Travel

Japan’s great toilet mystery is about to be solved

Japan’s great toilet mystery is about to be solved

The first time I visited Japan, I knew what I really wanted to try first. Not the sushi, though that turned out to be superb, or the bullet train. No, my boyish excitement was all about the magical robotic toilets. For a button-loving geek who has long thought that the bathroom should have more unexpected warm water surprises, Japan's clever bidets or "washlets" are the Holy Grail.

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Carpooling can cut traffic congestion by 75%, MIT study

Carpooling can cut traffic congestion by 75%, MIT study

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have been in the news a lot lately, but mostly because of their run ins with authorities and regulators. Few have probably given deep thought, not to mention devout an entire scientific paper, on their impact at large, for good or for ill. But that is exactly what researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) accomplished under the charge of Professor Daniela Rus. They developed an algorithm that showed that carpooling service can potentially reduce road congestion up to three times and, in the long run, even save our environment.

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Google Maps now shows wheelchair accessibility info for locations

Google Maps now shows wheelchair accessibility info for locations

Google Maps is already a lifesaver for many of us, with the app spitting out locations with just a few taps and keeping us from getting lost with detailed directions. But now it can be even more vital for the millions of people in wheelchairs in the US. Now Google Maps will display wheelchair accessibility information for locations, right alongside details like store hours or dining options, under the "amenities" section.

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Airbnb compromises with New Orleans over rental regulations

Airbnb compromises with New Orleans over rental regulations

Airbnb may have revolutionized the way people travel and find places to stay, but the company still struggles to find acceptance in cities with strict regulations over short-term rentals, not to mention the hotel industry. But that seems to be changing in New Orleans, one of locations where Airbnb has had difficulty in operating, as the company has reached a new agreement with city officials, conceding on a number of registration and regulation policies.

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Google Flights tackles travel fears: Here’s 5 other ways to fly smarter

Google Flights tackles travel fears: Here’s 5 other ways to fly smarter

The holiday travel season is nearly upon us, and Google Flights is looking to make it a little less stressful. Google announced today that Flights will now let you know when prices are expected to go up for some routes and flights. This will happen when you select a specific flight - now, you'll be presented with a new card that tells you how many days or hours you have left until the price is expected to increase, and how much the price is expected to jump.

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Amtrak unveils next-gen high-speed trains slated for 2021 launch

Amtrak unveils next-gen high-speed trains slated for 2021 launch

Amtrak has taken the wraps off its next-generation high-speed trains, saying it plans to launch them in 2021. The trains will be an upgrade to the Acela Express fleet in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), the same region where it will be upgrading infrastructure as part of a larger 'modernization' program. The step is a necessary one to keep the (often criticized) company relevant and useful.

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China’s elevated bus gets tested, cars can pass underneath

China’s elevated bus gets tested, cars can pass underneath

China is no stranger to traffic congestion, having probably held the world's records in worst traffic jams and backups, like the one on the China National Highway 110 back in 2010 which lasted for an astounding 12 days. To help deal with such situations, without getting people stuck without transportation, China is testing a new type of "elevated" bus with a cabin large enough to hold 300 passengers but is also set high enough to let cars to pass underneath it on the highway.

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Olive suitcase is part Segway and part robot

Olive suitcase is part Segway and part robot

Frequent travelers know that once the excitement of going somewhere wears off, it can be a big hassle to roll your bag through an airport. A company called Ikap Robotics has invented a very cool suitcase that makes it much easier to schlep your bag through an airport or hotel. The bag is called Olive and it looks like a normal suitcase, but it has some interesting autonomous features to help you get around more easily.

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Solar Impulse 2 makes the first solar-powered Atlantic flight

Solar Impulse 2 makes the first solar-powered Atlantic flight

Solar Impulse 2 has made history yet again. Earlier this month it finally completed the US leg of its "around the world" journey bourne on solar-powered wings. From New York, where it made a pit stop last June 11, it has now landed in Seville, Spain. This makes it the first solar-powered aircraft to cross the Atlantic ocean, in the tradition of the first voyages from Europe to the Americas and back. But as historic as the achievement is, the feat of the pilots themselves are equally impressive.

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Yahoo Radar app wants you to chat with a virtual travel guide

Yahoo Radar app wants you to chat with a virtual travel guide

Given its financial and corporate woes, you might think that Yahoo is done doing mobile app experiments that end up getting swept under the rug. Ever the contrarian, the former Internet giant has launched a new app, for now iOS only, with a bent towards helping users plan for their next big trip. Curiously called "Radar", the app is advertised to harness Yahoo's "expertise in search, communications and content" to help you pack the right things and visit the right sights, all in a style that would make you feel like talking to a chatbot.

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Airbnb Collaborative Wish Lists make group trips much easier to plan

Airbnb Collaborative Wish Lists make group trips much easier to plan

Have you ever tried planning a trip somewhere with a group of friends? It works out about as well as trying to heard cats. Everyone wants to go their own direction, and no one really wants to make the tough decisions. Eventually once everyone has had their own say, someone has to step up and start coordinating the whole thing. Well Airbnb knows this struggle, and they're here to help streamline the process.

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Airbnb just made booking easier for business travelers

Airbnb just made booking easier for business travelers

If you travel for business, staying in an Airbnb is a great way to enjoy the comforts of home, but getting that room booked can be a little tricky. Until now, you'd have to book the room yourself with a company card or go through the extra hassle of getting reimbursed. To ease all that is a newly introduced option called Business Travel Booking; with it, someone in a company, such as a manager, can book an Airbnb rental for other people in the company.

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