Across the floor on a neighboring wall hangs a modest looking white-rimmed mirror that, upon recognizing a familiar face, begins to spew personalized Times headlines. When technologist Brian House peers into the glass, rich text and photos scroll across a backlit surface. “If you find something you like, just touch your phone to it and you can take it with you on your commute,” says House, who then does just that. A celebratory robotic noise confirms that the article now lives on an app on House’s cellphone. The demo is well rehearsed, and damn cool.
Dubbed Reveal, the mirror is an example of the lab’s future-casting prototypes. Lately, however, the lab’s focus appears to have shifted from futuristic installations to more practical programs geared toward licensing and monetization. But with only two marketable products in the pilot-testing phase, can the R&D Lab innovate at the same breakneck speed as the same digital startups that threaten its existence?
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