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Friday Five: 9/7-9/11

Jeff Stehlin

Wearing white after Labor Day may be a faux pas, but there’s nothing tacky about catching up on this week’s top tech stories.

E-Commerce in Uber Drive? Company Plans Delivery Program to Launch in the Fall – Mobile Marketing Watch

Moving forward, Uber could be used for more than just trips home from the bar (that’s what it’s for, right?). The ride-sharing service hopes to infiltrate the fulfillment industry, planning partnerships with retailers and brands to create express e-commerce delivery system for shoppers. The program could start as early as late September and will kick off in New York City. Uber on, travelers.

Pocket Points Rewards Students for Staying Off Their Phones – TechCrunch

With back-to-school on the brain, Pocket Points is here to rescue students, teachers and parents. The app, which is already live at over 150 schools, uses basic geofencing technology to promote focused learning. Upon entering a geofenced building (e.g. library or classroom), students can lock their devices to earn points for every minute their phones stay off. These points are then redeemable for rewards and discounts at local and national Pocket Points’ partners. I got an ice cream cone when I did well in school, but today’s learners could walk away with major prizes as developers work to remedy today’s growing technological distractions.

Apple: You’ve Seen it all Before, and Nothing Else Like it – The New Yorker

In continued Apple-related news, the technology leader announced this week a slew of new products for the holiday season. While there is plenty of buzz surrounding the new Apple TV, iPhones and stylus, some wonder if we have seen them before. Think Google, Amazon, Samsung and Microsoft. Despite the overlap, it’s likely that a new device is in your future.

Kick, Jump and Play Your Way to Renewable Energy With These Empowering Products – Wired

In response to the high number of people without access to reliable electricity, Jessica O. Matthews founded Uncharted Play as an innovative tech solution. The company harnesses energy from daily activities and games, and currently has two M.O.R.E (motion-based, off-grid renewable energy) products available for purchase – SOCKET (a soccer ball) and PULSE (a jump rope). Both items collect kinetic energy as users play and can then fuel devices through an included outlet. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries translate just minutes of play into hours of power, and Matthews also hopes that the products will spark worldwide education on renewable energy. For every purchase, the company donates a play system to a child in Nigeria, Mexico, Costa Rice or El Salvador.

‘Pokémon Go’ Wants to Take Monster Battles to the Streets – The Wall Street Journal

90’s kids everywhere rejoice! Pokémon – the popular electronic game – is getting a 21st century makeover. In partnership Nintendo Co., and Niantic, the game will combine a mobile app (available for iOS and Android) and a Bluetooth-enabled device similar to a smart watch. As a unique augmentation of mobile capabilities, the technology will allow gamers to play and interact with their own environments. Soon enough, even the office may be a place where Pokémon masters can catch them all.

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