Tattoos that play soundwaves?

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on May 26, 2017

Soundwave tattoos are the text big thing in ink trends. These innovative tattoos let you play and hear the recordings that you want memorialized. You can get inked with up to a minute of audio and play back using your mobile device.

The video below has gotten millions of views.  As soon as the video went viral, inventor Nate Siggard quickly filed a provisional patent for the first augmented reality Soundwave Tattoo and went into development on a commercial mobile application that would work for anyone who also wanted to get one. The tats are available in June.

The idea hails from Siggard’s ‘Skin Motion‘ company, and hopes to train artists all over the world to create these futuristic tattoos.

A “Twistd” new take on chips

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on May 24, 2017

Photo courtesy of Twistd

It’s a holiday weekend, and a lot of people are going to be consuming bags of chips at their cookouts. But here’s a new take to the crumply bag: Seasoned chips you season yourself. The idea is from the United Kingdom, and it’s a little “Twistd”:

Twistd’s potato chips and tortillas are packaged in small, portion-controlled tubes, which come with caps that allow snackers to choose their own flavor combinations such as Sea Salt & Seaweed, BBQ & Honey, Chill & Chocolate and Cheddar & Stilton—or a blend of these.

To emphasize the way in which these playful snack flavors can be mixed and matched, Hornall Anderson designed tube packaging for Twistd that has characters with features that can be mixed up to create entirely new personas. On this project, Design Director Anderson Gareth Ball says: “We were aiming for Millennial men who drink craft beer so the branding is designed to be clean and contemporary. There’s a range of unusual flavours populating the craft beer sector showing this demographic is adventurous.”

Check out the innovation background and more interesting photos here:

 

Braille smartwatch for the blind captures a new market

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on May 9, 2017

A startup company named Dot has created an affordable Braille smartwatch not only for the vision impaired, but for those who are deaf and blind. The watch’s refreshable Braille display is made up of a series of dots which can project up to four Braille characters at a time. Dot keeps time, has an alarm, a messenger app, navigation and Bluetooth.

“Ninety percent of blind people become blind after birth, and there’s nothing for them right now – they lose their access to information so suddenly,” said Eric Ju Yoon Kim, Dot’s co-founder and CEO, in an interview with Colin Moreshead from Tech in Asia. “Dot can be their lifeline, so they can learn Braille and access everyday information through their fingers, which is the goal of Braille literacy.”

The product and its makers first captured attention on a Korean “Shark Tank”-like startup reality show a few years ago, and the team is finally now ready to retail it for under $300.

Check out this video of the Dot Watch:

Also in the works are a Dot Pad tablet and a Dot Mini education device targeted to developing countries.

 

 

Could robots save the art of penmanship?

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on May 8, 2017

AxiDraw V3 is coming out this month, and it is capturing penmanship, a writing skill many are thinking may fade into obscurity. Created by Evil Mad Scientist, it’s a pen-plotting robot that serves as a “personal writing and drawing machine.” The machine is $475.

Its website states:  “The AxiDraw is a simple, modern, precise, and versatile pen plotter, capable of writing or drawing on almost any flat surface. It can write with your favorite fountain pens, permanent markers, and other writing implements to handle an endless variety of applications. Its unique design features a writing head that extends beyond the machine, making it possible to draw on objects bigger than the machine itself.”

Check out the video:

South Africa unveils next generation biometric Mastercard

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on May 4, 2017

South Africa is the first market to test Mastercard’s new next generation biometric card, combining chip technology with fingerprints to verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases.

The demonstration happened two weeks ago at Absa Bank and Pick n Pay, a leading supermarket retailer.

MasterCard has also previously trialed facial biometrics for payments, launching a s”selfie pay” app last October which lets people authenticate an online payment by showing their face to their phone’s camera.

From the official press release:

Mastercard press image

The new card builds on fingerprint scanning technology used for mobile payments today and can be used at EMV terminals worldwide.

“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, enterprise risk and security, Mastercard. “Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected.”

How It Works

A cardholder enrolls their card by simply registering with their financial institution. Upon registration, their fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card. The card is now ready to be used at any EMV card terminal globally.

When shopping and paying in-store, the biometric card works like any other chip card. The cardholder simply dips the card into a retailer’s terminal while placing their finger on the embedded sensor. The fingerprint is verified against the template and – if the biometrics match – the cardholder is successfully authenticated and the transaction can then be approved with the card never leaving the consumer’s hand.

Benefits

Authenticating a payment transaction biometrically – in this instance via a fingerprint – confirms in a very unique way that the person using the card is the genuine cardholder.

Merchants can easily maximize the shopping experience delivered to their customers, as the card works with existing EMV card terminal infrastructure and does not require any new hardware or software upgrades.

For issuers, the technology helps detect and prevent fraud, increase approval rates, reduce operational costs and foster customer loyalty. Additionally, a future version of the card will feature contactless technology, adding to the simplicity and convenience at checkout.

Trials Underway

The recent South African trials mobilized employees from Pick n Pay and Absa Bank to test the potential ways convenience and security could contribute to the checkout process. Over the next few months, additional trials will be conducted with the biometric card. A full roll out is expected later this year.

Said Richard van Rensburg, deputy CEO of Pick n Pay: “We are delighted that this innovation has been trialed for the first time at Pick n Pay stores in South Africa.  Biometric capability will mean added convenience and enhanced security for our customers. The technology creates a platform on which we can further our strategy of personalizing the shopping experience in a meaningful way.  We have been extremely impressed with the robust and secure nature of the technology.”

For Absa, the biometric card forms part of the bank’s strategy to test and develop sophisticated technology capabilities designed to improve its payment operations and client service, reduce risk, and make banking easier and even more secure for its customers.

“We are very proud to be the first bank in Africa to test – in a real payment environment – the single-touch authentication technology that will unlock the benefits of biometrics,” said Geoff Lee, head of card and payments at Absa Retail and Business Banking. “The technology will effectively enable our customers to rely on their unique fingerprints to make payments in a face-to-face environment. Following the test period, we will make it available to our customers in a way that is affordable, reliable, and convenient and, most importantly, extremely secure.”

Additional trials are being planned in Europe and Asia Pacific in the coming months.

Read more here.

7 Techniques For Getting Creatively Unstuck

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on April 30, 2017

My friend Robert Tucker over at Innovation Resource has some great tips for getting “unstuck.”  I’ll share a few of them here, and then link to his excellent article.

If you solve problems for a living, you’ve probably had it happen. Just when you least expect it — and just when you need to be brilliant — you’re suddenly blocked. You pour on the coffee and tell yourself you’ll power it out. But all you produce is the jitters. You try burning the midnight oil, and all you do is exhaust yourself. Face it: your “idea factory” has decided to shut down. You’re stuck.

The condition can be so jarring that authors have a name for it: writers block. For them, it’s the inability to produce satisfactory new work. In some cases, it can last for years, as it did for such luminaries as Stephen King, Harper Lee, and Truman Capote. For the rest of us, it’s usually a temporary condition, but no less frustrating if you’re coming up on an important deadline and your well is suddenly, inexplicably dry.

Getting stuck doesn’t have to become a personal crisis. Not if you have a few tools in your toolkit for just such times. Here are seven surefire ways to avoid the time- wasting, agonizing period of non-productivity known as being stuck — and get quickly back on track:

1. Recognize that you’re stuck. But don’t panic.
“Getting stuck is all part of the process,” the senior engineer at a defense contractor remarked recently. “It doesn’t scare me like it did when I was younger.” Don’t let it scare you either, but learn to recognize the symptoms. If you find yourself aimlessly surfing the Internet and avoiding the project you’re on, this could be a sign. If you draw a mind-map but can only come up with several options, this could be a heads up that you’re stuck.

2. Consciously shift your environment.
Start shifting your environment, your perspective, and your approach to the problem you’re working on till you get back into a flow state. How? Start by changing where you’re working on the problem. Change your physical environment. Go work in the conference room.

3. Consciously shift your approach.
Tried and true problem-solving steps can sometimes be ignored as we try to cut corners and produce brilliant work on the fly. If you’re feeling stuck, revisit these steps: identifying the problem, setting goals, brainstorming possibilities, and assessing alternatives. Solutions to the bigger problems and projects often come, not when we command them to appear, but because we’ve incubated ideas for a period of time.

4. Shift your perspective.
“If stuck, I try to bounce the problem off others, thinking out loud,” observed one manager. “This always worked for me when I used to do software development.” Assumption assaulting is necessary because the human brain is designed for efficiency. It takes what neuroscientists call “perceptual shortcuts” to save energy.

Read the rest here.

Filed Under: Blogroll

Self-repairing fabric has innovative implications

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on April 27, 2017

I just saw this new Nano Cure Tech clothing line, and it’s pretty interesting. The Imperial Motion company is hoping to disrupt the textile industry with a jacket that actually repairs itself.  The wearer simply rubs the fabric together for a few seconds, and the hole completely disappears. You can read more about it over at Business Insider. Check out this video:

Future of farming in India depends on innovation, knowledge sharing

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on April 26, 2017

I came across a great article from The Times of India, that I thought I’d pass along about the inspiration behind innovative farming.  The author describes how the white fly disease affected cotton and forced him to take up research work. From there he developed a network of thought leaders who are changing the way crops are managed. Here is a snippet with a link to the full article:

How did you turn into a farmer scientist?

I developed an interest in agriculture after observing my father Surayya who adopted innovative agricultural practices 50 years ago. He used to supply seeds to the National Seed Corporation. I stopped my studies and followed in his footsteps. Often, scientists from Bapatla Agricultural College visited our farm with students and spoke of innovative farming and research. I learnt from them. I used to visit the college to find solutions for various problems related to plants. I was close to many professors and researchers who taught me. A chemist CV Naidu explained to me about mineral nutrition and how they work on plants. The scientists conducted trials in my farm and I started production of cotton hybrids in the 1980s. In those days, the government was the only source of providing cotton hybrids. But I started supplying hybrids to farmers in AP and Karnataka.

What pushed you to take up research in agriculture?

The white fly disease affected cotton and forced me to take up research work. I contacted Colorado University in the US for pest resistant genes, but my efforts went in vain. I then started working on varieties of chillies. In 1978, I found a fungi which kills bacteria. Dr Mohit Deen, a pathology professor at Bapatla College, helped me to some extent. Professors of Andhra University and Gitam University approached me to develop the fungi. I started research with the help of funds from Nabard. Later, I got patent rights on the fungi which kills insects but is not dangerous to human beings or animals. Some Germans came to my native place and took the soil. Now, it is being used for green house farming in Germany. By 1983, I had developed six varieties of chillies.

How did you became a homoeopath?

I met with an accident and sustained severe head injuries. My uncle Kodandaramaiah, who was a gold medallist from Oxford University and former superintendent of KGH in Vizag, said there was no medicine for it. One of my friends took me to a homoeopath who cured 50% of my ailment. I shifted to Vizag as I was introduced to Navayuga Engineering Company owner Visweswara Rao, who helped me a lot in research work and also in the study of homoeo medicines. I studied books on homoeopathy and started treating my family members. I have treated over 1 lakh people now. Around 50 persons are helping me extend this service since 1993. We are extending services to people free of cost…

Read the full interview here.

Biomimicry, spiders, and biodegradable shoes!

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on April 24, 2017

Imagine a running shoe that will biodegrade in 36 hours after you dispose of them. Just put them in your sink, and back to the earth they go!
The shoe company Adidas is going to introduce these shoes sometime this year. The innovation is the result of the company’s partnership with Munich-based biotech company AMSilk, for Adidas’s new Futurecraft line. The shoes, while still prototypes, will someday reach the next level of sustainability, using biomimicry in the form of a spider-inspired fabric that is 100 percent biodegradable and bio-sourced. Says Adidas:

The material is a sort of biomimicry inspired by spider silk. The Biosteel yarn is created using natural carbon sources that are fermented and converted into a white powder. It’s already been rolled out in a number of forms for medical serves like implants and surgical meshes and has been utilized for beauty products. The company’s third division is focused on textiles, which is where Adidas comes in.  (source)

Check out this video concept:

How Uber will turn its app into a “content marketplace” during rides

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on April 19, 2017

Are you one of the millions around the world who get where you’re going via Uber?

Uber is a wildly popular app-based transportation company valued as high as $68 billion and growing. According to TechCrunch, Uber is posed to make big changes to its app, to turn it into a “content marketplace.” Uber will reportedly provide consumers with a feed of entertainment and other features with potentially dozens of third party content partners.

The marketplace will be based on a new version of Trip Experiences, enabling users to get more information on the trip and on Uber partnerships. Says TechCrunch:

In the future, when a user gets into an Uber, the Uber app will turn “into a rich feed of cards,” in the words of Uber itself: a series of third-party apps will provide you with more information about the area or specific place you are going; some entertainment while you’re traveling; work and productivity integrations; and communications with the place where you are going specifically.

TechCrunch says Uber won’t charge developers to be a part of the new Trip Experiences feature, nor are there plans for Uber to include advertising in the feed.

Get more details here: