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Innovations that have recently caught my eye

By Burn •

With my inbox flooded daily with myriad newsletters of all shapes, sizes and subject matter, I can’t help but be aware of some of the most recent innovations cropping up in the marketing world. While some will almost certainly have little or no traction, these ten below I find truly exciting. Read on to see if you agree…

  1. Innovations for the environment: the Lolistraw.

Recently, there has been a big push on #RefuseTheStraw, partly due to saddening statistics like there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050. An alternative to the plastic classic straw, which takes up to 200 years to fully decompose, is the Lolistraw. The Lolistraw is a hyper-compostable, edible straw made from a seaweed-based material. It’s 100% plastic free, marine-degradable, non-GMO, lasts 24 hours in a drink and has a shelf life of up to 24 months. What are we waiting for?  

Single-use plastic straws suck


  1. Wear your travelcard.

To celebrate their 90th anniversary, BVG (Berlin’s transport authority) collaborated with Adidas to create the limited-edition, EQT Support 93/Berlin trainers. The €180 shoe, with the heel and ankles adorned in the famous pattern that covers the BVG’s seats, doubles up as an annual travel pass (worth €728). Therefore, as well as being iconic, the purchase also proves a significant saving for BVG travellers. Before you jump on a plane to add a pair to your collection, unfortunately, they have all sold out. Only 500 pairs were released in-store at ‘Overkill’ on January 16 with some customers camping outside in hope of buying a pair.

I’m not sure I want this to inspire my next pair of trainers…


  1. Farm organically, underground.

Tackling the topical issues of pollution, obesity and rising food prices, Cycloponic’s ‘La Caverne’ is a 3,600ft2 farm that lays underneath a carpark in the north of Paris. Whilst it is not the first nod to urban farming, with existing examples such as ‘vertical forests’ (green skyscrapers) across the planet or one of London’s many urban farms, I would argue that bringing the farm underground is something original. La Caverne uses hydroponic techniques, whereby crops such as lettuces, herbs and various varieties of mushrooms are grown in nutrient-rich water under low-energy LED lights, without the need for soil or natural sunlight. To keep the farm low-carbon and prices reasonable, produce will only be sold to local markets and restaurants and delivered by bike, rejuvenating deprived city areas with feel-good jobs.  

Lettuce make the world a better place


  1. Perfect temperature tea for a whole hour anyone?

We’ve all been there. You sip your hot drink only to realise that it’s still hotter than the sun and you’re resigned to a damaged tongue for the rest of the day. Still, that’s better than when you forget about your cuppa and reduce it to tepid ruin. The window for a perfect level of heat is very narrow, and Clay Alexander, CEO and founder of Los Angeles–based Ember Technologies felt this needed to be addressed. The solution? The Ember Mug. For approximately £80, the Ember Mug is plated in a ceramic coating that keeps your drink at the ideal temperature (customisable on the app according to preference) for an hour. Revolutionary.

That face when you realise your tea’s gone cold


  1. Buy the whole experience, not just the food.

New York-based furniture and interior designer firm Roman and Williams and Parisian chef Marie-Aude Rose have teamed up to serve classic, French food like in any other eatery. The difference with this restaurant is that diners can purchase pretty much anything that they can see: from the furniture and cutlery they are dining with, to the bouquet of flowers on the table. All hail the continued rise of the experience economy.

I’ll take the flowers and the barman, please.


  1. Poo-powered streetlights.

It is estimated that there about 9 million dogs in the UK, and with the average dog producing approximately 350g of faecal matter a day, over 100 MILLION tonnes of dog poo are picked up (do it) every year. Instead of wasting this… waste, Brian Harper from Worcestershire has developed the UK’s first canine excrement powered street light in the hope that his invention inspires people to recycle anything and everything. To power the lamp, all dog walkers must do is collect the faeces in a bag as usual, then place the bag in the anaerobic digester attached to the lamppost and turn the handle attached.  

Don’t look so guilty: your poo may stink, but it also shines


  1. This way to the departure lounge beach.

Virgin Holiday’s new ‘departure beach’ in Barbados attempts to tackle last-day holiday blues for £20 an adult and £15 per child. The promise? Virgin will pick you up from your hotel, take your hold luggage to the airport for you and drop you off at the departure beach to pick up your boarding pass and place your hand luggage in a locker provided. After that? Relax and go for a swim (soft drinks, tea, coffee, lunch, towels and showers are included). It all sounds very nice, but how long will you have there? Unless you plan to spend your entire last day at the crowded departure beach to ensure you get your £20 worth, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just go to your favourite beach then get to the airport later.  

My kind of departure lounge


  1. Pocket-sized AI personal trainer.

The ‘Humon Hex’ monitors how your muscles are using oxygen in real-time when exercising. The device connects to your phone or Garmin watch so that you can see when you can push harder, when you need to dial back as you’re pushing beyond your threshold or when you just need to keep on going.  You get a guided warm-up to help reduce injury risk, a post-workout analysis and you’ll be told when your muscles have recovered and are ready to go again – meaning you’ll reach your goals faster and more efficiently. What’s more, it has a 12-hour battery life, charges wirelessly in one hour, weighs only 32g and is water resistant.  

Imagine one of these, but much smaller. And watch-shaped.


  1. A breath of fresh(ly filtered) air.

Molekule’s breath-taking (hah) price tag starting at $799, plus $99 annual filter replacements, reflects the revolutionary nano-filter technology used to trap harmful pollutants and destroy them. Is it worth breaking the bank for improved air quality? With $15 million raised so far, investors seem to think so.  

Is it all just an air-con?


  1. Technological quarantine.

As the world becomes increasingly reliant on, or at very least accustomed to, technology, hackers incentives are growing. Here are some scary stats:

  1. “The average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150 million by 2020, as more business infrastructure gets connected” – Cybit, 2017
  2. “Since 2013 there are 3,809,448 records stolen from breaches every day, 158,727 per hour, 2,645 per minute and 44 every second of every single day” – Cybit, 2017
  3. It takes most business approximately 197 days to detect a breach on their network, that’s over 6 months. – ZDNet, 2015

Cue the Norton Core. Although it looks a LOT like the Eden Project in Cornwall, Norton Core ($279.99) detects abnormalities in the system and if any connected device shows sign of a virus, the Core cuts it off from the rest of the network. Following the number of hacks in the news over the last few years, I don’t doubt this will be popular, both in the domestic and professional spheres, despite the price tag.  

Here’s a photo of a cute puppy, just to calm you down after those stats until you get Norton Core.

So, there we have it, ten interesting innovations that have captured my attention recently. For more of BURN’s latest updates and insights, why not follow our socials? Simply scroll to the bottom of the page for links.