Electrolux and BearBox Ltd. are jointly developing a wireless system for home delivery of goods that they say solves the problem of how to securely deliver goods when no one is home. When an order is placed by phone, fax, or the Internet, the system generates a one-time code at BearBox's central dispatch center. The code is transmitted via a wireless system to a box outside the home of the person ordering, as well as to the merchant taking the order and the company making the delivery. Designed by Conran & Partners of the U.K., the box is called an Unattended Delivery Unit and is being manufactured by Swedish white goods manufacturer Electrolux. When delivery is made, the code is punched in, the box opens, and goods can be delivered. The box then locks automatically and the code is reset. Consumers can be notified by e-mail or small text message sent to a mobile phone. The system also keeps a record of who opens the box and when. A prototype is in production and BearBox, based in the U.K., is signing up merchants to use the system. A variety of food retailers, including Tesco in the U.K., have already agreed to use it. BearBox and Electrolux expect to begin consumer testing with 200 boxes in southwest London shortly. A commercial rollout with 5,000 boxes is scheduled for next year in London. Although it can be used for regular mail order packages, the system is intended more for items which cannot be delivered through postal services, or which consumers want more quickly, such as groceries. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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