Street musicians are being issued with contactless payment devices in London ©iZettle
Street musicians are being issued with contactless payment devices in London ©iZettle

From busker digi-donations to pipe homes… a world of innovation

13 July 2018

Where supply chains make a difference

The rise of contactless payments means many of us carry less cash than ever before, which is hurting street performers. So a new initiative is introducing contactless payments for buskers. Musicians will be provided with card machines by start-up iZettle, allowing them to accept cashless payments. London’s mayor Sadiq Khan backs the scheme. 

Cursed with champagne taste but a lemonade budget? Try ‘fake’ wine. Colorado-based wine company Replica Wines produces copies of some of America’s favourite wines, and sells them much cheaper. Combining traditional winemaking techniques with science (the replicas are created in a lab using chemical breakdowns of the wines the firm is trying to emulate) allows them to get a 95% match on taste, the company claims.

South Africa
Chemical engineer Collins Saguru has developed an eco-friendly process to recover precious metals from car emission control devices. Platinum, palladium and rhodium are used in catalytic converters, but can also be used in electronics, fuel cells and jewellery.

In Germany, almost 2m tonnes of milk are wasted a year. To tackle this, start-up QMilk is turning excess milk into natural fibre fabric. The process uses 2l of water per kg of fibre, less than other fabrics require. The fibres, which are biodegradable, are used in textiles, toilet paper and medical suppliers.

Smart socks make it possible to attend a physio appointment from home, via Skype. The internet-connected SoPhy socks have sensors that send data on lower limb movement via an app. Designed by PhD student Deepti Aggarwal, SoPhy is being trialled at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

Hong Kong
How do you solve a housing crisis? In Hong Kong, the world’s least affordable country for housing, the answer lies in the water pipes. Developed by architect James Law, the OPod is a 100-sq-ft home built within concrete water pipes. The pipes are stackable and can be placed in underused locations.

Singaporeans only recycled 6% of plastic waste last year. But UnPackt is the country’s first zero-waste grocery store. Goods are sold without packaging, with customers bringing or buying their own containers  – and prices are kept low.

Electrified roads that recharge car batteries as they drive could mean a major change in sustainable road transport. Sweden’s eRoadArlanda opened in April, allowing commercial and passenger vehicles to recharge while driving. Already 2km of electric rail has been installed along a public road.

Crunching the numbers

The total cost of this year’s World Cup, now approaching the final in Russia. Most of the money was invested in transport ($680m), infrastructure ($6.1bn) and venue construction ($3.4bn).

The drop in shares at Dixons Carphone after the retailer admitted a huge data breach, with hackers attempting to compromise almost 6m payment cards and 1.2m personal data records.

The number of tonnes of freight handled by UK major ports in the first quarter of 2018, a 4% decrease from the same quarter last year.

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