your dreams are precise and calorie-counted. Just don’t ask for avocado.

Quote of the Day

"VR is a mutual technology that can be applied and molded into anything we want. If we have any hope to heal as a country, we need a bar that’s not defined by geography.”

—Entrepreneur Cody Brown has grand visions for his virtual reality firm, IRL.

Discover what renowned experts have to say about emerging technologies at EmTech MIT.

Learn more and register
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.