That’s interesting, and uplifting! 02.04.2020

As we all try to adapt, cope, be safe and do our part to keep the Covid-19 pandemic in check, it is important to find ways to stay motivated and positive. That is why, over the next few weeks, That’s Interesting will focus on initiatives and ideas that are uplifting and helpful in these challenging times.

So, from pubs in a box to plastic-eating-bacteria, here are some things that made us say “That’s interesting, and uplifting!” in the studio this week.

Face-(Cov)ID. 

When mobile phone developers embedded facial recognition technology into our devices, they probably could not foresee the global pandemic that would suddenly make face masks so popular. And, although official recommendations vary on whether or not they help to protect wearers from Coronavirus, they are an essential piece of armour for medical staff. Inspired by the oddity of the entire dystopic situation, artist Danielle Baskin has set up Resting Risk Face, a service that turns 2D photos into 3D images that can be custom printed onto N95 respiratory masks, so that they work with facial recognition software. We hope that there will soon be no need for masks, but there are plenty of other scenarios where they could be helpful, including, for example, for those that suffer from allergies.

Unlock your device here

Culture in Quarantine. 

The pandemic has forced many artists, creatives and performers to put their craft on hold, as museums, galleries, theatres, concert halls, cinemas and libraries close their doors to enable social distancing. But that hasn’t stymied the flow of creativity: many have turned to websites and social media to share their art and a number of exhibitions have been made available in virtual form. To honour and support this resilience and determination and keep us all sane, BBC Arts has changed its website to Culture in Quarantine,giving access and funding to exhibitions, performances and museums that would otherwise be off-limits.

Keep culture alive here

Junk (yard) food.

Working from home and gym closures have made the sofa and running shoes a key part of our day. So, thinking ahead to when these items reach the end of their life, worn away by hours of conference calls and marathon training (ha!), will we be able to dispose of them sustainably? Polyurethane – the foam that is commonly used in couch cushions and trainers – is hard to recycle, and therefore tends to end up in landfill. However, scientists at Germany’s UFZ-Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research have discovered a bacterium that is able to feed on and break down the foam. It will take time for this to become a viable scalable solution, but it is important to start imagining and planning for a future where products can be made with their entire (sustainable) lifecycle in mind.

Rubbish food here

Pub in a box.

Signature Brewery – a London-based brewery and small bar chain known for its music-inspired craft beers – has managed to encapsulate its brand essence and experience in a format suited to the present day. Pub In A Box is a home-delivered selection of their award-winning beers, with glassware, a beer mat, bar snacks, a music quiz and exclusive playlists curated by music journalists to chill to while sipping at home. And, as a lovely little sign off to the initiative, local musicians are employed to deliver the boxes to support those out of work due to bar closures and event cancellations.

Musical pints here

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