Eye Sightings

The Consumer Eyes Blog

September 3, 2015


With the Union Square Farmers' Market right across the street from our offices, we love to walk over and see what's new. And now that summer is slowly giving way to fall, we thought it would be a great time to get some of the vendors' takes on which items were most popular this summer, which are selling well now, and which they're most looking forward to offering as the season progresses. Take a look!

August 7, 2015

Remember astronaut ice cream? Turns out it was just the chalky, crumbly tip of the iceberg. We seem to be in something of a space-food revival, whether that food was grown in space, stored there, or just passed through for a moment.
Suntory is currently preparing to send whiskey to the International Space Station, where it will be left to age as part of a study to determine the effects of microgravity on its flavor - and, we have to assume, the effects of keeping a bunch of astronauts cooped up with whiskey they aren't allowed to drink.  
At the same time, Nasa is currently growing lettuce in space, in the hopes that space-to-table eating could someday help sustain astronauts on long missions.
And finally, in honor of International Beer Day, we have to mention Ground Control, Ninkasi Brewing Company's limited-edition beer brewed with yeast that took a short side-trip to outer space before being added to the mash. Does it taste any different? We can't say for sure, but send us a bottle and we'll be happy to report back.


June 24, 2015

Earlier this week we sent our resident geek, Dave C., to do some reconnaissance at the Museum of the Moving Image. They're currently hosting an exhibition on new and experimental storytelling technologies, called Sensory Stories, and the centerpiece is the much-hyped Oculus Rift. 

While it was hardly our first encounter with the Rift, the exhibit at MoMI had several different software experiences queued up, and they presented a great overview of the potential of this new generation of virtual reality devices. There were interactive games, but also a remarkably immersive 360º tour of a refugee camp in Jordan - Clouds Over Sidra - produced by the United Nations, and some disconcertingly realistic 3D-rendered experiences that explored the illusions of proximity and distance that the device can create.

Everything we saw implied that virtual reality is ready for primetime - not just as a gaming device or novelty, but as a new way to consume all kinds of media, from telepresence to documentary film. And the most important part of the equation may just be price; Oculus recently announced that when the final version of the Rift arrives for purchase early next year, the entire system necessary to experience VR - including a computer to run the software - will cost about $1500. At that price point, we think VR-based entertainment might finally be more than an illusion.

Sensory Stories will run at the Museum of the Moving Image through July 26, 2015

June 11, 2015

One of the most-hyped NYC restaurant openings of the summer is fast approaching, and what it isn't is as interesting as what it is. Reclaimed wood by the yard? Nope. Simple farm-to-table dishes that celebrate heirloom ingredients? Sorry. Prohibition-era cocktails? Nowhere to be seen.

We're talking, of course, about Oleanders, the new restaurant opening at the McCarren Hotel in Brooklyn. What it is is a fern bar - one of those distinctly late-70s, early-80s temples of preppy mildness, filled with leafy plants, Tiffany lamps and lounge seating. Food leans toward staid classics like lobster thermidor and meatloaf, and cocktails are of the sweet '80s variety.

Oleanders is certainly an outlier, and might turn out to be an anomaly - but the excitement around its arrival also shows that the leading-edge Brooklyn crowd is increasingly ready to look beyond craft culture for inspiration. And where they go, the mainstream is sure to follow.

Pic via Eater


June 4, 2015

Developing new technology takes time - which means that those of us who love to hear about new advances in robotics typically have to wait a while between items. Sometimes, though, the stars align and we find ourselves inundated with robot news - and that's just what has happened over the last seven days.

It began with the blogosphere's thrilled/terrified reaction to the newfound jumping ability of MIT's Cheetah Robot, and has been followed by more feats of robot dexterity, like this humanoid 'bot that moves boxes just like a real (struggling) person. And of course we watched and rewatched the remarkable feats - and untimely demise - of this tiny robot, too. 

Finally, we have some hope for the logistics of working robots, via The Verge, where they've found that the actual cost of Amazon's delivery-by-drone service could be quite reasonable. Well, as long as we assume that the program could be implemented without any legal hurdles or unforeseen conflicts. It might be a while before your next Amazon box drops onto your porch from the sky, but we're glad to see that one of Amazon's most out-there visions has some real-world viability.