Latest Internet Services, Gadgets Indulge the Super Lazy
A company called Thistle is like Blue Apron, except the meals arrive already prepared—breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks. You can also sign up for a juice fast through Thistle. Thistle's slogan is "Put your diet on autopilot." However, Thistle operates in San Francisco and Los Angeles only. Already-prepared meals delivered to your door abound in most major U.S. cities. So at least the people delivering the meals are getting some exercise. Or are they? An Estonia-based startup called Starship Technologies, which involves some of the same people who launched Skype, makes a self-driving delivery robot, for food and other products. Think of a picnic cooler with wheels and a computer brain.The robot can travel up to a mile at first, and later up to three miles. They're completely autonomous and monitored by humans, who sit comfortably in a climate-controlled room. Each delivery robot has 9 cameras, ultrasonic sensors, wheels and batteries. They remain locked for the journey, then can be unlocked by the customer using a secure, app-delivered code—the same app they used to order the food. After you've completed your meal, why not relax with some music? In the old days, people use to play instruments rather than playing Spotify playlists over their Sonos speakers. You can still play an instrument. All you have to do is take lessons and practice for a few years. Or do you? Playing the guitar takes years because you have to memorize all those pesky chords. But now, thanks to a new product from Magic Instruments called the MI Guitar, you don't have to. On a conventional guitar, the strings run most of the length of the instrument, where they're strummed or picked at one end while the chords are controlled along by deftly fingering the strings on the long fretted neck. The MI guitar has strings, but only on the bottom. At the top, the strings are replaced with buttons. Each button is a specific chord, which of course can be played with a single finger. The MI Guitar comes with a karaoke like app that simply tells you which button to push for the right chord, along with lyrics. So even if you've never played a guitar before and haven't memorized the words, you can play and sing songs right away. Each song costs 99 cents or you can subscribe to get all the songs they offer for $5.99 per month. You can choose from six different guitar sounds—some are acoustic, others are electric—and two bass guitar sounds. It's really amazing how new technology for the lazy means you can do just about anything easily and all you have to do is press a button. Or do you? A new product called MicroBot Push from Prota pushes buttons, so you don't have to! The company calls it a "wireless robotic finger that can push any buttons just like a human finger." So let's say you buy a different lazy product, such as the Amazon Dash, which lets you order specific, branded products with the push of a button, but decide that you're too lazy to get up off the couch, walk across the room and push the Dash button. With MicroBot Push, you can install the "robotic finger" over the Dash button, and when you want another box of Dixie paper cups (because, let's face it: Who wants to do dishes?) you use the MicroBot Push app to instruct the robotic finger to press the Dash button. Prota sells other technology products for the lazy, including the MicroBot Twist, which turns knobs, and MicroBot Bridge, which controls any appliance that comes with an IrDA remote control. Best of all, MicroBots even comes with a MicroBots companion called Prota S, which automates the remote pushing of buttons and turning of knobs. Thanks to the tech industry's new "on-the-couch economy," there has never been a better time to be alive—and lazy.
Trials of Starship's delivery robot will begin in partnerships with food-delivery giant Just Eat, the German shipping company Hermes, the German retailer Metro Group and UK food delivery startup Pronto in the coming weeks in the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. The company has promised to conduct trials for the service for the United States later on.