The Unicode Consortium has finalized version 15.1 of the Unicode standard this week. Although Unicode is used to display tens of thousands of characters in languages used worldwide, the headlining change to any new version is usually about new emoji additions.
As implied by the version number, version 15.1 is a minor update to last year's 15.0 release that makes no changes to the core specification. Nevertheless, the update adds six new emoji, plus 108 new variations on people emoji (the short version: all emoji depicting someone moving rightward can now be flipped to show them moving leftward).
The new designs, as summed up by the emoji experts at Emojipedia, include shaking and nodding heads, a phoenix, a lime, an "edible mushroom," and a broken chain. Family emoji have also been updated to include options for gender-neutral parents and children.
If you're interested in the nuts and bolts of how emoji work, the interesting thing about these emoji designs (including the new ones) is that they're all technically modifications of existing emoji. Two or more emoji joined together with a special character called a "zero-width joiner" (ZWJ) are displayed as a single modified emoji instead. ZWJ sequences are mainly used to handle different skin and hair colors and genders in people emoji, but here they're being used to create all-new emoji from existing designs.