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bryanbma on Twitter

Uber Is Testing a New Emoji Rating System to Replace Stars

bryanbma on Twitter
bryanbma on Twitter

Star-based rating systems have seemingly become the universal standard for judging poor to excellent service (with varying degrees of mediocrity in the middle). Groupings of stars are the go-to in the online world of judgment, but Uber is testing a new system that uses a more contemporary symbol-based language to show if its drivers are good or bad: emojis.

Quartz reports that Uber has introduced emoji ratings to a few markets, including Singapore and Austin, Texas. Riders in those locations have shared photos to Twitter showing a system that asks them to either choose a thumbs up or thumbs down emoji, or to select an emoji that best fits how they feel about the experience, with a sad face, neutral face, and smiley face.

"We always explore new ways to combine technology, research and data to improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers," an Uber spokesperson told Mashable. "In a few select markets, we are testing whether a simpler ratings option can make it even easier for riders to submit clear and accurate feedback."

One major difference between emojis and the star system is that emojis narrow the range of emotions that a rider can have toward the experience. The current system has been problematic for some drivers who, according to Business Insider, have to maintain at least a 4.6 or risk putting their contract with Uber in jeopardy.

The emoji experiment is also being conducted in U.S. cities like Denver and Nashville, and internationally in Perth, Jakarta, Hanoi, Rio De Janeiro, Foshan, Cairo, Dubai, and Manchester.

[h/t: Mashable]

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Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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Pop Culture
How to Perform the Star Wars Theme—On Calculators
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The iconic Star Wars theme has been recreated with glass harps, theremins, and even cat meows. Now, Laughing Squid reports that the team over at YouTube channel It’s a small world have created a version that can be played on calculators.

The channel’s math-related music videos feature covers of popular songs like Luis Fonsi’s "Despacito," Ed Sheeran’s "Shape of You," and the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, all of which are performed on two or more calculators. The Star Wars theme, though, is played across five devices, positioned together into a makeshift keyboard of sorts.

The video begins with a math-musician who transcribes number combinations into notes. Then, they break into an elaborate practice chord sequence on two, and then four, calculators. Once they’re all warmed up, they begin playing the epic opening song we all know and love, which you can hear for yourself in all its electronic glory below.

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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Somnox, Kickstarter
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technology
This Cuddly Robot Is Designed to Lull You to Sleep
Somnox, Kickstarter
Somnox, Kickstarter

For people seeking all the benefits of a human sleeping companion without the human part, there’s a new Kickstarter-backed product. As Mashable reports, Somnox, the self-proclaimed “world’s first sleep robot,” is designed to give you a more comfortable, energizing night’s rest.

The bean-shaped cushion is the perfect size and shape for cuddling as you drift to sleep. Beneath its soft exterior is hardware designed to get you to deep sleep faster. Somnox rises and falls to mimic the movements of human breathing. Lay with the pillow long enough and the designers claim your breath will naturally sync to its rhythm, thus prepping your body for sleep.

Somnox can also be set to play sounds and music. Some content, like guided mediation, lullabies, and gentle heart beats, come built-in, but you can also upload audio of your own. And you don’t need to worry about shutting it off: Once you've customized its breathing and audio behaviors through the app, the device does what it's programed to do and powers down automatically.

Having a robotic sleep aide will cost you: You need to pledge about $533 to the team’s Kickstarter to reserve one. Even with the steep price tag, the campaign surpassed its funding goal.

[h/t Mashable]

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