A new US startup is trying to delve deep into the world of science fiction with its quest to preserve the human brain. Nectome, which is part of startup accelerator Y Combinator, is hoping to use a special mixture of embalming chemicals that will allow future scientists to scan a patient’s brain and turn it into a computer simulation. The only problem? The procedure is “100 percent fatal,” co-founder Robert McIntyre told Technology Review, ahead of YC’s “demo days” event next week, when he plans to show off the idea. Nectome hopes to team up with physician assisted suicide programs to allow terminally ill patients to live on, in a way. And as unusual, or perhaps gloomy, as it sounds, people are interested. Even with a $10,000 required deposit, Nectome already has a waiting list.
Mobile device king Apple got a huge boost to its media offerings this week with the news it was acquiring magazine app subscription service Texture. The move will see the iPad and iPhone creator add some 200 leading publications to its press arsenal. Texture currently provides its content for a monthly fee of $9.99, and was one of Apple’s Best Of App Store selections in 2016. “We’re excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world’s leading publishers,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.
Streaming giant Spotify has made on-demand music available to millions of people around the globe, but it made its first foray into Africa this week with the news it was launching in South Africa. The Swedish company, which is the world’s largest music streaming service, said the move comes in response to the increased mobile infrastructure in the country, and is planning to spread across the continent. The news came as Spotify also announced expansion to Vietnam, Israel and Romania. Now available in more than 60 countries, it probably won’t be long before you’ll be able to take your Spotify playlists with you anywhere on the planet.
As global commerce continues to move online, the idea of removing the penny from physical currency circulation is gaining traction. In fact, some countries, like Canada, Australia and Brazil, already have. Now the UK is mulling the idea. The country’s Treasury is inviting comments on the usefulness of keeping the low-value currency, which isn’t even legal tender in amounts higher than 20p. With inflation making the UK penny now worth less than the halfpenny was when it was taken out of circulation in 1984, maybe now is the time to move British currency one step closer to the future.
Ride-hailing service Grab has been cornering in the market in Southeast Asia, and booming business means expansion, of all kinds. Last November, the Singapore-based company launched a mobile payment service, and this week it announced it was to begin offering micro-loans and insurance options for its drivers and businesses that use its app. To make it happen, Grab joined forces with Japanese consumer financing giant Credit Saison to create Grab Financial. “This partnership opens up so many possibilities for Credit Saison, for Grab, and most importantly Southeast Asia’s unbanked and underbanked, and we are excited to get started,” said Credit Saison CEO Hiroshi Rinno.