At Mobile Marketing we’re proud to help tech companies showcase their cutting-edge solutions, whether it’s on our website, in our magazine or at our Mobile Marketing Summits. Giving a platform to companies that are breaking new ground in their market brings audiences one step closer to the ideas and developments that will shape tomorrow.
In that spirit, our Innovation Lab feature takes a step beyond the world of apps, ads and handsets with slightly bigger screens, in order to share some of the tech world’s innovative ideas. They might be interesting, disruptive or just outright strange, but these are the stories that have caught our eye over the past week.
US Navy Builds Transforming Drone for Air and Sea
The United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has revealed its latest advancement in drone design with an unmanned aerial vehicle that can transform into a submarine for underwater tasks.
The Flimmer aims to solve some of the problems that exist with unmanned undersea vehicles, which tend to be slow and highly dependent on ocean conditions when it comes to reaching their targets.
By deploying into the air initially, the Flimmer can be launched quickly, efficiently reaching its target zone and bypassing high sea currents before diving into the water to perform its mission.
The Flimmer can travel at up to 57mph in the air and 11mph in the water, and could be used to study aquatic environments or even identify the source of oil leaks during disaster management.
Wikipedia for Robots Will Teach Your Bot to Make Sandwiches
One of the key issues limiting robots at the moment is that they tend to be built for a single use case, and even if the design is capable of more, programming them with additional tasks is prohibitively difficult for most people.
RoboHow, a European research company, is aiming to solve this issue with what’s been described as a ‘Wikipedia for Robots’, a database containing information on hundred of everyday tasks from reloading printer paper to flipping pancakes, all in a format that enables robots to learn them.
The key to the teaching project is a specially designed system that enables robots to perform both learning and communication in a way that’s similar to humans, processing information for themselves after receiving a set of instructions and applying the knowledge to similar situations in the future.
The scientists behind the project are putting together open-ease.org, the Open Knowledge for AI-Enabled Robots to create an encyclopedia of instructions for robots capable of this kind of learning. The initial test task – making a pancake – involves a number of skills that robots typically find difficult, and once that’s been cracked, the possibilities are almost limitless.
Scientists Aim to Save Bees with Sensor-filled Backpacks
Colony Collapse Disorder, which has caused a massive drop in bee populations, is a serious issue for the world’s food supplies, with honey bees responsible for pollinating a third of the world’s foot supply.
Researchers in Australia are aiming to narrow down some of the factors that may be causing the problem with tiny RFID ‘backpacks’ attached to individual bees that will enable them to identify stresses on the hives as a whole.
“The tiny technology allows researchers to analyse the effects of stress factors including disease, pesticides, air pollution, water contamination, diet and extreme weather on the movements of bees and their ability to pollinate,” said Professor Paulo de Souza, science leader at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.
It’s a Bird! It’s a Robot! It’s RoboSwan!
Researchers in Singapore have found a unique way to track water pollution in the city’s reservoirs, with a robotic swan packed with sensors that sends feedback on water quality as it swims around.
The New Smart Water Assessment Network (or NUSwan) aims to combine the latest in sensor technology with an aesthetically pleasing exterior that doesn’t discourage recreational use of the waterways.
The device collects data on acidity, oxygen and chlorophyll levels and can also collect samples for closer examination, either working autonomously or receiving instructions via text message from the researchers at the Tropical Marine Science Institute at the National University of Singapore.
OnCourse Goggles Keep Open Water Swimmers Going Straight
There’s a whole world of difference between swimming lengths in an indoor pool and keeping going in a straight line when out in a lake or open water, and its a problem that triathletes and other open water swimmers have been dealing with for years.
OnCourse Goggles aim to solve that problem with LED guides inside a pair of swimming goggles which indicate when swimmers are deviating from their set path, which can be set simply by looking at a target such as a buoy or far shore, and clicking the side of the goggles.
The device is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, and will aim to retail for around $200 (£130) once it’s successfully in production. For athletes looking to shave valuable seconds off their times, it’s a small price to pay for the knowledge they’re headed in the right direction.