Hearing is one of the five senses which technology has successfully aided. Hearing aids are common and successful technologies. Eyeglasses designed to help people to see well have existed since the Middle Ages. Recently, an artificial tongue has been developed by the University of Glasgow. So far, our sense of smell has been harder to enhance. However, a tech start-up called Cyrano Sciences is commercializing an electronic nose designed not just to assist human noses but also to assist sniffer dogs who are used for security purposes.
A New Zealand wine dealer has partnered with an artificial intelligence company called Spacetime in order to match wine drinkers with wines they would probably love. American companies IBM and McCormick & Company are trying to use artificial intelligence to learn about people’s taste preferences. There are many philosophical questions about how these new technologies might best be used. One concern is that enhanced tasting experiences might addict people to the foods they already like and prevent them from trying new foods that they don’t currently like; oftentimes people learn to like foods that they used to not like through exposure.
Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are developing new policies to require games to disclose loot box odds on Xbox One, PS4 and Switch. Loot boxes are common in games such as Overwatch, Call of Duty, Middle-earth: Shadow of War and NBA 2k18. Originally developed for monetizing free-to-play mobile games, they are virtual tools that can be bought in the digital world. Full implementation of this feature is expected in 2020. Some loot box items are cosmetic with no influence on gaming success; however, others are designed to induce players who spend money to succeed. Example: The 2017 game Star-Wars Battlefront II has been criticized for loot boxes requiring full retail prices while not providing the items as expected. Previous industry efforts to limit loot box problems included ratings and password-protected spending controls. The new loot box odds will be presented in a clear and understandable way according to the Entertainment Software Association.
Here’s a quick summary of what’s happening with these new and exciting games.
- Total Party Kill is a survival battle game based on the classic The Lost Vikings game. It involves leading three heroes safely through dangerous environments. Sacrificing one of the heroes is necessary for at least one hero to survive.
- Learn to Walk is a hilarious stilt walking game featuring a goat on stilts.
- Mighty Quest for Epic Loot has a user guide a knight to plunder by sliding a single finger or thumb.
- Meridian 157 is a mystery problem-solving game in which the user must search for a solution to a power outage.
- Tharsis is a iOS game about a disaster-prone research ship.
- Minit is a throwback game filled with puzzles and combat.
- Serial Cleaner is a 1970s-based crime investigation game.
- Dr. Mario World is a health game involving killing viruses by releasing capsules.
Amazon Music doesn’t have nearly as many music streamers as Spotify or Apple Music; however, in an effort to recruit more student users Amazon has announced a benefit for Prime Student Members that gives them access to Amazon Music Unlimited for just $0.99 a month. Students without Prime Membership can get a six-month free trial. Amazon Music may be in third position, but its 32-million subscriber base, compared to Spotify’s 217 million and Apple Music’s 60 million, is growing faster, driven by low cost Amazon Echo speakers. Now the price break is expected to keep the growth moving against their competitors whose services price out at $4.99 a month.