Baby strollers that roll themselves (super safe)

Well thanks to technology we have a hands-free baby stroller to help alleviate some stress from parents.

The stroller is electronically engineer to move when the parents moves, keeping the stroller within close proximity.

http://mashable.com/2017/08/09/smartbe-intelligent-stroller/#8OEL1XDvbiqh

The stroller can…

  • Warm bottles
  • Rock from side to side
  • Play music
  • Be operated and controlled from a smart phone…

The project was funded in 2016 but has been delayed. Prices range from $399 to $3,199.

Why its hot?

  • Well first off … is this safe?
  • This is a great use of technology and design but is there a need for a hands-free stroller?
  • These were ordered by expecting parents. It will be interesting to see where the industry goes with advances like these and expecting parents.

 

Facebook Blocks Shares to Heather Heyer Daily Stormer Article

Facebook has taken Fake News head on this week. The Daily Stormer (a neo-nazi publication) wrote a disgusting article about Heather Heyer, the victim of a hate crime this weekend in Charlottesville.

Facebook has actively started removing shares of this article unless they condemn the piece in their post copy. This is a new move by the platform and an interesting one.

Why Its Hot:

Yes, Facebook is fighting hatred. But, Facebook has allowed partisanship to spread in our country and allowed falsehoods to remain that keep people from knowing what is true and false. This is a bit of a bandaid on a bullet hole, but props to Facebook for helping to fix what it helped to break.

It’s interesting how we will all start to take on false equivalency when not everything deserves to be shared.

Source: http://mashable.com/2017/08/15/facebook-deleting-daily-stormer-heather-heyer/#K06vVkFr6iqo

To Post or Not To Post: The Content Dilemma

Hyatt was about to launch a month-long branded content partnership with the Atlantic that revolves around themes of inclusion, understanding and the importance of coming together. And then Charlottesville happened and they hesitated…

The video was conceived around the story of civil rights leader Xernona Clayton, who 50 years ago was searching for a place to host the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta with Martin Luther King Jr. Not a single venue wanted to accommodate the organization until it happened upon a Hyatt Regency. Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the conference.

Hyatt isn’t the only brand to hesitate when it comes to releasing work that could be judged as politically driven. In March, for instance, brands like YouTube, Microsoft, Chevrolet and CoverGirl began promoting Muslim inclusivity through ads without saying they were political. Hyatt was among these.

On one hand, brands have to find a way to tap into the zeitgeist to connect with consumers. On the other hand, they must be wary of getting called out for taking positions in the polarized environment.

Source: https://digiday.com/marketing/hyatt-deliberated-scrapping-new-branded-content-work-charlottesville-riots/

Would you have gone forth with the campaign? 

Why it’s hot: 

  • As marketers and advertisers, we walk a fine line with messaging. What the audience perceives of your messaging, especially in these politically volatile times can make or break a brand.

 

“URLs are UI”

Image of URL printed in local paper from Scott Hanselman’s post “URLs are UI”

Hey,

There are layers to this digital design methodology, man.

“URLs are UI” Jacob Nielsen said that back in 1999, when Google only had <1% of search volume.

18 years later, have you considered your URLs? This message is specifically for everyone who does not work in SEO: People still have to interact with URLs.

Maybe you tried to share something but couldnt get a direct URL? Maybe you were on Facebook, and were confused about how to copy a direct link to a photo, because photos are overlays for some reason? Maybe, as a commenter on Mr. Hanselman’s post points out, you wanted to buy something on Amazon. Maybe you wanted to buy:

Creative Hobbies® Synthetic Chalkboard With Unfinished Wood Frame, 4 x 6 Inch -Pack of 6 Chalkboards

How would you get there?

Oh:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EA85652/ref=s9u_cartx_gw_i3?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pd_rd_i=B00EA85652&pd_rd_r=NKCYZGPFYJXAPSJWR341&pd_rd_w=XrV6G&pd_rd_wg=yhyyn&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=&pf_rd_r=GS69TAV1S481DHM1S4XF&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=f719e185-4825-42a4-9507-9df1a19229d6&pf_rd_i=desktop

So just think about your URLs.

Maybe your URLs could be something like the example that Mr. Hanselman uses in his article:

I love Stack Overflow’s URLs. Here’s an example: https://stackoverflow.com/users/6380/scott-hanselman

The only thing that matters there is the 6380. Try it https://stackoverflow.com/users/6380 or https://stackoverflow.com/users/6380/fancy-pants also works. SO will even support this! http://stackoverflow.com/u/6380.

Genius. Why? Because they decided it matters.

Here’s another

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/701030/whats-the-significance-of-oct-12-1999 again, the text after the ID doesn’t matter. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/701030/

This is a great model for URLs where you want a to use a unique ID but the text/title in the URL may change. I use this for my podcasts so https://hanselminutes.com/587/brandon-bouier-on-the-defense-digital-service-and-deploying-code-in-a-war-zone is the same as https://hanselminutes.com/587.

Why it’s hot

There’s lots of moving pieces when it comes to designing digital experiences. Sometimes the smaller ones get overlooked because the big sexy crunchy ones are all, THERE, but it’s important to remember the small persistent pieces that need love and attention too. Like URLs.

Article, and image from Scott Hanselman’s “URLs are UI”

 

Smartphones make you spend more frivolously

https://management.ok.ubc.ca/faculty/yingzhu.html

An assistant professor at the University of British Columbia with a specialty in consumer behavior found that people shop differently on touchscreen devices than they do on their desktop PCs.

On phones, people are more likely to spend money on indulgent, hedonistic things, like movie tickets and dining out. And on PCs, people prioritize more practical, utilitarian things, like furniture and haircuts.

“The touchscreen has an easy-to-use interface that puts you into an experiential thinking style. When you’re in an experiential thinking mode, you crave excitement, a different experience,” says the professor. “When you’re on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style. While you’re in a rational thinking style, when you assess a product, you’ll look for something with functionality and specific uses.”

Why it’s hot: Should brands or retailers place products differently according to the screen?

Instagram Inception

Instagram has released a new feature which lets users interact with the photos and videos messaged to them in private conversations.

If you receive a photo or video, you can take that photo and draw on it, and then respond back with that photo in your new photo. If you’re replying to a video, Instagram only saves the first frame for replies.

Apply a filter, draw on your photo, add stickers, write text, and send it back with the original message included. According to TechCrunch, if you’re watching a story, you can either send a text reply, or you can send a photo/video, adding context to when someone is replying to part of your story.

Read more here.

Why its hot

Instagram is giving you more reasons to stay within the app, messaging more with your friends. You can do more than just watch a story or reply to a message with another message. This is much more engaging, allowing users to actually interact with the messages themselves and include them in a fun way to tell an even richer story.

Really uncool app

How can terrified parents of newly qualified teen drivers persuade them to drive safely? Toyota has come up with what could be an ingenious method — embarrassing them.

The brand’s new Safe and Sound App, not only blocks social media posts and incoming calls once they’re traveling over nine miles per hour, it automatically switches to playing their parents’ Spotify playlist once they break the speed limit or try to use their phone. And, naturally, parents are free to put as much embarrassing music on there as they choose.

The parents activate the app when the teen wants to borrow their car, and it syncs both parent and child Spotify accounts. The app uses Google Maps API technology to detect if they’re speeding, and when the young driver touches their phone or breaks the speed limit, the music they are playing through Spotify will suddenly cut out and their parents’ playlist will kick in instead. Only once the driver stops interacting with their phone or returns to within the speed limit will their own music resume playing.

Why it’s hot?
They used a human insight and turned it into a product – for teenagers, the threat of embarrassment is more severe than threat of injury

Source: Creativity

Swipe Up for a Burger at Your Doorstep

Ever wish you could have that beautiful burger you see on Instagram… brought to you immediately? An agency out based out of Brazil (named Africa) is deploying a new social campaign for Heinz: ‘Irresistible Posts’ where they seek to make this possible.

In Sao Paulo, Instagram users who are searching the Stories section in the early afternoon receive a targeted video of a delicious burger prepared by a local restaurant chef. At the end of the video, the chef appears onscreen and tells the user to swipe up to have this exact meal sent to them. Once the user fills out their location details, the burger is brought to their doorstep. Where does Heinz come in? It is delivered in a personalized box created by Heinz – which conveniently includes several of their condiment products.

Heinz has not announced if they plan to expand the campaign outside of Sao Paulo.

See video!

Why it’s sizzln’ hot: Not only does this activation play upon the extremely relevant #foodporn Instagram trend, but this is a strategic play for Heinz. By being the behind-the-scenes partner that helps users fulfill their cravings (and add to them with their condiments), they are becoming a more relevant and reliable brand that provide more than just the add-ons. Additionally, next time these users think back to the best burger they’ve had – they will associate Heinz with that positive, memorable, and tasty experience.

Source: PSFK

Oscar and the design of healthcare apps

The design team behind Oscar started and ended their process fixated on the user experience. Many healthcare providers still send new customers stacks of paperwork for onboarding, and Oscar jumped wholly into online questionnaires, tutorials, and app. Over the iterative lifecycle, here are a few key learnings they found:

  • Like enterprise app design, healthcare apps should be seen as a consumer product (people don’t shed their skin and become mindless patients).
  • 87.8% of people who avoid early care do so because of bureaucracy, insurance issues, and price. Telemedicine is a glimmer of hope – connecting doctors directly with patients.
  • With healthcare apps, less is truly more. People tend to use healthcare apps rarely and often forget about them in between uses. The app needs to be more intuitive than innovative. Make it SIMPLE.
  • Test early and often using prototypes to course correct along the way.
  • The team was successful in limiting navigation buttons to give users a more guiding approach (forcing function).
  • They added CTAs for calling their doctor throughout the app at key touchpoints. This way, users understood WHEN they should be seeking help.
  • Getting users to spend LESS time on the app (meaning, they got what they needed and got off) became the goal. They needed to define success differently than other kinds of apps.

 

EASE: New Surgical App for Families

Clinicians at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children developed a mobile application to provide real-time updates of surgical procedures to families in the waiting room. Surveys of patient families show improvements in patient experience, while nurses surveyed preferred the app over a phone call to families.

Source: http://catalyst.nejm.org/ease-operating-room-mobile-communication-app/

  1. The use of a mobile application to communicate in real-time from the operating room enhances the family experience and improves satisfaction.

  2. Physicians and nurses report that this method of updating the family is more efficient, reliable, valuable, and enjoyable than the traditional phone call.

  3. Communication is a vital component of the health care experience, and the surgical operating room has often lagged behind other areas in keeping families informed.

  4. The utilization of real-time text and visual updates with mobile technology is an efficient and effective tool that has been embraced by physicians, nurses, patients, and their families.

  5. Successful adoption and implementation of electronic communication requires a cultural change within an organization. Buy-in from executive administration, the legal office, the compliance office, and medical leadership is necessary.

  6. Adoption and implementation of innovations in health care can follow a phased process that identifies innovators to test the process and then allows expansion to occur organically.

  7. Providing enhanced communication has been shown to improve the patient experience and increase satisfaction scores and other valuable metrics.

In-App Survey of 2,500 patient recorded positive feedback for app:

  1. EASE reduced their anxiety: 98% yes
  2. Nature of the images received was appropriate: 99% yes
  3. The availability of EASE would influence your choice of hospital: 81% yes
  4. Satisfaction score (1 = very dissatisfied; 10 = very satisfied): 9.7 average score

Why it’s Hot:

As a digital-focused agency we have the ability to find these type of pain points and recommend/develop mobile solutions for our clients. The adoption rate on this product is skyrocketing because of how valuable and relevant it is to the user.

The Musician’s Mirror

Poor posture is the leading cause of back and neck pain, especially for musicians who spend hours practicing. A Royal College of Art grad has designed a solution that gives audio and visual feedback to improve posture and technique while playing an instrument. The camera clip-on attaches to a music stand and provides video feedback to a device where the user can view their posture. The user selects examples of good vs bad posture and is given audio and visual feedback for their improvement.

Watch the video below to see more about how this functions:

Why it’s Hot: This device can no only reduce back and neck pain, but also is a good way to teach good techniques when learning an instrument. This can also be applied to other technique or posture based activities such as yoga or sitting at a desk. The type of feedback it gives is particularly well suited for musicians because they will be focusing on the sound of their instruments.

Source

Produce is War: How Driscoll’s Reinvented the Strawberry

“Produce is war, and it is won by having something beautiful-looking to sell at Costco when the competition has only cat-faced uglies.” This lengthy New Yorker article recently dove into how Driscoll’s uses market insight and crop science to build their monopoly on the berry market.

Strawberry from New Yorker

“Driscoll’s focus groups have shown that millennials, adventurous and open-minded in their eating habits, and easily seduced by novelty, may embrace pale berries. With these consumers, unburdened by preconceived notions of what a white berry should look or taste like, Driscoll’s has a priceless opportunity: the definitional power that comes with first contact.”

“According to Frances Dillard, Driscoll’s global brand strategist and a veteran of Disney’s consumer-products division, berries are the produce category most associated with happiness. (Kale, in contrast, has a health-control, “me” focus.) On a slide that Dillard prepared, mapping psychographic associations with various fruits, strawberries floated between Freedom and Harmony, in a zone marked Extrovert, above a word cloud that read “Social, pleasure, joy, balance, conviviality, friendship, warmth, soft, natural, sharing.” (Blueberries vibed as status-oriented, demanding, and high-tech.) As I studied the slide over Dillard’s shoulder in her office, she smiled tightly and said, “This is proprietary.”

Why it’s hot: It’s pretty cool to learn how our favorite fruits came to be. I thought this was a cool case study in now market demand and consumer behavior drive product innovation and brand stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended: “A Piece of Work”

Here’s a shameless plug for a podcast I really dig: Abbi Jacobsen’s new “A Piece of Work” podcast, a collab with WNYC and MoMA.

Read more here: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-piece-of-work-inside-abbi-jacobsons-new-art-podcast-w494252

And listen to it here: https://project.wnyc.org/new-piece-of-work-moma-podcast/?gclid=CjwKEAjwoNrMBRD4-viTlaj42GcSJAD84Ni_ahV6_Nn_s1DD-4Ghu_OA8CVfaSjqxUpt4qPH1CZ5sxoCB-Tw_wcB

WHY IT’S HOT:

I appreciate A Piece of Work for the way it demystifies what fine art is all about. It’s incredibly accessible– even the curators she interviews are surprisingly unpretentious– which is so refreshing. Plus, her guests are great–  there is nothing not funny about Hannibal Burress talking about Duchamp’s urinal found art sculpture. As an Art History nerd I love it, but I recommend it because living in New York City it is easy to forget the incredible art all around us and A Piece of Work is not only a great podcast but a great reminder.

Eliminated food waste with tech! Right on!

I have two videos to share on this fine Friday morning and their about reducing food waste!

The videos explain it all!

  1. http://mashable.com/2017/08/02/sustainable-indoor-vertical-farm/?utm_cid=sv-nextup-right#.N_PIdJh_qqM
  2. http://mashable.com/2017/07/18/spoiler-alert-cleaner-future/?utm_cid=sv-nextup-right#k5qAeHhJhsqD

Why its hot?

  • People are always talking about how technology is “ruining” our social interactions and interfering with out lives, but this is using tech to better the planet.
  • Food waste is a huge problem that needs to be resolved if we want to survive as a species
  • Trip to grand central?!

YouTube’s CEO Blasts Anti-Diversity Memo

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote a heartfelt letter detailing her dismay at the infamous Google Memo written by a now-fired Googler who cited bialogical reasons for why there are fewer women and minorities in STEM and tech.

Yesterday, after reading the news, my daughter asked me a question. “Mom, is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?”

She notes that:

 I thought about the women throughout the tech field who are already dealing with the implicit biases that haunt our industry (which I’ve written about before), now confronting them explicitly.

Why Its Hot:

We’ve spoken about Uber’s “women problem” and its apparent across other fields. I think its just important to talk about diversity and acknowledge the problems that typically aren’t on the surface.

‘Watch’ Out YouTube

Yesterday, Facebook launched Watch, a new service providing live or recorded video content. It has only rolled out to a handful of users and would appear as a tab in Facebook’s mobile, desktop and TV apps. Watch showcases channels, called Shows, and currently features content from a limited pool of content creators, including Nas Daily, which features one-minute clips from around the world each day, and motivational speaker Gabby Bernstein.

Perhaps most notably, Watch will feature a different game each week from Major League Baseball.

According to The Next Web, “[Facebook] is funding some shows and inviting independent creators to sign up to the platform on their own as well; once they’re in, they’ll get a Show Page (similar to Pages for brands) that fans can follow and find clips on.

For viewers, Facebook has included a watchlist that lets you save episodes to catch later; you’ll also be able to discover videos based on how people interact with them, in sections like “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh,” (which includes shows where people have hit the “Haha” reaction button), and “What Friends Are Watching.”

Why Its Hot

Facebook may be out to eat YouTube’s and Netflix’s lunch, but will people want to spend even more time on Facebook? Of course, Facebook has a massive user base of two billion people monthly worldwide, and the eventual introduction of ads could attract major brands. This will come down to a question of quality. If Facebook can bring in major talent to produce content, combined with their user base, it could mean a real challenger for video king YouTube.

Travel and work at the same time? Yes!

Remote Year is a work and travel program that takes people who’re looking for personal and professional growth on a year-long journey to work, travel, and live in 12 different cities throughout the world.

Participants are called “Remotes.” They will live and work in a different city around the globe each month. The program costs $27,000 with a $5,000 down payment followed by a monthly payment of $2,000 for the first 11 months. The costs include co-working spaces, accommodation, transportation, planned events and activities.

Why it’s hot: To millennials, every experience is a self investment. They are willing to invest their money and time into experiences that help them grow.

 

Your Instagram Posts May Hold Clues to Your Mental Health

The photos you share online speak volumes. They can serve as a form of self-expression or a record of travel. They can reflect your style and your quirks. But they might convey even more than you realize: The photos you share may hold clues to your mental health, new research suggests.

From the colors and faces in their photos to the enhancements they make before posting them, Instagram users with a history of depression seem to present the world differently from their peers, according to the study, published this week in the journal EPJ Data Science.

“People in our sample who were depressed tended to post photos that, on a pixel-by-pixel basis, were bluer, darker and grayer on average than healthy people,” said Andrew Reece, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University and co-author of the study with Christopher Danforth, a professor at the University of Vermont.

The pair identified participants as “depressed” or “healthy” based on whether they reported having received a clinical diagnosis of depression in the past. They then used machine-learning tools to find patterns in the photos and to create a model predicting depression by the posts.

They found that depressed participants used fewer Instagram filters, those which allow users to digitally alter a photo’s brightness and coloring before it is posted. When these users did add a filter, they tended to choose “Inkwell,” which drains a photo of its color, making it black-and-white. The healthier users tended to prefer “Valencia,” which lightens a photo’s tint.

Depressed participants were more likely to post photos containing a face. But when healthier participants did post photos with faces, theirs tended to feature more of them, on average.

The researchers used software to analyze each photo’s hue, color saturation and brightness, as well as the number of faces it contained. They also collected information about the number of posts per user and the number of comments and likes on each post.

Though they warned that their findings may not apply to all Instagram users, Mr. Reece and Mr. Danforth argued that the results suggest that a similar machine-learning model could someday prove useful in conducting or augmenting mental health screenings.

“We reveal a great deal about our behavior with our activities,” Mr. Danforth said, “and we’re a lot more predictable than we’d like to think.”

Source: New York Times

Why It’s Hot

The link between photos and health is an interesting one to explore. The role of new/alternate technologies (or just creative ways of using existing ones) in identifying illness — whether mental or otherwise — is something we are sure to see more of.

Augmented reality without glasses

Diagram of artificial lense

Artificial lens diagram via techcrunch.com

Six months ago, Omega Ophthalmics did a small trial of seven patients outside of the US. Their goal was to test for adverse effects of a surgery similar to lens replacements that often accompany cataract removals. The difference? Rather than replacing the cloudy lens with a normal artificial lens, surgeons instead implanted a lens that could be used for augmented reality, interactive sensors, or drug delivery.

Why it’s hot

Although widespread adoption of this technology is unlikely in the near future, scientists, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists hope that there is a market for such implants in an aging population that wants to be independent for longer. Whether this small trial is successful may pave the way for larger trials to test additional possibilities and risk.

Learn more at TechCrunch.com

Greatest Ikea hack of all time?



Here’s how Ikea responded to the news that costume designers of Game of Thrones have been cutting corners, using Ikea rugs as pelts and capes for some of its extras.
In the show, the northern-dwelling Nightwatch, led by commander and king of the north Jon Snow, wear animal skins as to not freeze when winter comes. Instead of decking out the soldiers in real pelts, costume designers elected to take a trip to Ikea to buy Peta-approved Faux animal skin rugs.

Why it’s hot?
Real time reaction with an idea that is low cost and pulled together in a couple of hours

Source: The Drum

R.I.P Cable

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the company is ending its licensing deal with Netflix and will start offering Disney and Pixar movies on a Disney-branded subscription service starting in 2019. Iger also said that Disney is launching an ESPN OTT service.

“This acquisition and the launch of our direct-to-consumer services mark an entirely new growth strategy for the company, one that takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands,” said Iger.

In the U.S. the new Disney app will be the exclusive, subscription video-on-demand home to upcoming releases such as the Frozen sequel, Toy Story 4, and the live-action version of The Lion King. It will also offer access to Disney’s library of TV shows and movies, as well as new, original Disney shows and movies that will be created for the service.

The ESPN-branded, multi-sporting app, will launch in early 2018 and will include about 10,000 live games from major sporting leagues as well as collegiate sports. So far, there’s no word yet as to whether NFL or NBA games will be on the service. The new app is an “enhanced” version of the current ESPN app, which will continue to allow pay TV subscribers access to ESPN programming.

Why it’s hot:

This puts one of the final nails in cable’s coffin. Recent research states that declines for second quarter of 2017 came close to a million subscribers with Dish Network, DirectTV, and AT&T hit especially hard. This cannot be helping their case. However, this makes for a much better customer experience – providing their preferred shows and programs at their fingertips!

Source: Fast Company

Wearables and a Study That Could Change Healthcare

Watch Video Here:

https://www.joinallofus.org/

The people who wear wearables have a chance to participate in a biomedical research project of epic proportion. The “All of Us” study from the National Institute of Health goes beyond the longitudinal standard to create an entirely new research infrastructure replete with a shared dataset for years to come. They are asking for a million volunteers to share a diverse array of personal information to help pave the way for personalized medicine.

Why it’s Hot:

As the public—and healthcare professionals—become progressively more comfortable with data collection, analysis, and sharing, opportunities in precision medicine and advanced research grow. By learning as much as we can from increasingly comprehensive and diverse audiences, the opportunity to provide the right patient with the right information regarding the right treatments also grows.

Source: https://www.klick.com/health/news/blog/mhealth/wearables-and-precision-medicine/?utm_campaign=blog_promotion&utm_medium=klick_wire&utm_source=klickhealth&utm_content=mspitz_precision_20170714

 

Microchip Implants for Employees? One Company Says Yes

On Aug. 1, employees at Three Square Market, a technology company in Wisconsin, can choose to have a chip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger. Once that is done, any task involving RFID technology — swiping into the office building, paying for food in the cafeteria — can be accomplished with a wave of the hand.

The program — a partnership between Three Square Market and the Swedish company Biohax International — is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, but it has already been done at a Swedish company, Epicenter. It raises a variety of questions, both privacy- and health-related.

“Much to my surprise, when we had our initial meeting to ask if this was something we wanted to look at doing, it was an overwhelming majority of people that said yes,” said Todd Westby, the chief executive of Three Square, noting that he had expected more reluctance. “It exceeded my expectations. Friends, they want to be chipped. My whole family is being chipped — my two sons, my wife and myself.”

Flawless live translation technology might be closer than we think

iTranslate has launched a new app, called Converse, that seeks to speed up live translations and make the process more human and enjoyable. The simple interface is designed to be used without having to stare at your screen. With no clunky interface to grapple with, and over 40 languages automatically recognized by the system, anyone can quickly start translating themselves and others to be better understood.

Why it’s hot:

Converse brings translations to users in a way that is human-focused rather than technology focused. While other companies have attempted live translations, setting up and accessing these programs is usually too complicated to do in the heat of the moment. By making the software more accessible, people are more likely to use it.

Why it’s maybe not:

Because this app is so new, there are still some kinks to work out. Language and localization is notoriously difficult (think early Siri trying to understand Scots), and some of the translation algorithms just aren’t quite there yet. This seems to be the universal story for translation programs, even iTranslate’s other eponymous app.

Read more here https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/3/16076084/itranslate-app-real-time-translation

Amazon makes their own version of the P.O Box

Amazon now it wants to play an even more involved role in how packages are delivered. The company’s latest product, called Hub, is designed to act like a mailbox–not just for Amazon mail, but for any packages or deliveries. While it does not have AI-powered capabilities and it is not a large acquisition, it is a look at where Amazon is headed.

Hub is targeted primarily at residential building owners, and it promises that all packages from any sender will be stored safely and securely. Instead of having packages left at your door, in your lobby, or with a concierge desk, they’re placed within Hub, which has differently sized compartments designed to accommodate most packages. To access your package, you simply enter an access code and one of Hub’s doors will pop open.

Hub aims to fix one of the few areas of package delivery that Amazon doesn’t yet control: the final step between delivery and your actual home. It provides a convenient solution for packages getting delayed because of building hours, lost packages, or theft.

Why it’s hot:

  • One more step to Amazon take-over of all consumer retail interactions – you do not even have to shop on Amazon to interact with them now
  • Might have special implications for Amazon Prime subscribers
  • Whole Foods implications – could make grocery delivery even more appealing – helping food stay fresh

Source: Fast Company

Humanscale’s Design Tool for Ergonomic Data

Humanscale is an analog tool used by industrial designers in the 70’s and 80’s as a reference tool to quick human focused data points. It was originally created by Henry Dreyfuss & Associates (HDA), the creators of iconic designs such as the Honeywell thermostat and Bell’s tabletop telephone. Henry Dreyfuss was an advocate for ergonomics and compiled Humanscale because there was no central place for ergonomic data. For example, if you wanted to know the dimensions of the average North American man’s leg, you could reference military records. Another example is that they learned that the average height of a fedora was 2 inches, which would be important when considering door measurements.

MIT stopped producing them in the mid 1980’s and they became a collectors item. Now, IA Collaborative, a global design consultancy created a Kickstarter to reprint Humanscale. Their long-term plans are to also create an interactive interface for this data.

Overview of the 9 selectors:

You can slide the selector to adjust data points for different demographics:

So these selectors can be used to design for a multitude of products.

Why it’s hot: The ability to reference key ergonomic data points is crucial to the design of industrial and digital products. These can be useful tools to many types of designers. In addition, the graphic design of the selectors are really cool! The slider seems very intuitive and fun to interact with. It optimizes how the information is displayed.

The Void is Making a Location-Based Star Wars VR Experience at Disney

The Void is known for making “Hyper-Reality” experiences, much more involved than your standard VR experience. The Ghostbusters experience they have in NYC (Which i still haven’t gone to but totes want to if anyone wants to make the field trip) involves users actually physically walking around a plywood maze while wearing HTC Vives, haptic feedback vests, and unique controllers to fully immerse users in the experience. They also have environmental effects like changes in temperature, fans to simulate windy areas, furniture and other props for users to touch and feel like what they see in VR is really there in front of them.

Ghostbusters VR Experience for Reference:

Why It’s Hot:

  • The Void was a startup not that long ago with big dreams that seemed impossible, now they have 4 successful location-based VR experiences in 4 major cities and opening a new one at the holy grail of experiences, Disney.
  • They seem to be the leaders now in this Location-Based VR experiences.
  • Great reference when create completely immersive VR experiences for users.

More Info Here.

 

 

Using Social Listening to Track Russian Bots

Project Hamilton68 knows what Russia is thinking…by topic trend. The group, taking their name from Alexander Hamilton, known for having written 68 Federalist papers, around the theme of foreign interference, is taking to Twitter to sus out themes among the 600 Russian bots that they have identified.

The Hamilton 68 dashboard, a project with the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, seeks to expose the effects of online influence networks and inform the public of themes and content being promoted to Americans by foreign powers.

 

The dashboard illustrates the themes that Vladimir Putin is promoting to Americans in pursuit of his foreign policy objectives–including the break up of the European Union, the dissolution of NATO and the failure of democratic governance in the United States specifically and in the West broadly.

http://dashboard.securingdemocracy.org/

Why it’s hot

We need tools to defend ourselves from the real fake news. This line of defense is built from the same stuff the bots are built from. We can use data to protect ourselves from whatever other hack related news is in our future.

Designer Babies

Researchers in Oregon report they have successfully genetically modified a human embryo (don’t worry, they were destroyed a couple of days later). They used a technique known as CRISPR where gene-editing chemicals are injected into a human egg at the moment of fertilization. In this case, scientists were correcting DNA errors present in the father’s sperm.

This is the first time this experiment is conducted in the US, researchers here have been watching in awe, envy and with alarm as the procedure was previously attempeted in China.

It is believed the US team has broken new ground due to the number of embryos experimented on as well as the ability to safely and efficiently correcting defective genes that cause inherited diseases. This is the first of many milestones to be reached in creating genetically modified humans.

Why it’s hot: 

  • The objective of human gene modification is to potentially erradicate or correct genes that cause hereditary diseases.

Why it’s not hot: 

  • Eliminating hereditary diseases is one thing, creating designer babys a whole other ethical debate.

An idea that made all sharks bite

Two Columbia University architecture students designed a light weight solar lantern to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, bringing light to dangerous conditions at night in the tent cities. Because the product is rooted in human needs, it is now also used by hikers, backpackers and emergency workers.

Why it’s hot: they built a product and business based on a simple, basic human need that’s often forgotten by many – light.