Ear Buds That Translate In Real-Time

The gadget straight out of science fiction has come to life, and all you need are WaverlyLab’s Pilot earpieces and a smartphone app. Designed as a pair of linked earpieces, Pilot connects to an app that uses speech recognition and machine translation to convert spoken language. It removes the awkwardness of phrase books or smartphone apps by playing a translated version directly to the listener. Strong dialects or local accents, however, could pose difficulties, but Waverly Labs claims the machine translation will improve with use.

Why It’s Hot:

To start with, it will be able to translate English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese, and the company plans to add more languages later on. Even if it lags and stutters, Waverly Labs’s Pilot is a remarkable invention that could change what it means to be a student, tourist, immigrant, and refugee. It could allow for more substantive engagement with the world.

 

 

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure with Puss in Boots

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Netflix announced an experiment in interactive storytelling earlier this week with the children’s programs Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile. The shows, which offer thousands of permutations, bring the “choose your own adventure” format to internet TV and give the chance for the viewer to be the director. Netflix has proven an ideal platform to test this out on for a variety of reasons: its large user base, its original programming and the fact that a show does not need to start or end at a certain time.

It works like this: at certain, predetermined points in the story, Netflix pauses the tale and offers you a choice. Should Puss (from Shrek) befriend the bears he just encountered, or fight them? Your choice dictates his next move, and changes the arc of the story. Puss in Book offers viewers 13 opportunities to shape the story, which features two possible endings. It can be as little 18 minutes, or as long as 39. There are three thousand possible variations of how the story could go. Buddy Thunderstruck will provide eight opportunities to make a decision, an average length of 12 minutes.

Netflix explains that they started with children’s shows because “Kids’ content is essentially cheap to make, it also is more resistant to changing tastes and trends than other genres. All of which is to say, it’s the perfect laboratory for experimentation.”

Why it’s hot:

  • Increases engagement: this challenges the conventional way of watching TV or movies by forcing the audience to interact with the content in an exciting way
  • Increases data points: this could create a large amount of data for Netflix regarding: how many people are making active choices, what choices, are they re-watching the show at a later point in time?
  • While this likely won’t catch on with mainstream audience, this could create a new niche of Netflix viewers

Source: Wired

 

Amazon Goes Offline with a Physical Bookstore

After helping drive many U.S. bookstore chains out of business, Amazon has been opening its own retail stores recently.

Its first Amazon Books location in New York City opened in Manhattan’s Shops at Columbus Circle, which was previously home to a pretty large — and now closed — Borders Books and Music.

A customer review, the number of total Amazon.com reviews and a star rating are displayed under each book on the shelf. All the books in the store either received four-star ratings and above on Amazon.com, or come from lists of best sellers or a hand-curated selection of new, yet-to-be reviewed titles.

The brick-and-mortar locations aim to provide a “mecca of discovery” for book lovers, according to Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books. The books all have the covers, not the spines, facing out, to encourage browsing —even though the store could have fit as many as 5,000 more titles if books were displayed the conventional way, Cast said.

Why It’s Hot:

Though it’s possible to check out like a regular bookstore, Amazon Books offers significant discounts to Amazon Prime members. This provides a strong incentive for customers to join Amazon Prime — a program that analysts say prompts more spending on Amazon.com.

Experts say that by converting just two or three dozen customers a day to Prime would result in a tremendous growth in revenue. Customer lifetime value for most Amazon customers is in the low thousands of dollars.

Amazon is rolling out a Dash Wand with Alexa to make you buy everything

ake Amazon wants its Prime subscribers ordering from its online store all the time, so it just cooked up a new device to help them do exactly that — and it’s essentially giving it away for free.

The company just launched a new instant-ordering gadget, the Dash Wand, that lets you fill up your Amazon shopping cart by using voice commands or scanning barcodes on the packages you have sitting in your kitchen cupboards.

The Dash Wand is essentially an updated version of the OG Amazon Dash wand that debuted in 2015, but this newer version crucially adds Amazon’s artificially intelligent assistant, Alexa, to help out. The digital assistant can sync your shopping list across Amazon devices, convert units of measurement, and search for recipes.

This is a huge upgrade for Amazon’s instant-ordering devices. The original Dash was significantly bigger, cost more than twice as much as this new one, and only worked with AmazonFresh orders.

Amazon’s really pushing the Wand, offering a similar deal to previous promotions for its instant ordering Dash buttons. If you buy a Dash Wand for $20,  you’ll qualify immediately for $20 credit for your next purchase after registering the device. It literally pays for itself — and you can opt-in for a free 90-day AmazonFresh trial, which typically costs $15 per month. It’s actually a pretty great deal for anyone with a Prime subscription.

The Wand is also magnetic, so it can live on your fridge close to all of your most frequently ordered foods, and its Alexa access makes it more useful than the Dash buttons, which are restricted to one item instant ordering.

You don’t get the full Alexa experience here, though. The Wand can’t play music, and its press-button functionality means it won’t automatically respond to the genial “Hey, Alexa” wake command.

It might sound ridiculous that the company is essentially giving the Wands away with all the discounts and incentives, but it’s a savvy business move. Making the shopping experience easier and offering a new Alexa toy to play with will only drive up orders, as if Amazon needs any help to keep its business afloat.

Source: Mashable

Why It’s Hot

Connected AI experiences make the virtual assistant craze more useful. Amazon is pushing forward on many different ways to connect Alexa with other platforms, and this is a great example of a type of utility that in a few years we will wonder how we lived without.

 

Can these 5 Brain Hacking companies give us immortality?

Brain-hacking? Kind of a Frankenstein term.

The human brain has 100 billion neurons firing away all day and night. Can they be channeled, stimulated or directed in some way that benefits society? No surprise, here comes Elon Musk and Neuralink. His and four other companies are all approaching the idea that human-machine interface can change everything — especially for those suffering neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, these could be life transforming.

Here is Elon’s mission statement (and this site is a one-pager!): Neuralink is developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers. Initially, the Brain Computer Interface (BCIs) will be used for medical research, but the ultimate goal is to prevent humans from becoming obsolete, by enabling people to merge with artificial intelligence — perhaps even avoiding death.

Sounds amazing…but what does it really mean? Basically, why is this hot?

First, because they all seem to be heading towards an even more grandiose vision; avoiding death. No joke.

Second, the four companies means the competition is real:

FACEBOOK: a few weeks after Neuralink was launched, they announced an initiative to “let people type their thoughts”. Imagine a child with autism, someone with a mental disorder, so many sufferers, being able to “speak” this way. The news reports say it will take two years for a prototype medical implant and is being developed in their top secret Building 8 facility.

KERNEL: Kernel plans to build a flexible platform for recording and stimulating neurons, with the goal of treating diseases such as depression and Alzheimer’s. 

EMOTIV: (Their home page says it all):

EMOTIV Mental Commands and SDKs makes our technology an highly effective Brain-Computer-Interface and can put EMOTIV at the center of the Internet of Things and the ability to control the world around you.

DARPA: Ok, the government, but still, they are investing in several companies to develop a device that will record 1 million neurons and stimulate 100,000 in the brain. DARPA wants it the size of a nickel. Since they ‘invented’ the Internet, I’d say they have a good chance of pulling it off.

I encourage you all to visit their web sites and learn more. After all, can brain hacking help us live forever? Or is it hype?

 

Condoms or IUD? Ask Tia…

Ask Tia is an iOS app designed to assist and inform women about reproductive and sexual health. Through personal, private text-based conversations, users can find the best birth control, get answers to sexual health questions, find doctors, and track periods and symptoms. It’s the first product from Tia, a company “for millennials by millennials” that aims to help women make informed healthcare decisions.

Tia

Building a trusting relationship with an app isn’t easy. Tia has prioritized personalizing the information for each user. Even a simple question about missing a birth control pill has several factors (type of pill, where in your cycle, etc.), which is why Tia’s guiding questions and personalized assessments so much more valuable than, say, a Google search.

“Our goal is to expand Tia to be your comprehensive go-to women’s health assistant for all of your health care information needs,” says Witte, Tia’s co-founder and CEO.

https://magenta.as/simplifying-the-search-for-birth-control-with-a-conversational-interface-e98d0b2a5af1

Why It’s Hot
Sexual health support made accessible through behavioral insight? Yes please.

Warby Parker Just Made Getting A Prescription A Lot Easier

Usually, completing a vision test for new glasses requires a trip to the optometrist and the glasses store.  Warby Parker, which started out as a try-before-you-buy mail-order eyeglasses company, is currently looking to use devices you already have in your home to help you get a new pair of glasses without having to drive to a doctor. If you have an expired vision prescription, you can use an iPhone, a computer and about 12 feet of space to find out if your vision has changed since your last exam.

VIDEO HERE!

Why It’s Hot:

Warby Parker has been working on this technology since 2015, while other companies, like Smart Vision Labs, have found ways to use mobile phones for in-store eye exams in 2016. It is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam if your vision has changed since your last one, but those of us who just want to grab a new pair of frames based on a still-valid expired prescription can do so from the comfort of our own home.

Framer adds design suite and tackles responsive design

Framer, a prototyping software that started out as a web app, finally adds a design suite of its own. Framer carved out its niche in the battle for the best prototyping solution by allowing designers to get deeper into animations, transitions, and interactivity. The cost was that designers needed to get down and dirty with Coffeescript, a tall order for designers who may or may not be familiar with HTML or CSS. This also invariably sparked a conversation about whether designers (UX or otherwise) should learn to code. Framer finally started to bridge that gap by offering first Sketch/Photoshop integration to handle design, and tons of tutorial videos to get designers started. Now it provides its heavily Sketch-inspired design workspace to let designers handle the visuals before flipping to Code to define interactivity.

Framer also teased options for designing responsiveness, allowing designers to set rules for how elements on a page change as the screen size changes. Framer has defined itself by focusing on really in-depth mobile (especially native) prototyping. It’ll be really interesting to see it evolve further along with competitors such as Axure, Craft, and the impending release of Adobe XD.

Alexa, tell Seamless I’m hungry

You can now reorder Seamless with Alexa.

From Amazon.com: Reorder meals for delivery or takeout in seconds from all your favorite Seamless restaurants.

This is a hands-free time saver for Seamless customers — and getting started is easy! Just enable the skill, link your Seamless account, and say “Alexa, open Seamless,” or “Alexa, tell Seamless I’m hungry.”

If you’re a first-time user, Alexa will ask for your preferred delivery address and payment type. Just select your preferences to complete setup. You’ll be able to enjoy the convenience of re-ordering your favorite dishes and meals with Alexa anytime.

The skill’s easiest to use — and the most beneficial for you — if you’ve ordered more than three meals with your Seamless.com account and have one or more current credit/debit cards linked to your account. As long as you have an order history, you can use the skill. Of course, it may be more fun for you if you have many past orders.

Source: Seamless.com

Why It’s Hot

We’re on the lookout for real utility this smart home and voice assistant technology. This is pretty lazy — but pretty cool.

Via putting customers first

Via asked riders to share their ideas and insights to improve the experience. The fist thing they’re implementing is to make all rides to the airport ViaExpress, which means once someone hops on board, the driver will never make more than one additional pickup. He’ll also take the fastest route he can find.

http://mailchi.mp/ridewithvia/happy-earth-day-see-how-youve-helped-the-planet-by-riding-via-n5vj8s3jiw-711557?e=9c87c0722a

 

Beyond The Pill is moving to Game On!

Can conservative Pharma companies becomes Gamers? Although a large investment by Merck and AMGEN was announced several months ago, the repercussions are now being felt. This could help open up the long pent-up demand for innovation by Pharma manufacturers.

The investment news came last summer, as quoted in FierceBiotech: “Akili Interactive Labs, the Boston-based startup developing nonpharmacological therapeutics for various cognitive disorders like autism and Alzheimer’s disease, got an $11.9 million boost in funding, raising its total Series B proceeds to $42.4 million.” Basically, they use gamification to improve cognitive function.

Recently, the new Pharma and gamer partners announced their first accomplishment, EVO, the game:

The first game application for children with a cognitive disorder has proven highly effective. This gives the marketers a differentiating aspect to their Rx. Being a fact-based industry, this is big news.

Why is this hot?

  • The terms “Beyond The Pill” has become the industries code for “innovation” — trying to offer some technology or service to make their drug stand-out in the minds of doctors and consumers. “Innovation” is a word that is intensely frightening to most Pharma marketers. For several years, as more and more blockbusters (drugs with sales over $1 billion) become generics (70% of ALL drugs are now generics), Pharma has been haphazardly explored partnerships and technologies, but has often failed due to cultural entropy and conservatism in the C-suite. This is a first.
  • Change needs to come from the C-suite: $11 million is a lot of money, especially for an industry so conservative and ROI-obsessed.  Every company, even MRM-McCann clients, are looking for ways to engage patients from clinical trials through drug adherence — the entire product lifecycle.
  • I have been “selling” into one of our Pharma clients an Artificial Intelligence platform from a company that did Sgt Star on the U.S. Army site; we have had several meetings to try and issue AI as their Beyond The Pill strategy for launch of a new ADHD drug; this success with Akili may make that path easier.

Zuckerberg Announces 3,000 New Moderator Hires Post-Heartbreaking Videos

Over the past few weeks, there have been too many FB posts of people posting content of them hurting themselves or others.  Mark Zuckerburg stated:

“If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly. We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner — whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down. Over the next year, we’ll be adding 3,000 people to our community operations team around the world — on top of the 4,500 we have today — to review the millions of reports we get every week, and improve the process for doing it quickly.”

Why It’s Hot:

Facebook has a tremendous amount of clout, and I’m glad that they’re taking a stance and moving quickly on improving brand safety.  People’s abilities to post anything on social media is great for the most part, but also should not be a venue for people to act violently and be rewarded by free press.  Facebook taking a stance for keeping their site safe is important- especially in this time where brand safety is so important.

Source

Bank Account Will Tell You If You’re Buying Ethically

United Airlines and Pepsi are recent entries to a long list of companies consumers would rather shy away from. Boycotting has become the normal response to companies that earn public scorn. Despite its popularity, voting with one’s wallet is still a cumbersome process. Financial services startup Aspiration is trying to automate the process. Every swipe of their debit card will trigger a background check on the company you’re buying from.

The Aspiration debit card ranks the merchants using hundreds of data points. A Fast Company report details that each establishment earn points in two main categories: People and Planet. The People score is affected by how company treats its employees and the community it belongs to. The Planet score gives a number to the environmental impact a brand or product has. The system is called the Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM).

In the mobile app, users will have an overview of their average scores which they can compare with other people. Through the use of qualitative data, ethical consumerism becomes more attainable.

Source: PSFK

Why it’s hot

Ethical buying is not new, but because of social media, now everyone is judging and watching our choices and brands’ choices. The principle of social proof is rampant. At the same time, people want things now – faster, easier and mobile. This innovation combines both to encourage behavior shifts.

Going Digital to Rescue Food

About 40 percent of all food in America is wasted. Much of it ends up in landfills, where it emits dangerous-to-the-planet methane gas. At the same time, one out of eight American households don’t have enough to eat.

Wasted food. Hungry people. How do we get the two to meet?

Last month, food rescue made a leap to a national scale. Feeding America matches donors and recipients with an algorithm. A restaurant can go on Meal Connect to post an offer of, say, eight trays of fried chicken and biscuits. Meal Connect will automatically match that offer with the closest food pantry or soup kitchen that can get it up right away.

Feeding America

Meal Connect makes it possible to rescue prepared food and smaller quantities of food — and to do so quickly. “This allows us to provide real hot meals — virtually at the same time that someone coming off the street and paying for it would get it,” she said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/02/opinion/going-digital-to-rescue-food.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0

Why It’s Hot
When the scale and reach of digital is brought to bear on social issues, huge problems become more surmountable.

Doctors media preferences…Social? Maybe. Print and email? Yes!

When  it comes to digital adoption, it seems a no-brainer; isn’t everyone engaged? No. A notable exception are medical professionals. Doctors and nurses (NP/PA’s) tend to lean towards the conservative — not only politically, but in terms of their digital adoption. A recent study by HealthLink Dimensions, an email list and Big Data firm, produced a study on their information-gathering preferences among 700 medical professionals.

Email may seems so…yesterday. Yet, 75% of NPs and PAs and 66% of MDs prefer email for communication regarding the following:

• Industry news

• Product updates

• Research opportunities

What device is favored for reading email? Specifically, almost 52% of NPs/PAs and 46% of MDs utilize mobile devices; while almost 53% of NPs/PAs and 51% of MDs use desktop computers to comb through their emails.

Social Media? They love their closed, private peer-to-peer communities, such as SERMO (600K doctors)

Per the survey, 66% of NPs/PAs and 63% of MDs don’t use social media to communicate with patients. Instead, only one-third of these medical professionals are active on social media – mainly Twitter, LinkedIn, SERMO and Doximity – primarily for networking with their colleagues and peers

Last is print: 50% of NPs/PAs and 46% of MDs frequently use printed materials provided to their practices

Why is this hot? As with all customers we strategically serve, their content consumption habits have a major impact upon our planning. Knowing this, we must always realize to be customer-centric is to not fall in love with a shiny media object or a cool platform…

  • Time is a critical factor for HCP’s which drive what they consume and how; with an average of less than 15 minutes per patient, you know when it is a mobile device, they are on the move, doing rounds, trying to solve problems in real-time; your content and experience should embrace that. So, snippets of content are smart when you want them to be consumed at POC (Point-of-Care); conversely, HCP’s often have to consume intense medical journals, clinical studies and dense scientific content, which requires a desktop or laptop
  • Using Performance/Analytics to see how your clients’ content is consumed by time and device provides an invaluable insight into content strategy; if you want it to be useful in the NOW, then snippets, mobile-first; if you want to provide deeper content, then plan for desktop, but always offer email/download functions to account for mobile

 

 

Mario Kart Takes Over Target

As I walked into Target last weekend, a familiar sound greeted me- the sound of a Mario Kart race beginning.  I had no idea why until now!

With the launch of Mario Kart 8 on the new Nintendo Switch, Nintendo wanted to promote the brand in a big way by having a big out of home campaign in Target.  As you enter the store, you’re greeted by the countdown to a Mario Kart race.

Some of the shopping carts are outfitted as Mario Karts, as well as some cool things interspersed throughout the store as well.

Why It’s Hot

This is a creative out of home execution that I’ve never seen done at this level before, especially in partnership with a given store.  With the flop of the recent Nintendo NES Mini due to huge scale/distribution issues, I just hope that Nintendo has the supply to keep up with the level of demand that this promotion brings!

Source

Samsung’s app for users who can no longer read, write or speak

Aphasia is a disorder usually caused by brain injury or disease whose effects can include losing the ability to read, write and speak. Aphasic patients can still comprehend visual cues like symbols, gestures and facial expressions, and written language aside, are able to fully function and communicate.

By mapping series of emojis to everyday human actions and needs, Samsung’s Wemogee app provides a visual interface for aphasic patients to communicate with friends and family. Aphasic users enter emojis into Wemogee, the app translates the visual entries into sentences for their friends and family, and vice versa, helping bridge their gaps in expression and communication.

It is still all too common for websites and apps to consider accessibility and special needs as an afterthought. It’s especially refreshing to see an app created to help a specific group of humans who would normally be ignored in these spaces.

Original article

Now there’s a dating app in Slack




The dating app Feeld, previously known as 3nder and commonly known as “Tinder for threesomes,” has just announced a Slack integration – “Feeld for Slack

According to the Feeld, the bot works like this — just open a direct message conversation with Feeld and @-mention someone you “have feelings for.” For them to find out that you did that, they’ll have to initiate a conversation with the bot and mention you. Otherwise, Feeld promises, your secret dies in Slack. It doesn’t mention how long the bot will wait for your crush to reciprocate.

Why it’s hot?
What could possibly go wrong?

Facebook’s latest superpower: mind reading

So Facebook is developing a way for users to type and create posts with their mind. Not even your mind is safe anymore, Facebook wants it.

Stanford University researchers have already created a system that allows paralyzed patients type eight words per minute using only thought, although that is achieved via an invasive implanted electrode array.

Building 8’s provisions, it is claimed, will be entirely non-invasive, and optimize human function, for instance allowing people to type faster than they would physically, up to as much as 100 words per minute or more.

Even though this is decades away from being streamlined and super available there has been huge backlash from people in regards to ethical, legal, and social implications. It’s been reported that this type of technology may start out in the form of smart clothes, where smart clothes transit data.. instead of your mind.

Why its hot?

  • Aside from Facebook, only one other person is developing this type of technology. Elon Musk is creating his own brain-computer interface with a new venture called Neuralink.
  • When this technology becomes accessible, it will change everything. Who knows how many other companies will have developed similar device/tech.
  • How can we create strategies around this tech? How much data will be collected? So many questions…

Source: http://www.adweek.com/digital/facebook-is-working-on-technology-that-lets-you-type-and-control-vr-devices-with-your-mind/

Can 4/20 Be the Healthiest Day of the Year?

When people think about 4/20, they’re probably not thinking of healthy activities, but cannabis health and wellness company, Hmbldt wants to change that—with the help of their products, of course.

The company’s product line consists of vape pens that are designed to distribute controlled hits of cannabis designed to help to alleviate common ailments such as pain and insomnia — without getting its consumers high.

Yesterday, the company rolled out “GO420,” a social effort that will highlight 420 healthy ways to enjoy April 20 via the hashtag #GO420. Gifs and videos offer tips like “Go make a dream come true,” “Go take a pottery class,” “Go tell your partner you love them,” “Go do push-ups in the park,” “Go tell your partner a sexy secret.”

Why It’s Hot

  • Putting the consumer first by leveraging what is likely their biggest moment and making it about personal health rather than buying a product.
  • Campaigns like this create excellent affinity and lifelong ambassadors for a brand.

Imagining What Radio of the Third Reich Would Be Like

The Man in the High Castle is an Amazon Original series based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name, which imagines what the world (America, in particular) might look like if the Axis powers had won World War II.

To promote the show, Amazon Studios – the company’s film and series production arm – created a radio station that airs music and commentary from the world of The Man in the High Castle. Resistance Radio features four hours of original audio narrative from hosts broadcasting messages of hope and rebellion for an America ruled by Japan and Nazi Germany’s Axis powers

Why It’s Hot:

The immersive, transmedia experience takes an element of the series – the music – to bring the show to life. The music is recorded and performed the way music pre-1960 would have been. It also includes interludes and radio hosts promoting and/or speaking out against the fictional government to imitate the feeling of the show. Amazon has also taken into account the producers (Dangermouse/Sam Cohen) and artists (Beck, The Shins, Sharon Von Etten) of the music which lean a bit more indie and young to try and attract a younger audience that may not already be familiar with the show.

MasterCard trials biometric bankcard with embedded fingerprint reader

MasterCard is trialling a Chip and PIN bankcard that includes an embedded fingerprint reader, introducing a biometric authentication layer for card payments — and taking a leaf out of the book of Apple Pay et al in the process. The thinking here being: why pay by entering a four-digit PIN when you can stick your thumb on it?

So far the biometric card has been trialled at two locations in South Africa, with additional trials planned over the next few months in Europe and Asia Pacific, according to a spokeswoman, and a full rollout expected later this year.

“We are targeting consumer rollout by end of 2017 through issuers that choose to offer biometric cards,” she told us.

MasterCard is touting convenience and security as the drivers for embedding a fingerprint sensor in plastic bankcards — after all, you can’t shoulder-surf a fingerprint as you can a PIN number. Although the use of contactless payment technology in bankcards (a tech that’s widespread in Europe) already offers a faster (and usually PIN-less) way to make card payments.

That said, there are some security risks with contactless payments, given there’s usually no authentication performed — so there could be an advantage to combining a contactless bankcard with a biometric one that also contains a fingerprint sensor in order to get speedy payments with at least a layer of security. (Although mobile fingerprint sensors have been shown to be spoofable. So the size of the sensor and the process for capturing a user’s print during enrollment are key considerations here.)

In this instance the MasterCard trial bankcard does not include contactless payment technology — but the spokeswoman told us that a future version will include contactless “adding to the simplicity, and convenience at checkout”.

For now, testers are required to insert the card into the POS terminal and then place their finger/thumb on the reader to authenticate the payment, as pictured above (vs entering a PIN into the keypad in the usual way).

The spokeswoman said the card is configured to expect the fingerprint for authenticating a purchase but does still have a PIN as a fall-back. “If the finger is too greasy or sweaty and the biometric doesn’t go through, the cardholder would experience a small delay and then asked to put in their PIN to complete the transaction,” she added. “The PIN also allows cardholders to use the card at ATMs globally.”

One relatively large drawback for the convenience of the biometric card is that the spokeswoman confirmed users are currently required to go to a bank branch in order to register and enroll their fingerprint. (Which is then converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card.) Whereas bankcard users are normally mailed both their card and its PIN through the post so there’s no need to go to a branch to register before being able to use the card.

When asked about this the spokeswoman said MasterCard is “exploring ways to make remote registration possible”. Although again, while remote registration would be more convenient it could also open up the possibility for vulnerabilities with the implementation of the biometric technology — depending on how the fingerprint enrollment is performed.

One thing is clear, global payments giants are taking plenty of inspiration from mobile tech.

 

Source: TechCrunch

Why it’s Hot: 

Payment technology and security need to evolve hand in hand, or finger to finger so to speak. Using our bodies with technology is something we have talked about before, and I am intereted to see where this technology goes.

Infield Chatter Social Network Lets MLB Players Interact With Fans

The Major League Baseball Players Association launched this week, Infield Chatter, a social media app that lets players interact with fans. Infield Chatter already has more than 1,000 players on board, which means all the players on Major League Baseball’s 40-man rosters for each of its 30 teams are signed on. (MLBPA says about 500 major leaguers are on the site, but minor leaguers and retired players can also contribute.) “We asked for a better way to communicate directly with fans and learn more about them, and make it easy for them to learn more about us,” Minnesota Twins pitcher Hector Santiago said via email. “We believe this is the way to go, a true baseball community so that we can just be ourselves.”

Members of the Infield Chatter community will enjoy special features designed to connect players and fans in a number of ways, including:
•Sharing photos, videos, and original artwork, with the ability for both sides to comment
•Regular video chats, where fans and players can conduct two-way Q&A sessions
•Hosting contests and competitions, where fans can win “player-hosted experiences,” autographed items and more.

With so many people loyal to massive platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, it’s hard to persuade even die-hard fans to download yet another app. However, the association is pitching Infield Chatter as a way to hone in on its specific audience, as fans increasingly want details about players’ lives outside of the game.

Why It’s Hot

The MLBPA said the Infield Chatter app was created at the request of MLB players, who wanted a better way to interact with their fans. The app meshes well with MLB’s own initiatives to create youth appeal for a sport that is losing younger fans. Infield Chatter reaches a distinct, pinpointed community in ways that social media can’t. In a press release, Kris Bryant, a player for the Chicago Cubs, commented on the app: Every player understands how important it is to connect with the fans. They’re the main reason this game is so special. The fact that Infield Chatter was built with this interaction in mind as the top priority really helps us share and connect in ways that we haven’t been able to anywhere else. Major leaguers who come from around the world – with numerous differing interests and insights – will now be able to engage with fans on a host of subjects, all in the palm of their hand.

Today, To die. Google home can recognize multiple voices

Google Home can now be trained to identify the different voices of people you live with. Today Google announced that its smart speaker can support up to six different accounts on the same device. The addition of multi-user support means that Google Home will now tailor its answers for each person and know which account to pull data from based on their voice. No more hearing someone else’s calendar appointments.

So how does it work? When you connect your account on a Google Home, we ask you to say the phrases “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” two times each. Those phrases are then analyzed by a neural network, which can detect certain characteristics of a person’s voice. From that point on, any time you say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” to your Google Home, the neural network will compare the sound of your voice to its previous analysis so it can understand if it’s you speaking or not. This comparison takes place only on your device, in a matter of milliseconds.

Why it’s hot?
-Everyone in the family gets a personal assistant.
-Imagine how it might work in a small business / office
-Once it starts recognizing more than six voices, can every department have its own AI assistant?

#NuggsForCarter

Wendy’s has struck social media gold thanks to a Nevada teenager. If you haven’t heard of #NuggsforCarter by now you must not be on Twitter. The hashtag began rising in popularity after high-schooler Carter Wilkerson innocently sent this tweet:

Wendy’s quickly responded “18 million,” thanks to Matt Keck, Wendy’s community manager at digital agency VML.

Other brands jumped in…

And pretty soon, the tweet was getting major media coverage, including in USA Today.

As of midday Wednesday, Mr. Wilkerson’s screenshot of his exchange with Wendy’s has garnered more than 2.6 million retweets, ranking it as the second-most retweeted tweet, according to Favstar. He only trails Ellen DeGeneres’s famous Oscars selfie tweet from 2014, which has 3.35 million retweets. VML projects Mr. Wiklerson’s tweet will eclipse Ellen’s tweet.

Mr. Wilkerson looks like a budding marketing executive. He has seized on the publicity by launching his own website where he is selling apparel like #NuggsforCarter T-shirts.

Why It’s Hot

This is a great case of an innocent tweet going viral.  It demonstrates the power of networks and a brand capitalizing on a small opportunity to get viewability.  Very cool!

Hey can that robot make me live forever?

Robots, nanobots, human-looking robots…the race is on. It’s not a race to market. It’s actually a race to immortality. The Japanese pioneered the robot development as early as 2005…with RI-MAN: 

But the evolution has gone much further and, like so many things, is accelerating.

As the author, Peter Nichol says on CIO.com: Medical nanotechnology is expected to employ nanorobots that will be injected into the patient to perform work at a cellular level. Ingestibles and internables bring forward the introduction of broadband-enabled digital tools that are eaten and “smart” pills that use wireless technology to help monitor internal reactions to medications.

Robotics for healthcare are classified in three main categories of use:

  1. Direct patient care robots: surgical robots (used for performing clinical procedures), exoskeletons (for bionic extensions of self like the Ekso suit), and prosthetics (replacing lost limbs).  Over 500 people a day loses a limb in America with 2 million Americans living with limb loss according to the CDC.
  2. Indirect patient care robots: pharmacy robots (streamlining automation, autonomous robots for inventory control reducing labor costs), delivery robots (providing medical goods throughout a hospital autonomously), and disinfection robots (interacting with people with known infectious diseases such as healthcare-associated infections or HAIs).
  3. Home healthcare robots: robotic telepresence solutions (addressing the aging population with robotic assistance).

Why is this hot?

  • Robotics, pioneered by the Japanese as early as 2005 (RI-MAN above) is fast moving to nurses with human features and AI ability to do Q&A. They are already in research and university hospitals.
  • While the 3 categories are a general framework, the nanobot itself crawling through your bloodstream, checking for cancer cells, knitting your arteries, oxygenating our blood, preventing them from hardening and causing heart disease.
  • For those of you under 30 who think your immortal, you may have a chance.

I leave you with a forward-looking TED TALK on this topic from January, 2017:

 

Google’s Newest Machine Learning A.I. experiment: AutoDraw

“Drawing on your phone or computer can be slow and difficult—so we created AutoDraw, a new web-based tool that pairs machine learning with drawings created by talented artists to help you draw.”

Using machine learning, Google’s new A.I. experiment can predict what you are trying to draw. It’s like auto-complete for drawing icons.

 

Give it a try here: https://autodraw.com

Another A.I. Google experiment that uses the same tech but in more of a gamified way: https://quickdraw.withgoogle.com/

Why it’s hot: Our designers will soon be replaced by robots.

 


TechDay NYC:

ALSO! TechDay, an expo of 600-ish disruptive NYC startups, is on Tuesday at Pier 84 from 10am to 5pm. It’s free but you have to register on the site first! A few of us will be going be going around 3pm if you want to join then or go on your own earlier in the day. It’ll be a good source for some local hotsauce 😉

 

https://techdayhq.com/new-york

Kayak Made It Easier To Secretly Plan Vacations At Work

Tired of not so subtly switching tabs every time your boss walks by? Kayak feels your pain and wants to help you sneakily plan your vacation while at work with a desktop tool that makes their interface look like an excel spreadsheet.

This genius marketing idea is right on target with a big chunk of the Kayak demographic, and pokes fun at a universal experience: we all slack off from time to time, and planning a vacation in the office is all too familiar.

After researching their user habits, Kayak found out that 57 percent of Americans plan vacations during the workday with the biggest spike right smack in the middle, between 11 am and 12 pm.

Kayak at Work launched on Friday, March 31, but it’s still up and running—squishing early April Fool’s related suspicions.

“In support of workplace travel planning, we’ve come up with a new version of our desktop site to aid you in your search, whether you need to hide from your boss or just want to look productive,” says the company blog.


Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

Love the consumer-insight-driven angle, even if it is a bit silly. This maaaaybe something I already do on my own but now a brand can help me get there.

 

Earth 2050


Kaspersky has created a map to help people “look back and look forward” simultaneously. Called Earth 2050, the map provides a fascinating glimpse at a future based on predictions from futurists, professionals and members of the public.
https://2050.earth/

It shows groups of yellow and white hexagons, with yellow representing places where cities, objects, and events of the future have been visualised, while white hexagons show predictions without accompanying illustrations. Illustrations can be added by anyone, after being vetted by Kaspersky, and predictions take place in the years 2030, 2040 and 2050. The result is a collection of 360-degree views of cities across the globe showing concepts dreamt up by professional futurologists and designers.

Each city and experience is equipped with predictions from experts at Kaspersky, futurologists, and random site visitors. Predictions range from the believable (humans will live in buildings stocked with amenities so they’ll never need to leave their homes) to the strange (toilets will analyze our poop) to the ambitious (students will be able to choose what time they go to school, thanks to pop-up hologram teachers)

Why its hot?
-Brings diversity of predictions about the future of the world
-Predictions pose a nagging question – “is everything we’re doing today right or not?”
-A through-the-looking-glass effect that makes for an intriguing, if not dystopian, look into 2050.