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What’s Trending In Retail

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IKEA Place is a mobile app that allow shoppers to plant & view digitally rendered products in their own home.

ALIBABA + INTIME Shopping mall’s AR mirrors allows visitors to try on beauty products. Visitors can virtually test the makeup product and purchase through a vending machine.

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Walmart filed a patent for tech that will detect the emotional state of shoppers as they walk around the store. The technology uses video cameras and store checkout lines that monitor facial expressions and movements to determine varying levels of dissatisfaction. If the system detects an unhappy shopper, it will ping employees in other parts of the store and order them to report to a checkout register, in the hopes of alleviating consumers’ distress. According to a patent filing, the largest brick-and-mortar retailer in the world (likely looking for ways to compete with Amazon)

Consumers are concerned about automation-fueled unemployment. But never underestimate the human ability to feel multiple and contradictory things at the same time! Many of the same consumers worried about job displacement are already hunting out brands that harness automation to make their lives better.

Google Duplex will soon be booking haircuts for users around the globe

Target will begin to test a service that uses Bluetooth-connected household devices to monitor your supply of toilet paper, paper towels and hand soap, and automatically order more when you need it.

The subscription service is called Target Fetch, and Target will launch a campaign May 1 on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to solicit 250 beta testers in the US for the service.

 

 

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Sneakers Designed To Improve Athletic Performance

These shoes developed by Puma and MIT Design Lab, use bacteria to improve athletic performance.

Source: MIT Design Lab, powered by Biorealize
These shoes developed by Puma and MIT Design Lab, use bacteria to improve athletic performance.

 Puma and MIT Design Lab is developing products with a biological makeup. The idea behind this collaboration is that there is a more complete athletic experience when humans wear living, adaptable products.

“Deep Learning Insoles” and “Breathing Shoes.”

 Bacteria is the secret ingredient to the Deep Learning Insoles. Placed inside discreet crevices on the top layer of the insole, bacteria is able to detect compounds present in sweat. The bacteria then responds by changing the conductivity of the insole. The next layer registers these changes. The third and final layer broadcasts the information to the user’s smart device. Users can read all about their fatigue and performance level in real time.

The Breathing Shoe has a biologically active shoe material that is home to microorganisms. The material learns a user’s specific heat patterns and opens up ventilation based on those user-specific heat patterns. Every user winds up with a unique shoe.

Public Libraries Are Rocking This Summer

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Researchers Developed Narcotics Sensing Chip

Image result for Currently, there is a great demand for on-site drug testing," says Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, associate professor of electrical engineering in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

 

Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, associate professor of electrical engineering in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences says currently, there is a great demand for on-site drug testing, and the high-performance chip they designed is able to detect cocaine within minutes. An inexpensive that can be produced using raw materials that cost around 10 cents.

Gan developed the new chip with a team that included first authors Jun Gao, a research associate of Material Sciences at Fudan University in China, and Nan Zhang, a PhD candidate at the University of Buffalo, along with colleagues from the UB Department of Electrical Engineering; the UB Research Institute on Addictions; and the UB Department of Community Health and Health Behavior in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The new chip is an engineered nanostructure that traps light at the edges of gold and silver nanoparticles. When biological or chemical molecules land on the chip’s surface, some of the captured light interacts with the molecules and is “scattered” into light of new energies. This effect occurs in recognizable patterns that act as fingerprints, revealing information about what compounds are present.

Because all chemicals — cocaine, opioids, and active ingredients in marijuana — have their unique light-scattering signatures, researchers can use the technology to quickly identify a wide range of chemicals.

This sensing method is called surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), and it’s not new. But the chip that Gan’s team developed is noteworthy for its high performance and low cost.”SERS holds a lot of promise for rapid detection of drugs and other chemicals, but the materials required to perform the sensing are usually quite expensive,” Zhang says. “The chips used for SERS are typically fabricated using expensive methods, such as lithography, which creates specific patterns on a metal substrate. The chip was created by depositing various thin layers of materials on a glass substrate, which is cost-effective and suitable for industrial-scale production.

 

Workforce Drug Positivity Highest Rate In A Decade

 

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Driven by increases in cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, drug use by the American workforce remains at its highest rate in more than a decade, according to a new analysis released today by Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services.

Cocaine positivity increases overall, jumps sharply in some areas

The positivity rate for cocaine increased for the fifth consecutive year in the general U.S. workforce across every specimen type. In urine testing, the most common drug test specimen type, the positivity rate for cocaine increased seven percent in the general U.S. workforce (0.28% in 2016 versus 0.30% in 2017). Year-over-year increases were also observed in the general U.S. workforce in oral fluid testing (up 16%) and hair testing (19%).

Methamphetamine positivity skyrockets in Midwest and South regions

An analysis of trends in the general U.S. workforce based on the four U.S. Census regions identified large increases of methamphetamine positivity rates. Between 2013 and 2017, methamphetamine positivity increased: 167 percent in the East North Central division of the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin);160 percent in the East South Central division of the South (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee); 150 percent in the Middle Atlantic division of the Northeast (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania); and 140 percent in the South Atlantic division of the South (Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia). The percentage increase in these four divisions ranged between nine percent and 25 percent between 2016 and 2017.

Prescription opiates continue decline in workforce testing data

“The depth of our large-scale analysis supports the possibility that efforts by policymakers, employers, and the medical community to decrease the availability of opioid prescriptions and curtail the opioid crisis is working to reduce their use, at least among the working public.

Based on the analysis of more than 10 million workforce drug test results between January – December 2017.

Nationally, the positivity rate for the combined U.S. workforce held steady

Marijuana positivity is up in states with new legalization statutes

Overall, marijuana positivity continued its five-year upward trajectory in urine testing for both the general U.S. workforce and the federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforce. Marijuana positivity increased four percent in the general U.S. workforce (2.5% in 2016 versus 2.6% in 2017) and nearly eight percent in the safety-sensitive workforce (0.78% versus 0.84%).

Increases in positivity rates for marijuana in the general U.S. workforce were most striking in states that have enacted recreational use statues since 2016. Those states include: Nevada (43%), Massachusetts (14%) and California (11%).

Nationally, the positivity rate for opiates in the general U.S. workforce in urine drug testing declined 17 percent between 2016 and 2017 (0.47% versus 0.39%). More notably, oxycodones (oxycodone and/or oxymorphone) positivity declined 12 percent between 2016 and 2017 (0.69% vs. 0.61%), hydrocodone positivity declined 17 percent (0.81% vs. 0.67%); and hydromorphone positivity declined 22% (0.59% vs. 0.46%). Opiates other than codeine were at their lowest positivity rate in more than a decade.

Marijuana positivity is up in states with new legalization statutes

Overall, marijuana positivity continued its five-year upward trajectory in urine testing for both the general U.S. workforce and the federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforce. Marijuana positivity increased four percent in the general U.S. workforce (2.5% in 2016 versus 2.6% in 2017) and nearly eight percent in the safety-sensitive workforce (0.78% versus 0.84%).

Increases in positivity rates for marijuana in the general U.S. workforce were most striking in states that have enacted recreational use statues since 2016. Those states include: Nevada (43%), Massachusetts (14%) and California (11%).

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Sephora Uses Artificial Intelligence & Augmented​ Reality For Their Cosmetics

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Sephora is the industry-leading chain of cosmetic stores that have used technology to position itself as the number one specialty beauty retailer in the world. While other cosmetic companies rely heavily on department store sales, Sephora offers customers a number of tech options that allow them to personalize their shopping experience by trying on makeup virtually using AR, matching their skin tone to a foundation with AI, and sampling a fragrance via a touchscreen and scented air.

Sephora’s was founded in France by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1970, and acquired by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1997. The company now operates some 2,300 stores in 33 countries worldwide, with more than 430 stores across the Americas.

Sephora Virtual Artist, an AR tool that allows customers to try on thousands of shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, false lashes, and many other makeup products sold at Sephora. It also lets users go through beauty tutorials on their own face digitally to learn how to achieve certain looks. A new feature called Color Match taps AI to help customers find the right color shade for their skin tone via an uploaded photo. Virtual Artist is available in the Sephora app as well as in select stores.

For the past five years, ModiFace and Sephora experimented with AR. ModiFace worked closely with Sephora to ensure every single color of a virtual product matches the product in real life.

Customers in New York City can try out the Innovation Lab’s newest tech venture, Tap and Try. The technology lets you pick any lip or lash product on an endcap display, and immediately try it on using Sephora Virtual Artist combined with RFID scanning.

Several stores across North America offer Sephora’s Fragrance IQ experience with a first-to-market sensory technology called InstaScent. After filling out an online scent profile, InstaScent allows clients to test 18 different scents using a dry air delivery system so they can test them out without actually trying them on.

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U.S. Workforce Older Now & They’re Not Going Leaving Anytime Soon

Workplace diversity certainly applies to race, gender and ethnicity, and also age. That’s important because the 50-and-older segment of the labor force is getting bigger.

The law protecting older workers is clear and has been for a long time. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 — the ADEA — protects applicants and employees who are 40 years old and up. The law states it’s illegal:

In 1993, older workers made up about 11.6 percent of the workforce. That’s going to hit 24.8 percent by 2024. By that time, the government says the workforce will be 164 million people strong. That includes about 41 million people 55 and older; 13 million of them are going to be 65 and older.

This is happening because many baby boomers, Americans born between 1946 and 1964, are healthier. They’re living longer. They are better educated, which increases their likelihood of staying in the labor force.

Official data show that workers 55 and older make up at least a third of these occupations:

— Archivists and museum curators

— Bus drivers

— Clergy

— Jewelers and metal workers

— Lawmakers

— Medical transcriptionists

— Proofreaders

— Property managers

— Real estate brokers

— Tax preparers

— Travel agents

Older workers have a higher rate of self-employment than younger groups, allowing more flexibility.

The golden years are increasingly the “go-to-work years” for millions of older Americans.  — Sometimes by choice, sometimes out of necessity.

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