18 February 2022
Author: The Future Laboratory
Image: RF Studio
Los Angeles – For just £41 ($56, €49) a night, two lucky fans will be able to stay in actress Issa Rae’s California home for the weekend. Partnering with home rental platform Airbnb, the actress is treating her guests to a curated itinerary that has been designed to uplift Black businesses and communities in the area.
With South Los Angeles playing an integral role in Issa Rae’s Emmy-nominated television programme, Insecure, fans will be able to experience the local neighbourhood, which features as a backdrop to the show. Organised to coincide with the Super Bowl weekend, guests will also be given a guide that includes Rae’s favourite bookshop, clothing store, cafés, and more. Inside the home, artworks by local Black artists are also on display.
As part of the initiative, £368,268 ($500,000, €438,723) will be donated to South Los Angeles-based charities that serve under-represented communities in the area. Boosting local businesses and empowering Black travellers, this temporary campaign shows how Traveltainment can align itself with Black History Travel.
Tapei – Residents of Taipei can now ride the local subway using a magic wand instead of using paper or debit payments cards. The Moon Stick IC Card is a replica of a prop from Sailor Moon, a popular anime programme from the 1990s.
Released by contactless payment provider EasyCard Corp, the wand is 18cm long and lights up when used. Despite being composed of gleaming pink and gold plastic, the item is completely functional and can also be used for transactions outside of public transportation.
This isn't the first time EasyCard Corp has dabbled in quirky designs. The company has previously incorporated payment technology into Instant Ramen keychains and Taiwan Beer bottle replicas to dissuade DUIs.
At a time when companies like Fendi are experimenting with financial accessories, luxury and fashion brands are well positioned to offer creative items that add a sense of fun to payments.
US – Sounding the alarm on the pervasive problem of hair discrimination, personal care brand Dove’s As Early As Five campaign illustrates how harmful race-based perceptions of hair can affect members of the Black community.
The campaign follows research conducted by Dove revealing the extent of hair discrimination in schools. Now, the beauty company is mobilising to make such discrimination illegal via the CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. Dove reports that, of Black mothers whose daughters have experienced hair discrimination, 53% say their daughters first experienced the abuse as early as five years old. Dove is urging its audience to sign the CROWN Act petition through a campaign that is based on real stories and events of hair discrimination. In the video campaign, three scenarios of race-based hair discrimination are shared, from school to the workplace.
Demonstrating how companies can use their advertising to accelerate political action – and empowering their consumers to embrace their natural hair – Dove is aligning itself with the Reclaiming Braids movement.
Switzerland – Tackling the issue of animal waste in the meat industry, designer Souhaïb Ghanmi is repurposing surplus bones into home and electronics goods. The Elos Range is a series of electric switches and sockets made from bone debris from the slaughtering process.
In the past, bone waste from the butchering process was used to create tools and implements like knife handles. Over time, though, the material was replaced by plastic. With 130 billion kilograms of bone waste produced by slaughterhouses every year, however, the problem of animal waste persists today.
Instead of discarding bone by-products, Ghanmi is advocating for their use in domestic spaces. He has created the Elos range by grounding bone waste from the meat industry into a powder and then repurposing the material to create electric appliances. In homage of the material’s origins, the sockets have been fashioned to resemble joints from the human skeleton.
Contributing to Whole-System Thinking movement, the project demonstrates how even the most unexpected resources can be used to create more sustainable future materials.
California – As we transition into the metaverse, companies are extending safety and anti-harassment policies into the virtual realm. Striving to eliminate the problem of virtual groping, Meta is debuting a feature that will protect avatars’ personal space in the metaverse.
The policy will include a four-foot boundary that prevents avatars from entering each other’s personal space. Taking the shape of an invisible cylinder, avatars will be given a personal two-foot radius, preventing others from touching or harassing them. If anyone tries to breach the space, they will simply be bounced off, without any haptic feedback. The policy ‘prevents avatars from coming within a set distance of each other, creating more personal space for people and making it easier to avoid unwanted interactions,’ explains Vivek Sharma, vice president of Horizon.
As the boundary between our online and offline selves becomes more porous, policies that help protect digital safety are needed. Furthermore, as haptic wearables become more sophisticated, the need for legislation that empowers and protects netizens – in line with the Affirmative Avatar market – is more urgent than ever.
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