Archive for July, 2016

Climate change video games?

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“Eco” screen shot

Getting kids engaged and interested in green issues like climate change might take more creativity than a book or a classroom lecture. A company called Strange Loop Games used crowdfunding to create an online video game that teaches young people about environmental changes.

The game is called, “ECO”, and its focus is on sustainability to teach kids how to address global warming. In the game, players must collaborate to build a civilization in a world where everything they do affects the environment. All resources come from a simulated ecosystem, with thousands of plants and animals simulating 24/7.  The players must work together through the player-run government and economy to build the technology to stop a meteor on a collision course with the planet, without polluting the world and killing it off in the process before that even happens.

Check out the trailer:

According to Trendhunter:

The collaborative simulation game is geared towards middle school age children. Players work together to build a sustainable civilization and then have to protect the ecosystem. The environmental game even allows them to propose policies and laws that must be backed by supporting data in an effort to protect their virtual world.

While other educational video games exist, this one tackles a very specific issue and gives players a chance to learn about real world approaches while still flexing their imaginations.

 

Pen “copies” color of any object

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Imagine being able to copy the exact shade of whatever color you want to draw with from any object – even pets!

This gadget is a few hundred dollars and it’s called the Scribblepen. It was originally designed for tablets,allowing you to easily transfer your custom and captured colors into Photoshop or CorelDRAW, for use in all your projects. But you can use it on paper as well.

It’s got a refillable cartrige with a built-in color sensor that lets users capture any color by simply pointing it at an object or surface and press the button. It can also sync with mobile devices.

How do you suppose this technology can evolve for future innovation?

TORCHGRIP helps pilots handle flight deck tablets

July 22, 2016 Pat Clusman No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

Next week, hundreds of thousands of airplane geeks, from more than 70 countries will descend on Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) annual AirVenture. Billed as the “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration®”, AirVenture 2016 will make the Oshkosh airport the busiest airfield in the world. More than 10,000 aircraft, from warbirds and aerobatic to vintage and ultralights, will be on hand July 25-31 for the 64th annual fly-in convention.

I am sure one of the topics that will be discussed will be Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs). An EFB is an electronic information management device that helps flight crews perform flight management tasks more easily and efficiently with less paper. Tablet computers from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and other manufacturers configured with appropriate applications are being used by pilots and crew members.

TorchGrip

While there is limited space in most cockpits, especially in the kind of airplanes found at EAA AirVenture, there are some accessories that can make using the tablet computer in the cockpit easier. One in particular is the Torchgrip® from a company called TecDriven, LLC. Torchgrip® is a handle and a stand accessory compatible with most of tablet computers in the market today. Torchgrip® provides a multi-angle stand in both portrait and landscape orientations. It offers single-handed portability, enhanced ergonomic control and 360° rotation. There are also some simple mounting options available.

Torchgrip® allows the crew member to comfortably hold the EFB with one hand and type or operate equipment with the other hand. Setting down or picking up the EFB is stress-free with Torchgrip® attached and reviewing or sharing information on the screen is easy. The tablet can be moved or passed around confidently and the handle is removable for easy storage.

EFBs are an exciting development in aviation, Torchgrip® can help make them readily available and easy to use for cockpit and flight deck operations. I hope to see you at #OSH16!

Find out more at www.torchgrip.com


Pat Clusman is the Chief Operating Officer at Innovationedge. Follow Pat on Twitter @pclusman. Disclosure: TecDriven, LLC is a client of Innovationedge.

Wheelchair prototype lets users stand

July 19, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool videos

At the Veteran’s Hospital in Minneapolis, innovators are designing a wheelchair that allows paraplegics to stand up.

This video shows how it works:

Shoes of the future?

July 12, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool videos

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Here’s an interesting product I think is long overdue: Shoes that wrap around your feet like socks, and allow you to walk comfortably on hard or rocky surfaces. The brand name is Furoshiki:

For about $110 you can get this innovation from Vibram. The Japanese company states:

The concept for this type of footwear was derived from the Japanese custom of packaging items by wrapping them in cloth fabric. Furoshiki is the only sole on the market that wraps around the entire foot. Because the upper is constructed with stretch fabric, it will anatomically fit nicely on any foot type and the hook and loop closure system allows for a quick, easy fit. Powered by our revolutionary Vibram soling technology, Furoshiki provides comfort in any environment! It also packs nicely for traveling and each pair comes equipped with its very own traveling case. The ultimate travel footwear companion, offering protection, grip and comfort.

Check out their story here.

An innovative way startups are using empty booths

July 10, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Culture of Innovation

Many high-end restaurants that don’t open until late afternoon or evening are rife with opportunity. What to do with space that goes unused for most of the day?

How about run a company?

Several startups are offering off-hours restaurant spaces as an affordable alternative to traditional coworking offices, reports FastCompany:

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Photo credit: FastCompany

Turning empty offices into coworking spaces isn’t cheap: You need to pay rent and buy desks, chairs, perhaps a fancy coffeemaker for the kitchen. So while a coworking membership is often cheaper for entrepreneurs and freelancers than renting their own office, it can cost several hundred bucks a month depending on the city and how much access or privacy they want.

But what if freelancers, consultants and entrepreneurs worked out of existing space that sits unused during the day? Several entrepreneurs are testing that concept by turning restaurants or coffee shops into coworking spaces.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.18.59 AMCoworkCafe opened last year inside of Arlington, Virginia, coffee shop Boccato. After 6 p.m., the area of the shop reserved for coworking opens up to the general public. For $150/month, CoworkCafe members get a $50 food credit, access to reserved space and high-speed Wi-Fi ($20 day passes are also available but don’t include any food credit). LinkLocale, more traditional coworking space in the area charges $30 per day, $175/month for flex space or $475/month for reserved space.

Aside from being cheaper than alternatives, cofounder David James says CoworkCafe offers a more relaxed vibe that many members (who include a novelist, software developers, marketing consultants, and nonprofit professionals) like. “Having a place that’s relaxed and comfortable is very good for creative type work,” he says. “There’s a certain feeling that you get in a place like this you can’t get in an office-type building. They really love the feeling of the space; they don’t want to be in a traditional office setting.”

Read the entire article here:

Nintendo wins big with “Pokémon GO” mobile app

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 1.14.23 PMIf you see young people wandering through your city looking for digital creatures to catch, don’t distract them! These are Pokémon fans, who are intently playing a brand new location-based mobile app game called Pokémon Go.

How big of a deal is this? It’s huge:

The Apple and Android app debuted last Wednesday evening in the United States, and the next day saw Nintendo’s stock price up 9 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Nintendo owns only a third interest in The Pokémon Company.)  The free download shot to No. 1 on the top-grossing chart in less than a day. With that level of demand, developer Niantic initially had some trouble keeping its servers up, with a few outages and Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 1.22.29 PMconnection issues. Most of those issues are being addressed, and soon players around the world will be hunting the beloved animated creatures via a GPS-powered world map.

Within a few days, players created hundreds of local Facebook Communities to gather with other enthusiasts. There is a hashtag #PokemonGo, and local police departments are warning that users should be especially aware of their surroundings to stay safe while playing.

Here is the video trailer that has captivated fans and inspired all those downloads:

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 1.03.46 PMThe game makers encourage players to go outside, exercise, and explore local landmarks, or “PokéStops” like museums and parks, where digital Pokémon are waiting to be collected. The GPS map is based on the actual real-world map of the streets and pathways where a player is standing, and identifies area landmarks like hotels, historical markers, businesses, police stations, churches and more.  There is a social element in that players can battle their Pokémon against each other at “gyms.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 1.07.42 PMIn a few weeks, a small, Bluetooth-enabled accessory called the Pokémon GO Plus will be available for purchase so that fans on the move won’t need to look at their smartphones. The device connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth low energy and notifies players about events in the game—such as the appearance of a Pokémon nearby—using an LED and vibration.

How far will this craze go? And will it lead to other global trends in location-based games?

 

Do you suffer from “imposter syndrome?”

July 8, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Interesting links

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 7.23.56 AMInnovative people seem fearless when it comes to moving outside their comfort zones to try new things.  But I can assure you it is quite common for those who appear confident to actually fear that they are not worthy of their position or achievements. It’s called the impostor syndrome, and Harvard Business Review has an interesting article on it this week that I thought you might enjoy.

In his piece, Everyone Suffers from Imposter Syndrome — Here’s How to Handle It, dfg Andy Molinsky writes,

What can you do to overcome these feelings of inadequacy that so many of us experience? A first tip I’ve found quite helpful: Recognize the benefits of being a novice. You might not realize it, but there are great benefits to being new in your field. When you are not steeped in the conventional wisdom of a given profession, you can ask questions that haven’t been asked before or approach problems in ways others haven’t thought of.

It’s no surprise, for example, that some of the best research ideas I get as a professor come from undergraduate students with little previous experience, people who can think with a fresh outsider’s perspective.

Read the rest of the tips here, and use your own doubts to your advantage!