AR wall art shopping 🖼️ Prescription video game 🎮 Retail sales surge 🛍️!

Technology News

Etsy adds an AR shopping feature on iOS designed for use with wall art

Etsy is hopping on the AR bandwagon with the launch of an updated iOS app that uses augmented reality features to help consumers shopping for wall art. Etsy shoppers can now select any item categorized as Paintings, Photography or Prints then tap the new augmented reality icon in the top right corner of the item image to see it appear in your own space. Unlike a typical e-commerce site, Etsy’s AR implementation is more difficult because it doesn’t work from a catalog of standard sizes and imagery. Instead, Etsy’s independent sellers add their own titles, tags and photos, creating a massive amount of unstructured data.

Amazon deploys AI ‘distance assistants’ to notify warehouse workers if they get too close

The company’s “Distance Assistant” combines a TV screen, depth sensors, and AI-enabled camera to track employees’ movements and give them feedback in real time. When workers come closer than six feet to one another, circles around their feet flash red on the TV, indicating to employees that they should move to a safe distance apart. The devices are self-contained, meaning they can be deployed quickly where needed and moved about. Amazon also says it will be open-sourcing the technology, allowing other companies to quickly replicate and deploy these devices in a range of locations.

Science News

The FDA just approved the first prescription video game — it’s for kids with ADHD

Akili Interactive’s EndeavorRX, formerly Project EVO, may go down in history: it’s the first video game that can legally be marketed and prescribed as medicine in the US. The landmark decision from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – which is authorizing doctors to prescribe the iPhone and iPad game for kids between ages eight and 12 years old with ADHD – underwent seven years of clinical trials that studied over 600 children. One-third of kids treated “no longer had a measurable attention deficit on at least one measure of objective attention” after playing the game for 25 minutes a day, five days a week for four weeks.

Brain Research Sheds Light on the Molecular Mechanisms of Depression

A new study shows that the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety are connected to changes in the brain’s opioid system already in healthy individuals. They found that the more depressive and anxious symptoms the subjects had, the less opioid receptors there were in their brain. These results show that the mood changes indicating depression can be detected in the brain already early on. Both the brain’s own opioids and synthetic opiate-based drugs regulate mood. Based on the results, drugs that have an effect on the opioid system can help in the treatment of depression.

Business News

U.S. May retail sales surge 17.7% in the biggest monthly jump ever

Retail sales shattered already-lofty expectations for May as consumers freed from the coronavirus-induced lockdowns began shopping again. The 17.7% headline gain including food sales easily topped the record 6.7% from October 2001 — a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and beat the 8% estimate from economists. Retail sales alone powered 16.8% higher from a month earlier, more than double the estimate of 8% from Dow Jones and reversing a 16.4% plunge from the previous month. Clothing and accessories stores reported the biggest percentage gain at 188% while sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments and book stores rose 88.2%.

Hilton to cut 2,100 corporate jobs globally

Hotel chain Hilton said it would cut about 22% of its corporate workforce, or 2,100 jobs, following the coronavirus outbreak that has ravaged the global travel industry. Hilton’s announcement comes as the hotel industry has been among the worst hit by the pandemic, with travelers forced to cancel bookings and stay at home due to government enforced lockdowns. Rivals Marriott International and Hyatt Hotels have also laid off or furloughed thousands of employees as bookings plunged. “Never in Hilton’s 101-year history has our industry faced a global crisis that brings travel to a virtual standstill.”

Miscellaneous News

Welcome to ‘Exploding Whale Memorial Park’ on the Oregon coast!

The new park is named after the state’s decision to blow up a 45-foot, 8-ton whale that washed ashore near Florence in November of 1970. Nearly 50 years later, the town asked for name suggestions for its new park along Rhododendron Drive. They asked the public for name suggestions and held a public vote, and the people have spoken. The city planned to unveil the name at its annual Rhody Days celebration – with this year’s theme of Blast from the Past – but the coronavirus closures “blew those plans out of the water.”

UK government announces U-turn on free meals after Manchester United star’s campaign

The UK government has reversed its decision to not extend free school meal vouchers throughout the summer holidays following a campaign by Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford. The new scheme works out as £15 ($19) per week for each recipient and a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it will cost around £120 million ($152 million). “Of the 1.3 million children registered for free school meals, a quarter of them have not received any help to date during the lockdown — a forgotten generation.”

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