Passport’s Picks of the Week


In this week’s installment of Passport’s Picks of the Week, we’ve pulled some of the top trending articles in technology. Uber and Lyft continue to make headlines, but app awareness and utilization is not as high as expected. A 90s iBot releases a new wheelchair with a lower price point. People watching at the airport proves that our smart phones really do run the world. Heinous commutes get a pretty look. Autonomous car crashes, but it’s actually a good thing. This week’s list of tech articles will be sure to keep you posted on what you might’ve missed from the tech world. Enjoy!


Smart Phones at the Airport: No Talking. Just Staring.

Is your smart phone in front of you? Maybe you’re reading this post from your iPhone. Maybe it’s sitting next to you charging. Wherever it is, it’s most likely in your peripherals. Smart phones continue to take the world by storm – whether you’re Venmo-ing (yes, it’s not a verb) your friend cash for coffee or using the Delta app to scan your boarding pass for your flight to LA, we’re always connected. The transportation industry is following suit. With mobile parking apps on the rise and citation management platforms at the convenience of your fingertips, the transportation industry is rapidly changing the way we function.


This Is How Americans Really Feel About Uber and Lyft

With all the headlines featuring Uber and Lyft, though popular, aren’t necessarily seeing the results you’d expect. In the US, 33% haven’t even heard of the ride-hailing apps and only 15% have actually used their services.  In a survey of 4,700 Americans, most ride-hailing users are young adults living in urban areas and are college-educated. According to the survey, 29% of users are at least college-educated, while 6% of users have less than a college education. As more mobile apps come into play, it’ll be interesting to see the difference in utilization and attitudes toward specific services. As more headlines feature the apps, users and non-users continue to have differing opinions toward the ride-hailing services’ labor practices and whether or not they should be regulated the same way as taxi services.

(Also Lyft allows users to schedule rides 24-hours in advance – see the article here)


America’s Heinous Commutes, Mapped in Pretty GIFs

128.3 million Americans commute. Whoa. If you’re a commuter, you know the pain of the sitting through traffic jams, detours, sitting on jam packed trains, etc., etc. Would you ever picture a commute to be beautiful? Most likely not. How could something so monotonous be considered beautiful? Well, Mark Evans made commuting look good, even if it it doesn’t have the best reputation. With Evans interactive map of the most heinous commutes in the US, he transformed the ‘ugly’ into some pretty attractive GIFs. Evans interactive map, which is featured on his personal blog took him 40 hours to create. Give it a peek or two, especially if you’re a commuter and understand the pain.


We Need More Driverless Car Accidents

Self-driving cars and an accident? It might sound bad, but it’s actually a step in the right direction, especially since the accident was likely caused by an subtle software adjustment. The self-driving car was going less than 2 mph when it was shifting to avoid an obstacle in the road and it made contact with a bus from behind. Although the accident happened, it showed that Google’s testing is shifting from just being an autonomous car to really taking on characteristics of human drivers. As self-driving cars begin to hit the roads, we’ll seen an increase in experimentation and naturally an increase in accidents. Test, repeat, test, repeat. With more experimentation in the mix, we’ll likely see autonomous cars make more of an appearance on roads because ‘the only way to fully understand our world is to explore it by taking risks’. These subtle changes to technology will push our innovations to the next level and ultimately give us the best possible product.


Toyota teams with Segway inventor to revive innovative iBot wheelchair

Ladies and gentlemen, the next iBot wheelchair is back. Dean Kamen, the man who created the Segway, has teamed up with Toyota to bring us the next level of iBot wheelchair. In the 90s, the iBot wheelchair was created for those to get up steep stairways, get through rocky landscape, and elevate. At $25,000 a pop, the chair was discontinued in 2009 due to its price point. Now, Toyota has teamed up with Kamen’s Deka Research to bring us the next generation iBot wheelchair. Although a release date has not been issued, there’s hopes that the wheelchair will be available for a better price tag in the future. Stay tuned for the next iBot and the features it will provide to those in need.