Trends with Benefits: Tidal in trouble, boombox luggage, dirty VR daydreams

On this episode, we are joined by tech innovators Ezra Cimino-Hurt, of Case of Bass, and Chris Regis, of Green Century Electronics Recycling. Ezra has created an amazing combination of tech and art by turning old luggage into cool, retro-inspired boomboxes, while Chris’s company keeps old electronics out of landfills by refurbishing or recycling them. Chris and Ezra talk about the origins of Case of Bass and how much work it took to create a quality product that not only looks good, but functions well. You can also check out Ezra in his DT Innovators and Essentials Video Series.

From there, we discuss the state of Tidal, Jay-Z’s streaming music service. From the star power it brought to the table, to its promise of higher quality audio, Tidal brought a lot of hype when it started. But how’s it holding up? With competition from Spotify and so many other services (in addition to the consistent firing of executives), things are looking rough.

Google’s I/O Developer Conference is in full swing this week, and one of the focal points has been new chat applications. Google will now have six different way to chat, and they seem to be very redundant. Duo is one of the most interesting additions, being a one-to-one video chat service. It’s designed to bring video chat to virtually all smartphones. However, it’s most interesting feature is that it will allow the call recipient to see live video of the caller, before they answer. This could bring unwanted “Chat Roulette-like” prank calls to a whole new level.

Google also announced the addition of a new VR platform. Daydream will be the successor to Google Cardboard, providing fierce competition to established VR providers like Oculus.

Surprisingly, one group that has voiced concern about the proliferation of VR is the porn industry. Some porn aficionados believe virtual reality could lead to the end for traditional, multi-camera productions. The industry truly has contributed to the innovation and advancement of technology, in part because of the fact that everyone consumes their “product.” We discuss what these concerns, and whether there’s really a threat.

Finally, in what seems like a sci-fi story come to life, Sony has announced plans for a “smart” contact lens. The lens would allow you to take video, enhance eye sight and basically turn humans into cyborgs. If people were concerned about Google Glass, how are they going to react to this?!

Today’s episode features Ezra Cimino-Hurt, Chris Regis, Caleb Denison and Greg Nibler.

Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits, visit Digital Trends and send your questions to We also broadcast the show live on YouTube every Thursday at 2:30 p.m. PT.

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