Tag: Supermarket

Anthropomorphobia

Robots Invade Stores to Steal Our Jobs

There’s a new threat to the world’s unemployed. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a robot that helps to organize shop inventories, making that trip to the store simpler for shoppers, cheaper for bosses, and harder on workers. AndyVision, as our newest retail overlord is called, is programmed to roll through the aisles, checking to see if products are low or out of stock, and if its puny human coworkers have incorrectly shelved an item. Human employees get the bot’s updates on iPads, and are sent scurrying to restock the shelves. Customers short on time can access AndyVision’s map to more quickly locate their canned goods and hunting supplies for the impending robot apocalypse.

With a Kinect sensor, learning algorithms and floor plans, AndyVision is well-equipped to make his takeover of minimum-wage jobs even more effective. The robot currently only works at Carnegie Mellon’s campus store, but customers can expect to see these automated workers in other local stores sometime in 2013. AndyVision might look cute and inoffensive, but remember: In the United States alone, 5 million fewer workers are needed now to produce more goods than they did in 2006, all thanks to automation. Robots are coming to make our cameras, our sushi, and in a sure sign of the singularity end-times, our Starbucks.

Via Smithsonian Magazine.

Fake-nature

Dyeing Salmon Pink for Farms and Profit

Wild salmon gets its robust pink color from a diet rich in red-hued krill. Farmed salmon are fed on fish meal, chicken byproducts, soybeans, wheat and a long list of other monochrome food. The result is a fish that’s the same plain gray as tilapia or cod. To make up for this color deficit, salmon farmers feed their fish doses of the carotenoid pigments canthaxanthin and astaxanthin.With the help of the SalmoFan’s color swatches, the farmers can decide when their product is blush enough for market. Consumers prefer a deeper shade, with 66% choosing color No. 33.

As with “orange” cheddar, these pigments do not affect taste, nor are they particularly “unnatural”. They are the same chemicals found in krill, shrimp, cyanobacteria and, yes, wild salmon. Instead, the coloration persuades (or tricks) customers into thinking that their chain store’s coho is fresher, healthier and wilder than it really is.

Global-Image-Economy

Featured Page #04: The McWorld Map

During the coming weeks, we will present a selection of our favourite pages from the Next Nature book. This week a tool that encourages us to experience local specialties through the lens of a global corporation: The McWorld Map.

Fast-food chain McDonald’s is often seen as an exemplary example of the globalization processes that flatten the world and make things look, feel and taste the same everywhere. Why travel when cities have the same food, coffee and fashion chains? Increasingly, however, McDonald’s offers local specialties. Have a Shrimp Burger in Greece, Teriyaki McBurger in Japan, McKroket in the Netherlands or a Nürnburger in Germany. The dishes show traces of traditional regional cuisines, allowing McBackpackers to get a taste of the world while keeping a safe level of comfort and recognition. Unfortunately, without a franchise, some places (most of Africa, Mongolia, Cuba and North Korea) won’t be able to cater to fast food epicures.

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Featured here are pages 314-315 from the book Next Nature: Nature Changes Along with Us. More information about the book can be found here.

Biocustomization

Pineberry™

More hypernatural designer-fruit. What do you get when you cross a strawberry and a pineapple? A pineberry, of course.

Some seven years ago the pineberry was taken from its native South America and grown commercially in glasshouses by Dutch company VitalBerry BV. Today pineberries are available in supermarkets throughout Europe and, like most designer-fruits, the pineberry is trademarked and has its own wikipedia page.

Hypermaterials

Spray On Liquid Glass

Now here is a product that should soon find its way into the NANO Supermarket soon. At least, if supermarkets are willing to put it on their shelves, as they currently make huge profits from cleaning products and spray-on liquid glass would make virtually all of them obsolete.

According to its creators “Spray-on liquid glass is transparent, non-toxic, and used to protect virtually any surface against almost any damage from hazards such as water, UV radiation, dirt, heat, and bacterial infections. The coating is also flexible and breathable, which makes it suitable for use on an enormous array of products.”

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Economology

Growing Fruit into Its Own “Juice Box”

Brazilian ad agency AGE Isobar spent two years experimenting in order to grow fruits into the shape of Camp’s juice boxes. Immature limes, guavas and passionfruit were packed inside of plastic molds. As they grew, they took on the form of a box and the logo of the brand.

The stunt ostensibly goes to show that Camp’s fruit juice is all-natural. Though it’s only a marketing gimmick, we can still hope for the days that food produces its own packaging – or be content knowing that bananas already do.

Story and images via Design Taxi.

Design-for-debate

A Winery in your Microwave

A delicious Montepulciano in only 6 seconds? This is now possible with the universal Nano wine. All you need is a microwave oven.

In 5,64 seconds at 1000 watt you have a sublime Romanée-Conti. Or create a surprisingly young Mouton-Rothschild 1945 in only 2,34 seconds at 650 watt. The possibilities are endless. The wine contains millions of nano capsules which depending on your mood and taste preferences can be activated by microwaves. Inactivated nano capsules move unnoticed through the body, while the opened capsules alter the taste, smell and color of the wine. Sweet!

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Food Technology

Glass Gem Corn Looks Like Jewelry

Most corn has been selectively bred over the centuries to be a single color: yellow, white or blue. Glass gem corn, a varietal grown by Greg Schoen, harkens back to the days when each kernel of corn was a different color. This variation is due to the fact that, rather than being identical, all the kernels are genetically distinct siblings.

The glass gem echoes the jewel caterpillar, another organism than by dint of its otherworldly beauty recently went from natural phenomena to internet phenomena. Even though we live in a time where computer graphics make every chimeric beast and landscape visible, we’re still just as – or even more –interested in natural freaks as our ancestors who once flocked to fairs and sideshows.

Food Technology

Corn 2.0: Survival of the Cheapest

Congrats to Sean Serafini, the winner of our April Next Nature Spotter contest. While we received many images of fake nature, Sean’s entry delves deeper into more diverse next natural concepts. As Sean pointed out in his title, these foods are engaging in something like natural selection, competing against one another for the consumer’s attention. Thanks to packaging, marketing, and all-natural flavors, food technology has differentiated one crop  – corn – into a cornucopia of different foods.

Sean, please contact us with your mailing info we can send you a copy of the Next Nature book.

Want to win your own copy of our book? The new Next Nature Spotter contest runs until July 31. Simply download our free iPhone app and start snapping. Don’t worry if you don’t have an iPhone – send your photos to submit@nextnature.net with “Next Nature Spotter” in the subject line.

Bring your phone or camera to the mall, to school, to your cubicle or your beach vacation. Let us know what you see. Entries will be judged on visual appeal and applicability to next nature concepts such as hypernature, manufactured animals, and anthropomorphobia. For more examples, check out our theme pages and FAQs.