Welcome To Emoji World 😆😎😍✨

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A picture speaks a thousand words but emojis are better as they speak to your heart. They were created in the late 90s by genius Japanese graphic designer Shigetaka Kurita, who was working for Softbank. Today we look at what’s new when it comes to emojis, how SnapMaps are revolutionising geolocation services and new shop-floor robotics.

Snap Map SummerFrom teens to students, young people are now looking at the world through the eyes of their mates using the newly released Snap Map. It lets you build cute avatars of yourself and allows friends to see where you are in real time. Spooky? Yes, for anyone over 25 it is not an easily acceptable concept but its exponential growth shows that the adoption is increasing fast. For the older generation, it’s not much different from good old FourSquare, but instead of just a boring map, funky avatars spice it up and an added live ‘story’ makes the check-in more authentic and easier to explore. Maps are built on MapBox and any app can hook up to visualise their store locators’ database. Map away!

What’s with the negative vibes Mexico?: The classic Donald Sutherland quote from Kelly’s Heroes came to mind when a new study on international emoji use was published recently. The study showed that Mexico uses more angry, sad or negative emojis while romantic France prefers hearts, and flippant Brits just laugh their heads off. Central European countries are happier while Colombia and Chile are in the bad temper zone. Watch out if you’re there on business!

New emoji reflects the alt-milk product boomApple obliged and the coconut emoji is now on the list for the new emojis waiting to be released by the end of 2017. Since new emojis always have a strong impact on category sales, retailers will do well to stock up on those coconut milk products. Also, after a big battle for the graphical representation of a dumpling, Google will show a dumpling emoji based on pierogi, the Polish dish, while Facebook opted for the Japanese version, gyoza, and Twitter went for something weird in-between that really just looks like a Cornish pasty. Who said globalisation was easy?

Stand up for PepperSoftBank in Japan is not only famous for co-creating emojis but also for its robotics. Pepper, their AI-based robot, which was developed in France and improved in Japan to help with customer care and elderly support, is now out of successful pilots. To speed up the roll-out of the robots, Softbank has invested £88m into California-based ‘Brain’ – a small AI research company that  provides self-driving tech for existing cars and machines, allowing them to transform their tech into self-operating mobile robots like Pepper. Peppers could easily work as shopping assistants or office helpers, so then the humans can spend all their ‘work’ time on Facebook and Snapchat sending emojis to each other.

No-beard barista: Queue for your morning coffee too long? Why not create an automated barista and increase the number of cups that can be made per minute to reduce waiting? We already covered the Danish self-making auto-barista model from Scanomat, which is closer to a traditional self-making hotel coffee machine. California-based Café X thinks this is not what people want, and instead offers the use of the same top-end coffee machines that serve us in Starbucks, but replacing a barista’s ‘touch’ with an automated robotic arm. The first two locations with a robo-barista are being piloted in San Francisco and Hong Kong; if customers love it, the founders forecast European roll-out next. They are still working on adding waxed beards and tattoos of penny farthings.

Shows: To catch up on the news in robotics don’t miss the Science Museum show (in London’s South Kensington) and its ‘treasure trove of robotic delights’ – it’s open till September.