Amplify the power transportation infrastructure

ViaPass – Designed for their most loyal commuters and to make Via more affordable than ever.

Customers can take unlimited Via rides for a week or a month at any time of day, anywhere below 125th Street in Manhattan and within their service zones in Brooklyn/Queens.

Members can choose between two unlimited-ride options:

  • 7-day unlimited ViaPass for $63+tax
  • 30-day unlimited ViaPass for $234+tax

Other incentives:

  • 20% off the base price on all airport trips
  • 50% off the base price on all trips between Manhattan and Brooklyn/Queens. Rides within Brooklyn/Queens are covered by the ViaPass
  • 50% off the base price on all ViaExpress trips

Why It’s Hot: Disrupting the transportation category including MTA with technology and innovation. Watch out for their IPO.

Let Me Hear Your Tat

Warning: This is either really cool or just a glorified QR code.

We’ve seen tattoos that light up, others that monitor your health and even some that unlock your smartphone. Now we can hear tattoos!

The designs can be made up of any recorded sounds – whether noises, spoken words, music or a combination of these elements – which can they be tattooed onto your skin. They have already received thousands of messages, the majority of inquiries have been about preserving the memory of people who have passed on.

How it works:

  1. Person uploads or records audio (up to 1 min) they want linked to their tattoo onto the Soundwave app or website.
  2. Soundwave creates a unique soundwave template for your tune
  3. Person goes to (licensed) tattoo artist who knows the limitations of altering the design, gets the tat.
  4. A photo of the tattoo is uploaded to the platform
  5. The platform processes the audio and tattoo and adds it to the app.
  6. Any time the user opens the app and points the camera at the tattoo, it will recognize the shape and play back the audio.

 

Why it’s hot: 

  1. Incorporates augmented reality with the human body.
  2. Offers an additional level of personalization to tattoos.

Why it may not be hot: 

  1. No real ground-breaking technology involved, may be more of a gimmick.
  2. How does it deal with copyright?

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

 

 

In Two Shakes of a Lamb’s Tail We’ll be Growing Humans in Fluid Filled Bags

So we’re able to let Lambs develop outside the womb.

Physicians at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia worked with 23 week-old lambs to in order test a synthetic device that imitates a woman’s uterus, hoping to limit mortality and disease in premature children that are born before 37 weeks.

Premature birth is the leading cause of death for newborns. So it makes sense that we try to find a solution, albeit a creepy looking one. In this successful breakthrough, lambs were placed in transparent biobags just 105 days after they started development, which is equivalent to about 22 weeks of human development.

The lambs were kept in the biobags for four weeks. During this time, they grew hair; their lungs developed; and they reached the point where they could survive on their own.

Remarkably, the eight lambs in the trial developed normally in the artificial womb and each survived, proving that the biobag successfully mimicked the natural conditions found in the uterus—and paving the way for a new life-saving device for humans.

Although the fluid-filled plastic enclosure can’t develop a child for an entire nine-month term, it can allow us to incubate them remarkably soon after conception. The team of physicians is already in talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and clinical trials are slated to begin in the next 3 to 5 years.

Image result for the matrix image coming out of the goo

Read more here.

Why it’s hot:

  1. ‘Cause this new device could allow premature babies to develop in natural conditions and maybe avoid a host of chronic health conditions.

IBM Watson’s New Job as Art Museum Guide

For the launch of IBM Watson in Brazil, Ogilvy Brazil created an interactive guide that lets people have conversations with work housed at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo Museum. “The Voice of Art” replaces pre-recorded audio guides with a Watson-powered program that gleans data from books, old newspapers, recent articles, biographies, interviews and the internet.

It took IBM six months to teach Watson how to make sense of all that content. Hosted on cloud platform IBM Bluemix, its AI capabilities were put to work answering spontaneous questions about art by renowned Brazilian creators like Cândido Portinari, Tarsila do Amaral and José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior.

Conversational scope can range from historical and technical facts (like “What technique was used to create this painting?”) to the piece’s relation to contemporary events.

The video below does a nice job of showing how Watson fields natural questions whose answers feel especially relevant to the person asking, creating a unique connection between viewer and piece. In one cool moment, a boy approaches Portinari’s O Mestiço, a 1934 painting of a shirtless mixed-race man against the backdrop of a coffee farm.

When Oglivy found out 72 percent of Brazilians had never been to a museum, they saw an opportunity to make use of Watson’s cognitive intelligence to make their visit very interactive. At the museum’s entrance, visitors receive headphones and a smartphone equipped with the mobile app. As they walk, the app tells them when they’re approaching an art piece they can ask questions about. A separate feature, for hearing-impaired visitors, lets them interact through a built-in written chat tool.

Source: AdWeek

Why it’s hot:

  • This could have a lot of implications for our brands in the future – IBM Watson acting as a tour guide or concierge in different environments could help bridge knowledge gaps for things that need extra explaining, or for consumers that prefer more hands-on experiences.

Bet You Didn’t Know Starbucks Is Teaming Up With Ford and Amazon…

Starbucks announced that it has created a third-party skill for Amazon Alexa, which allows their customers to reorder their favorite drinks and food through the voice recognition technology when you state, “Alexa, order my Starbucks”.

This Alexa skill works through the Starbucks Mobile Order and Pay feature and give customers the benefits of placing an order on the go and pick it up at a nearby location without the hassle of waiting in line.

This summer, Ford will add Alexa to vehicles with its SYNC 3 in-car technology. Ultimately, this will allow drivers/passengers to press a button to ask for directions, sports scores, weather updates and everything else Alexa would normally do or answer. This also means that Ford drivers will be able to place Starbucks orders while they are in their car in a hands free way!

Learn More: http://www.geekwire.com/2017/starbucks-partners-ford-amazon-allow-car-orders-via-alexa/

Why Its Hotstar

Brands are finding new ways for consumers to purchase products, making it more accessible for them. Considering Starbucks doesn’t deliver and customers must drive to their locations to purchase products, this partnership with Ford is such a great opportunity for the brand to capture more sales and mitigate time for costumers waiting in line to place an order.

Alexa voice technology is becoming increasingly popular so it is interesting to learn about how brands will create “skills” within their tool to connect themselves and the consumer through voice.

The Winners and Losers of YouTube’s Brand Saftey Crisis

The ripple of the video giant’s woes has gotten so great that some have predicted the impact from major brands could cost YouTube $750 million. Seemingly, there are some that are happy when such a kink in the armor is exposed, but there are myriad of stakeholders, each with their own perspective. With that amount of money – as well as brand reputation and confidence – at stake there are going to be some winners and losers, and here they are:

WINNERS

Old-fashioned publishers

These are the classic media players who started losing their lunch the second Google started owning the internet. One could imagine publishers grinning ear to ear, thinking, “Told ya so. Quality content isn’t so easy.” They can can make a more convincing case that knowing the content and the audience actually is still important.

This issue can resurface a shift to high-quality, direct-bought content, where brands have the most control but pay a premium for it in some cases.

Streamers

Anyone selling streaming ads is in a good position – including Sling, Dish and even TV networks. Hulu, Roku, TV networks and anyone with a digital video platform will be showing off their highly curated content. These new shows and programming will look pretty good to anyone with a heightened interest in knowing exactly where their messages will appear.

Tech tools & 3rd Party Verification Partners

Brands have called for digital platforms like Facebook and Google to clean up the media supply chain and to be more transparent with data. The brand safety issue on YouTube is yet another bit of leverage to force more cooperation.

Independent third parties like Integral Ad Science, Double Verify, Moat and others will find more brands at their doorsteps looking for ways to ensure their ads appear near quality content.

The agency

One of the most important roles for agencies was helping brands make sure their ads didn’t show up in the wrong place by intimately knowing the targeting, brand safety protections and best practices of each channel. Well, now those services are increasingly valuable.

LOSERS

Net neutrality

When the Trump administration makes further moves to undo net neutrality, as many anticipate based on current momentum repealing FCC consumer protections, Google’s ability to defend it in idealistic terms could be undermined by all the talk about serving ads on terrorist video.

Programmatic

It took a long time for programmatic to stop being a dirty word. Programmatic advertising was once considered the least controlled, lowest quality ad inventory at the lowest price. In part, brands could start to pull back from blind, untargeted buying without transparency.

YouTubers

YouTube has said that part of its solution is to implement stricter community standards, and that could mean more bannings and ad blocking from their videos, impacting their earnings.They could be quicker to cut a channel at the smallest offense now that brands are watching closely.

Advertisers still on YouTube – this is a tricky one to classify and it’s too early to say. We’ll have to see how the video platform reacts over time to increasing pressures to allow verification partners and data trackers access within the garden’s walls.

Why It’s (Still) Hot:

This topic will continue to be important to the brands we represent, aim to represent and even those far from us that are faced with the same decision to either stay the course or sit it out. There is a lot of money moving around on media plans, a lot of POV’s being routed and a lot of reps working overtime to reassure teams of buyers/planners that they are taking brand safety very seriously. Often it’s not the crisis that defines a company, but what they do in the aftermath. Some are hopeful that this is a definitive crack in the ‘walled garden’-  but even if it is not, we’re all hoping for a better, safer platform at the end of this tunnel…a world where once again clients can be irked by their premium pre-rolls showing up prefacing water skiing squirrels and dancing cat videos instead of terrorist rhetoric.

Watson’s First Sculpture

IBM’s Watson cultivated findings that allowed Softlab to create a piece of art based on computer analysis of thousands of architect Anthoni Gaudi’s buildings, along with the input of text documents about the architect, Barcelona’s history and culture, and song lyrics.The output was a modernist sculpture that responded to real-time social analytics that kept the pulse of what people at the conference were talking about on Twitter. As topics and emotions cropped up, changed, and peaked, the sculpture responded.

IBM Watson Created a Modern Sculpture Inspired by the Work of One of Spain’s Most Famous Architects

From the article: “I think from our perspective, definitely in the design process itself, one of the things that Softlab talked about was that a designer or expert can look at an image, and they can make inferences,” Arn said. “But there were things that came out of the analysis that we did that they really had not considered.”

Why it’s hot: In the article, Jeff Arn of IBm said of the sculpture “in this case, it’s a very abstract example. But you can imagine […] a social media manager for a retail brand can ask, ‘What does our audience think of us, or how are they reacting to a particular comment?’ … It kind of gets you a lot more understanding of who your audience could be based on traits given to you by the way they write on a medium.” While we are maybe reluctant to concede that machines may be smarter than us, we should at least acknowledge their utility in noticing the things we can’t see due to our own cognitive limitations or biases. As marketers we’re trying to understand the nuances of who we’re talking to by creating personas and doing consumer research – this is a glimpse into what the future of that will look like!

Predicting How Messages Will Be Perceived By A Target Audience

Yesterday at Social Media Week NYC, I got the opportunity to attend a session presented by Mind Genomics. Going into the presentation, I knew nothing about this company and the services that they offer. However, the presentation was very insightful and eye opening to learn about technology that analyzes messaging to predict how it will appeal to consumers. The technology decodes any message that you enter into the tool by analyzing the pattern of words that the brand uses in order to predict sentiment.

Why Its Hot

This technology allows brands to understand how their messaging will relate to their target audience. Messages can be decoded by this tool to gauge the sentiment of the message that a brand is promoting and how their audience will relate to it. Ultimately, this allows brands to gain a better sense of how powerful their CTAs are before they are promoted in digital content.

VR to manage pain

With the overreliance on opioids to manage pain in the news today, one solution may be just a joystick away. Research has shown that psychology plays a critical role in how we experience both acute and chronic pain. The research also shows that pain sensations can be altered by what we think and feel.

Virtual reality games and rapid advances in technology have shown promise in tackling pain presumably by helping the person focus on other things. For example, virtual reality systems are starting to be used during painful procedures, such as dental procedures or changing burns dressings.
A new study published in the Royal Society Open Science let a group of healthy volunteers immerse their hands in cold water to the point where they could no longer tolerate it, while simultaneously playing a VR game. The study found that the highest pain tolerance levels occurred when both visual and sound sensory inputs were combined versus alone.

Why It’s Hot
With addition to prescription pain killers deemed an epidemic in the United States, alternative ways to manage acute and chronic pain are a necessity. Technology, specifically the use of virtual reality immerse technologies, may help provide one way to manage pain.

3D Doodler for Kids

3Doodler has launched a kid-friendly version of its popular Kickstarter device, called Start, that extrudes eco-plastic material to make 3D designs. The device is available now for pre-order on the company’s website for $39.

In addition to Start, the company has introduced a line of stencils called DoodleBlocks that allow young builders to create complex 3-D prints.

Why It’s Hot

It’s not hot to the touch, which is a good thing. But it is hot in that it brings the momentum of 3D printing to kids, enabling them to funnel their creativity and passion into a nearly limitless range of 3D designs.

New Opportunities with Virtual Masks App “MSQRD”

MSQRD (masquerade) is bringing virtual masks to a new level. It’s taking Snapchat’s face filters, L’Oreal Makeup Genius, Sephora Virtual Artist but democratizing it. MSQRD has a principle of openness and will enable more brands or artists to adopt this technology.

msqrd-editormsqrd-filters

They open their SDK to fit into any mobile app (iOS/Android) and computer software (Mac/Windows), they enable creatives to upload and sell their masks, and they provide an editor tool that allows you to upload an image to make your own.

Their technology seems to be the most responsive and realistic compared to the aforementioned apps. The speed of the facial recognition, the physics of the movement and the edge blending make it standout. The app itself is very lightweight (less than 60MB), so plugging into a mobile experience will not really slow anyone down.

Check out the demo of the Joker, SnoopDogg, Freddie Mercury.

Why It’s Hot

With VR becoming more accessible and the capabilities to immerse ourselves into other world’s seeing regularity, the growing opportunities to mask and reflectively become someone/something else adds an entirely new layer to it. Who wouldn’t want to be Drake, J.Lo, or Mr. Mucus?

Download MSQRD (iOS only).

 

Samsung Adding Screens on Trucks to Show Road Ahead

In 2015, Samsung shared a concept where a large screen was attached to the back of a semi-truck, showing drivers the road ahead. Now, the concept is becoming a reality, dubbed “Safety Truck.”

The video wall consists of four Samsung HD screens that are water and dust proof and very visible under direct sunlight. The live video will be captured by two cameras built in the front of the Volvo truck.

After four months of reliability testing, Samsung will roll out these trucks globally.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 6.26.31 PM

Why It’s Hot

This is an awesome initiative by Samsung and Volvo to make the roads safer. Additionally, Samsung plans to improve the system by combining the technology with truck platooning technology (trucks automatically control the distance between each other by using wireless networking).

Fully implantable bionic eye

A team of scientists from Australia’s University of New South Wales are ready to begin human trials of the Phoenix99–a fully implantable bionic eye. It is expected that the bionic will not only improve vision of the patient but will also be better than any current vision restoration devices. It has already been tested successfully in pre-clinical studies.

Not only is the Phoenix99 the first fully implantable device for restoring some vision, it is also the first implantable eye with neural stimulation technology.

A big goal for the research is to help restore sight in those affected by Retinitis Pigmentosa. There are 2 million people around the world that are affected by RP, a degenerative condition that can be found in patients in their 30s. Gradually, it can lead to complete blindness. The degeneration can only be slowed down with medicines, it cannot be reversed. In 2012, a team that included the same scientists from the University of South Wales, tried to restore some site in patients with RP through a partially implanted prototype device. The device was made up of an electrode array with some external devices that allowed the patients to see spots of light. The special cameras on the device helped the users to get a sense of distance. The Phosphenes appeared brighter when still objects came closer.

Unlike that device, the Phoenix99 is fully implantable and is expected to provide better vision to the user. The device consists of a small disc that goes behind the ear, which transmits data and powers the device. The user also wears glasses equipped with a special camera. The camera captures the images that then stimulate the nerve cells in the patient’s retina.

Why It’s Hot

If the human trials go well, the team says the bionic eye could be available to the mainstream public within 5 years. If so, this could help improve the lives of 200 million people around the World that have some form of progressive vision loss such as RP or macular degeneration.

This is also a significant step in the use of implantable technology to improve our health and lives. While work in stem cells and other areas looks to culture and grow new organs and tissues, technology is working in parallel to find ways to address these same issues with bionic parts.

 

Go hands free…with your baby.

Smartbe is a self-driving stroller. Currently on its crowdfunding phase on IndiGogo. Using a motion tracking sensor, it follows you wherever you go allowing for a hands-free experience strolling or assisted push.

The stroller has an electric motor, wireless speakers, bottle warmers, a rocker, three retractable canopies and a temperature controller bassinet. It will also have directional signals, internal and external cameras and an anti-theft alarm. The stroller can be managed by Android or IOS and smartwatches.

The battery life is 6 hours, price is $3.1k and will be available April 2017.

Smartbe Intelligent Stroller from Smartbe Intelligent Stroller on Vimeo.

 

Why it’s hot: Self driving cars have been in the making for a while, will this come out before the car does? What’s next in technology for moms.

Remixed Remix

The right remix makes a old song feel new. And makes a new song feel even newer. Which is why trip hop duo Massive Attack has released a “sensory music player” app with its new EP.

The app is called Fantom, and it remixes and reforms music on iPhones based off environmental factors like a person’s location, movement, and heartbeat fed by Apple Watch sensors and HealthKit data. Each factor affects the music in a different way. Heart rate, for instance, changes the song cadence, while location affects harmonization.

Fantom is not a partnership– one of the Massive Attack band members was part of the team that developed the app.

Why it’s hot: remix albums have been around for awhile, and offer the same remix to every person. Why not algorithmically personalize it if you can? Screen-Shot-2016-01-21-at-11.52.12

source: http://mashable.com/2016/01/21/massive-attack-iphone-app/#rnvkkvkkksq3

The Quantified Car

tom_automatic

Automatic is a combination adapter and app that interfaces with your car’s on-board computer. The adapter gathers data on fuel efficiency, miles driven, and bad driving habits (jackrabbit accelerations and hard braking). The app can then give drivers insights into their driver profile, their car’s mechanical condition, tell you where you parked, and in an accident, can even notify loved ones and signal for help.  Ever wonder what that check engine light really means? Automatic can tell you the exact error code, what is usually the causing the problem, and connect you to local mechanics.

As a consequence of gathering all this data, Automatic is able to issue yearly “Your Driving Year in Review” reports. Here’s mine. I commute far too much, drive too fast to optimize fuel efficiency, and sadly, when you add up all my driving time, I spend more than two weeks a year behind the wheel.

Why it’s hot:
Newer cars are starting to include these tracking features standard, but for the majority of older vehicles on the road, tools like Automatic can provide actionable data right now. And since driving is one of the most dangerous (and unhealthy) activities we can do in our lives, any data that can optimize the experience will help us make better decisions. Look for car brands (other automotive related brands) to embrace this data, creating better experiences and deeper integrations.

 

Newest Sleep Number Bed Tracks Your Daytime Activities

The latest Sleep Number “It” bed not only analyzes how you sleep but also tracks what you do during the day to help you get the best sleep possible. In addition, it can pull in data such as weather forecasts and traffic reports to provide you with recommendations, such as going to bed earlier, to help you get the most out of your sleep.

The “It” bed was unveiled at CES in Las Vegas this week. In addition to using the existing sleep-tracking SleepIQ biometric technology that uses sensors to track presence, movement, and heart and breathing rates while using the mattress, the new bed connects to your mobile devices using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to track your activity throughout the day.

The data can include when you eat, exercise, your schedule for the day, etc. Based on this data, the mattress suggests ideal firmness levels and ideas for how to get the best sleep.

Why It’s Hot
 We spend a large percentage of our lives sleeping, and sleep is vital to our health. As mhealth and the Internet of Things continues to grow, it makes sense that data be used to optimize our sleep experiences. This in turn may lead to better overall health and improved productivity!

The Sacramento Kings Want You to Post More Selfies (At Their Games)

The Sacramento Kings are using technology and data to build Golden 1 Center, a new stadium designed to change how fans in the arena and at home experience the game. Their goal is to create the fastest and most connected indoor sports and entertainment venue in the world.

Features of the new event include:

  • A better network that allows for 500,000 Snapchats per second or 225,000 Instagram posts per second (17,000 times faster than the average home Internet connection).
  • Reminders of which friends will be there and a map of where they are sitting.
  • Intuitive directions to open parking spaces and shortest wait times for concessions.
  • A venue that is 100% solar powered and designed to conserve water. 90% of the food and beverages sold there will come from local sources.

Sacramento Kings

Why It’s Hot:

The Sacramento Kings released a press release outlining their goals for Golden 1 Center and used social posts as a metric to illustrate how fast their internet will be. This recognizes the importance of social media at a live event, showing it will soon become critical for live events to support our devices, rather than just a “nice to have.” Because did it really happen if you didn’t post about it?

The owner of the Kings, Vivek Ranadivé, posted to The Cauldron and went in detail about how this will be built to be a sustainable venue. This is a step in the right direction for a big brand taking into account their impact on the environment, although at this point everything about the Golden 1 Center right now appears to be the product of a press release. It will be interesting to see how the user experience and environmental impact pan out once it opens in October 2016.

 

Ninebot Segway Offers Us a Glimpse of the Future

At CES, Segway/Ninebot/Intel revealed a new form of transportation available for sale in 2017 that’s ostensibly similar to hoverboards. However, there’s a more futuristic twist, as the gadget reveals itself to be a robot, equipped with voice recognition, real-time video streaming, visual tracking and live sensors. With Android open framework, owners would be able to program this gadget to act as their assistant, whether watching the children, taking their pictures, or carrying their supplies.

Why It’s Hot: With notable trends toward sustainability and urbanization – and the buzz around hoverboards currently – there is clearly an interest and thirst for new forms of transportation. Ninebot Segway distinguishes itself from other modes of transportation further by including an element of artificial intelligence. While it still looks rather rudimentary and is likely to be quite pricey, the robot fulfills more than a transportation need, which raises the stakes. The Android heart will help developers further refine this concept, making it an exciting product to watch.

LEGO Robotics Kit Lets Kids Code Their Way to Mars

LEGO-robotics-psfk.com_.pngLEGO Education, a division of Denmark’s LEGO, unveiled a new system called WeDo 2.0 that helps teach children about engineering, technology and coding. The system contains hardware and software that give elementary school children more than 40 hours of projects to create.

The LEGO robotics that comes with WeDo 2.0 is a wireless and tablet-ready system that is designed for a younger crowd than LEGO Mindstorm products which are geared more toward middle and high school students. The lessons of the WeDo 2.0 correlate to educational standards in physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, and engineering. The lessons are geared towards students in second through fourth grade to solve real-world science problems.

The set comes with a number of LEGO bricks and includes a Bluetooth Low Energy-based hub that connects to a motor as well as motion and tilt sensors. The software in the package uses a drag-and-drop interface for writing basic applications that can connect to the hub and its sensors.

WeDo 2.0 allows children to explore, create and share their scientific discoveries along the way as they build and modify projects. In addition, teachers have the opportunity to receive support through training, curriculum and built-in assessments with eight guided projects and eight open ended projects the system offers.

Projects vary from the “Drop and Rescue” project, where students have to design a device to reduce the impacts of weather related-hazards for humans to projects that allow students to discover the surface of Mars with a model rover or explore the Amazon rainforest through frog metamorphosis.

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot: Even play is evolving for the digital world. But instead of pure entertainment, this initiative is preparing kids for the real world.

Lean Cuisine Blocks TV Diet Ads

Link

At CES, Lean Cuisine announced that they have created a way to block “diet” ads on TV just in time for the big push of New Year’s resolution diet commercials. Traditionally Lean Cuisine has always tried not to focus specifically on weight or dieting, but instead eat and living a more balanced lifestyle. The box, essentially block the words “diet” and “weight loss” and provides a counter for users to see how many of these ads they have been able to avoid. In addition to the tool that blocks ads on TV, they have also created a Chrome extension so that you can also avoid these buzzwords on the internet. http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/lean-cuisine-found-clever-way-wipe-out-all-those-annoying-diet-ads-168887lean-cuisine-block-hed-2016

 

Hot Topic: Human Gene Editing

In April of 2015, Chinese scientists shocked (and horrified some) by revealing they had used DNA-editing techniques, one known as “germline editing,” to alter a gene in human embryos. The altered embryo was not incubated to birth, but the action did set off a large debate on ethics, etc of messing with the basic building blocks of human life.

An international conference just ended on Dec 3rd in DC, and it left open the door to gene editing in humans, a technique that alters an organism’s genetic material and what is thus passed on to future generations.

The 3-day conference included scientists from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; the UK’s Royal Society, and the Chinese Academy of Science.

While all parties agreed that “it would be irresponsible to proceed with any clinical use of germline editing,” they did not close the door to eventual clinical use of this “editing,” in which DNA of eggs, sperm or embryos are altered in a manner that carries forward to all of the cells of the resulting progeny. These changes would also be passed on to subsequent generations and become part of the human gene pool. The panel concluded, “As scientific knowledge advances and societal views evolve, the clinical use of germline editing should be revisited on a regular basis.”

In the short-term, new gene-editing techniques on adult  human cells may have potential to create new therapies that harness the immune system to fight disease or blunt/reverse the effects of some hereditary diseases.

Why It’s Hot

This topic brings in a  host of perspectives and debatable platforms from ethics, religion, medicine, etc. A quintessential question is: just because we can do it, should we?

Placemeter Launches New Sensor to Detect Traffic

Placemeter is a TechStars alum that helps institutions measure exact foot traffic in or near their buildings by sensing movement. Paired with a sensor, live IP camera, or recorded video, Placemeter can track data in real-time and store to its cloud for immediate access in dashboard or downloadable files.

 

Placemeter Sensor Side and Back

Placemeter can measure volume of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, walking directions and store visits, and lists its primary usage for retail and municipal entities.

Why It’s Hot: There are so many interesting applications to this device for brands as it instantly connects physical movement to digital. With Placemeter, you can detect potential effectiveness of drive-to-retail campaigns more immediately, evaluate real estate potential, gauge the success of store displays, and generally have more tangible data that demonstrates results of marketing efforts.

Smartphone-delivered Pheromones

Pura is a smartphone-controlled air freshening dispenser for your home. It is a Kickstarter-funded initiative, dubbed as the first freshener that can be tailored to your lifestyle. You can control the time and rooms and types of fragrances releases. Each Pura has 2 chambers for 2 fragrances. It automatically turns off when you leave the house, and you can program and control it remotely using your smartphone. In addition, each Pura has a smart nightlight and 60 million color-options.

But what is gathering more interest in some circles is what is NOT featured in this promo video but is mentioned in company emails and literature. According to literature from the company, the “Scents for Him” line of fragrances from the company will contain the pheromone androstadienone. Upper-lip application of a pharmacological dose of androstadienone in women has been proven in studies to improve mood and potentially facilitated women’s sexual response. Some studies have shown a beneficial effect of androstadienone on sexual desire and arousal.

The company is also working on a “Scents for Her” line that would have pheromones that may have an impact on male mood and arousal.

Scents are expected to ship in June of next year.

Why It’s Hot

Like you have to ask?

 

In Today’s Digital World, These Gorgeous Wooden Toys Unleash Kids’ Inner Astronaut

Kids love playing astronaut, but most non-digital games are based on cheap plastic, and hard to assemble and “transform”; which leaves little room for imagination.

Enter Cosmos, a kit of wood parts that lets kids design and build their own galactic vessel.

 

The 28 wood blocks, created by New York-based Huzi, are milled into abstract, geometric shapes, and magnetic connections make the blocks as easy as Lego bricks to assemble and take apart. Kids can configure the blocks to create rockets, satellites, shuttles, landers, or whatever else they please.

“No blinking lights. No complicated electronics. No forgettable plastic toys that end up in garbage dumps. Instead, we set out with the ambition to create toys loaded with meaning like imagination and simplicity,” Huzi says on its Kickstarter campaign.

 

Why Is This Hot?

Because it reminds us that, even the most complicated technology can make things simpler… and better!

AOL-Owned Millennial Pairs With Rentrak To Offer TV Ad Retargeting

TVtoMobile After an initial wave of integration, Millennial Media, the mobile ad platform AOL acquired in September for $240 million, rolled out its first ad product under new ownership – TV Commercial Retargeting.
The new ad product is backed by a partnership with Rentrak, which aggregates set-top box data across 25 million households, tapping into data sets from various cable and satellite providers.

Millennial Media will be able to link Rentrak’s TV commercial viewership data with its own mobile user data anonymously through Millennial’s data management platform to surface a mobile video ad. Advertisers can then add a rich media element, such as click-to-purchase an ecommerce item or locate a nearby store.

Why It’s Hot

While TV commercial retargeting isn’t a brand new idea (we’re already running a similar program with Latuda), it’s interesting because of Millennial and AOL’s access to Verizon’s mobile data. This could allow Verizon to utilize its customer data in a way that could rival Facebook and Google’s powerful deterministic audience data.

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Meet the First Instagram-Certified Ad-, Marketing-Tech Vendors

Earlier this year Instagram made it possible for ad- and marketing tech providers to build tools that marketers can use to manage their brands’ Instagram accounts, find content to post to those accounts and buy ads on Instagram. More than 100 companies have built such tools, and Instagram has picked 40 companies to certify and join its new Instagram Partner Program.

“Now that that ecosystem is blossoming, we want to make it really easy for partners and the companies that are building these tools to get visibility,” said Jim Squires, director of market operations at Instagram. “And we want to make it easy for businesses and marketers that want to connect with partners to understand what each of the partners does.”

Instagram is certifying companies in three categories. The ad-tech category includes companies that make tools for brands to buy, plan and customize their ads for Instagram. The community management category includes companies that offer tools for brands to manage their Instagram accounts. And the content marketing category encompasses companies whose tools can be used by brands to find content to post to their Instagram accounts.

In addition to the attention boost, Instagram plans to provide certified vendors with training through Facebook’s Blueprint education program as well as resources around how to best use Instagram for business purposes.

There are no economic requirements for a company to gain entry into the partner program, Mr. Squires said. The only requirements are that a company proves its technology is proprietary, demonstrates market leadership, offers resources to marketers, has a successful track record and participates in training, according to an Instagram spokeswoman. While Instagram has picked an initial 40 companies to certify, other tech providers can apply for approval into the program.

Marketers will be able to visit a dedicated site to find out more about each of the companies in the Instagram Partner Program. The full list is also available below with companies sorted by category. Curalate, Percolate, Salesforce and Sprinklr are listed multiple times because they were approved in more than one category.

Ad Tech

Community Management

Content Marketing

  • Curalate
  • Flashstock
  • Olapic
  • Percolate
  • ReFuel4
  • Salesforce
  • Tongal

Why It’s Hot

This will allow social teams all over to organize and launch Instagram campaigns in a much more efficient, thought out way.  Also, for our company specifically, we already work with some of the approved vendors, so it will only broaden the opportunities for us to use our existing tools.

The Power of Crowdfunding

In a heart-wrenching story over this past Halloween, 4 children lost both their mother and father in a fatal car accident after the 2 left the house briefly to shop for more Halloween face paint. The children will now live with their grandmother in Florida.

The Georgia State Trooper, Nathan Bradley, went to the house of the 2 deceased adults, and when the door was opened, he found 4 kids, none older than 13. He decided not to tell them the awful news until after at least their grandmother arrived from Florida, and instead he spent the night with the kids, taking them out to eat and trying to have some Halloween fun with them.

Trooper Bradley also set up a Crowdfund on GoFundMe with a goal of $7,000 to help the family handle funeral expenses. In just 2 days, more than 8,000 people have contributed more than $300,000 to the fund. All proceeds beyond what is needed for funeral expenses and the like will go into a trust for the children. UPDATE: Has now raised nearly $400K in 3 days from nearly 10K people.

This story speaks to the compassion of others and the power that technology and social media can have in bringing together the efforts of disparate people around a common cause.

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Why It’s Hot

The story is tragic. However, the outpouring of support both in words and in monies is uplifting. It would not have been possible to this extent without social and crowdsourcing/funding platforms. It makes you think about what is possible if we use technology to fund and focus resources from around the World around all sorts of problems and challenges facing the planet and mankind.

TAG Takes Aim at Fraudsters

In an effort to thwart ad fraud, the marketing industry’s Trustworthy Accountability Group wants everyone in the digital advertising landscape to get tagged. Its new system, dubbed “Verified by Tag,” includes two core, interlocking elements: a payment ID system and a registry of TAG-approved advertisers and publishers.

The payment ID system is expected to deploy by the end of the year. The goal is to create a record of who gets paid for every impression and thereby prevent criminals from receiving ad dollars by selling fake impressions on sites they list in ad exchanges.

Companies that apply to join the TAG registry will have to go through a background check and review process. Once approved, each will receive a unique ID that will identify its ads to trading partners in the supply chain. Those identifiers can also be matched with the forthcoming payment ID system to verify that payments aren’t going to criminals.

Programmatic powerhouses including AOL, Google, AppNexus and Index Exchange have pledged isupport for these dual initiatives.

Why It’s Hot

Advertisers are spending billions of dollars each year towards fraudulent impressions that are never seen by real humans and TAG’s program is moving the industry one step closer to greatly reducing or eliminating the ad fraud issue.

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