When you’re away, device lets you reward your dog

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on August 12, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 5.42.17 PMIt’s Friday, so here is an upbeat invention to share for those of you who might want to step away from your pet for a few hours this weekend: The Furbo Dog Camera. It’s a smart camera that lets you see, talk to, and even toss a treat to your dog while you are away.

I travel a lot myself, so imagine being able to make your pup feel loved whether you’re across town or halfway around the world!  This camera comes with night vision, so dog owners who work late can still see their furry friend.

The concept was developed in 2014 by Tomofun, an international tech startup founded in 2014 by Victor Chang and Steve Chang, Chairman of Trend Micro. Designers shared their brand story on their website:

We talked with over 5000 dog parents to get their input on product design, features, packaging, and everything in between. From the very beginning, Furbo was created for dogs by dog lovers. We’ve also worked closely with veterinarians and professional dog trainers to ensure Furbo is good for your dog. In truth, Furbo wasn’t just created by our team, it was created by a whole community of dogs parents that wanted the very best for our puppies.


New health app tracks Zika

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on August 11, 2016

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I’ve been watching the Summer 2016 Olympics from Rio, and it’s been exciting! But along with the competition, spectators and athletes have had to worry about the Zika virus. I recently learned that the Brazilian Ministry of Health has developed a new app that will crowdsource health symptoms and map out any spread of the Zika virus and other communicable diseases.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 6.25.01 PMThe Guardioes de Saude app encourages users to upload daily information about their symptoms, reporting any information to do with respiratory issues, diarrhea, or rashes. it’s completely voluntary, and those users can register with their basic information and allow the app to access their location.  The Ministry uses the data to create a Health Map, allowing people to follow health conditions near them in real-time.

The company estimates as many as 50,000 installations.

Off-grid living is still a thing

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on August 7, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 6.16.35 PMWhether for financial or environmental reasons, the trend of “off-grid” living doesn’t seem to be diminishing. There have been an explosion of blogs and reality TV shows these past several years dedicated to living off the electrical grid.

Three years ago a survey showed that 1.7 billion people in the world live off the grid. That takes into account emerging nations and poor populations, but what about in the United States?  According to Home Power Magazine, at least 180,000 families are living off the grid in America, and that number increases each year.

The term “off the grid” is defined as not requiring utilities, such as electricity, water, sewer, natural gas, heat, and other services. To truly live off the grid means a house operates without the assistance of any public utility services. To achieve this independence, one’s electricity needs to be on-site and powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar or geothermal. Generators and fuel reserves are also needed. Another option is to simply do without electricity. source

But the U.S. isn’t the only nation jumping on the off-grid trend. There are off-grid families in every continent who intentionally wish to live completely sustainable and free from utility bills. And corporations are developing innovative solutions to go along with the need.

One startup company in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, has developed an egg-shaped “pod” house and shipping it all around the world. It’s called the The egg-shaped Ecocapsule.

Check it out:


Eco-friendly leather: Made from mushrooms!

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on August 4, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 5.51.11 PMLeather is great, but it’s a resource–intensive product that many would rather avoid, for environmental and animal safety reasons.  Here’s the story of how one company – MycoWorks – found a solution in nature. The company created a leather-like product grown rapidly from mycelium and agricultural byproducts in a carbon-negative process. In other words: Mushrooms!

The company says its custom-engineered material is sustainable, versatile, and animal–free, and it actually feels and performs like leather:

Our leather is uniquely customizable. We can grow textures and other features right into the material. And unlike animal hides, our materials can be grown to nearly any size and shape.

The closed-loop process uses abundant, natural fibers to create 100‰ biodegradable materials, making this an infinitely renewable technology. Source

Check out the video here:

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Climate change video games?

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on July 29, 2016
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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

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on July 26, 2016

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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

Posted by Pat Clusman on July 22, 2016

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.


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

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on July 19, 2016

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?

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on July 12, 2016

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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

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on July 10, 2016

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: