Li Kaixiang, a software development engineer for Chinese e-commerce website JD.com, has been inundated with projects, but didn’t want to leave his girlfriend hanging. So, he decided to create an AI-powered chatbot to answer and send messages automatically. The screenshot you see above is one sample conversation that the chatbot had recently, and while not perfectly human-like, it gets the job done. Read more for the original message that was posted to Weibo in Chinese.
Petz, a Brazilian pet shop chain, has decided to use facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence to let dogs to buy their favorite products by simply analyzing their facial expressions. How does it work? Simply turn on your internet connected camera, put the dog’s face in frame and then allow the AI system to analyze its facial expressions as you scroll through the various products listed on the site. Once it detects excitement, it automatically adds the product to your shopping cart. Read more for a video and additional information.
Frontier Communications is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first ever flip-phone, so the Utah-based ISP decided to offer $1,000 to someone willing to ditch their modern smartphone for a week. There are a few requirements for the winner, and they include recording how long it takes them to do simple tasks such as texting, sending emails, how much sleep they get, and whether their productivity increases during the experiment. Read more for another video and additional information on how to enter.
The bee population has been in decline for quite some time, and according to research, honeybees perform 80% of pollination and 70% of the top human food crops—which supply about 90% of the planet’s nutrition—are pollinated by bees. McDonald’s boasts close to 38,000 locations in over 100 countries, and most certainly has an impact on global food supply and an interest in making sure that bees can keep doing their work for this reason. Sweden’s McDonalds franchisees are experimenting with beehives on top of some restaurants in the country. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Before 1973, mobile telephony was limited to phones that were equipped in cars and other vehicles. Motorola was the very first company to develop a handheld mobile phone. On April 3, 1973, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper made the first mobile telephone call from handheld subscriber equipment, placing a call to Dr. Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs, his rival. Thie prototype handheld phone he used weighed 2.4 lb and measured 9.1 by 5.1 by 1.8 in. It boasted a talk time of just 30 minutes and took 10 hours to re-charge. Read more for another video explaining why it was an epic troll, along with a bonus clip.
Mechanic John Bitmead wanted to relive some of his childhood, but wanted more than just the toys he grew up with, like the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. So, he decided to convert a Daewoo Matiz into a life-sized replica of the ride-on toy, powered by an 800cc engine capable of reaching speeds of up to 60mph in 17 seconds and top out at 70mph. It took approximately 5-months and $7,000 to complete, since every every detail had to be recreated perfectly, from the yellow roof to glassless windows to the oversized drink holders. Read more for another video and additional information.
Potato fans rejoice! Now you can actually stay in one, or at least the Big Idaho Potato Hotel, which has been listed on Airbnb. The 6-ton structure isn’t actually made from potatoes, but rather steel, plaster, and concrete, located in a large field with views of the Owyhee Mountains in South Boise, Idaho. Measuring 28 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 11.5 feet tall, the potato sleeps two adults comfortable, boasting one queen bed, a small bathroom, kitchenette, fireplace, and air-conditioning. Read more for a video tour, additional pictures and a link to the listing.
Animal conservation advocate Mike Holston recently posted a video on Instagram of a chimpanzee who seems to be very familiar with how the social media service works, and is very focused on scrolling through his caretaker’s feed. Sure, it may have taken the primate quite some time to learn how to use a smartphone, but as you can see, it has no problem clicking “like” or going through several different photos / videos. Read more for the video and additional information.
Photo credit: Virunga National Park
Two gorillas in Congo were ready to strike a pose for a selfie with a ranger from The Elite AntiPoaching Units and Combat Trackers at Virunga National Park. The female gorillas, named Ndakazi and Ndeze, have resided at an enclosed sanctuary for orphans since they were infants. “Those gorilla gals are always acting cheeky so this was the perfect shot of their true personalities!” said the park. Read more for additional pictures and information.
YouTuber Laplanet Arts like pasta and computers, so what better way to combine the two than by building a functional PC? Meet “LASAGNA PC V.1”. The computer portion is based around an ASUS Transformer tablet, which means he only need to make a computer case out of pasta, as the other hardware components – motherboard, batteries, buttons and ports – were ready to go. Other tools used include: hot glue, electric tape, and paint for added authenticity. Read more for the build video and additional information.