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.
Gest Aims to Replace the Keyboard with Hand Controls
As mobiles, smartwatches and wearables continue to evolve, the question of control becomes increasingly important. From voice-activated assistants to predictive text, we’ve developed a series of measures aimed at maintaining the same level of control we’ve come to expect from desktop computers on ever smaller screens.
Apotact Labs is hoping that its new creation may be a solution to all of that. The Gest is a fairly straight-forward looking device, a plain black strap that wraps around the palm with four wires attached that lead to adjustable finger bands. However, it houses a variety of accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers that enable it to transmit a huge variety of commands.
The first Gest prototype was created during a hackathon almost two years ago, and has undergone a significant evolution then to create the polished product that is now seeking funding on Kickstarter. It will work with both iOS and Android, and while initial support will focus on Photoshop, each device will come with an API, encouraging developers to create new applications or integrate Gest control into existing ones.
Perhaps the most exciting capability that Gest presents is keyboardless typing, with the kind of interface that could be integrated into newly emerging virtual and augmented reality platforms without breaking the illusion that they create. It’s still an experimental feature at this point, but the days of struggling with a tiny smartphone keyboard could soon be numbered.
Rihanna’s Favourite Designer Bundles Mobile Payments into Clothes
Adam Selman, the designer who rose to fame off the back of his famous see-through dress for Rihanna at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards in 2014, has joined forces with MasterCard and a variety of technology companies to integrate mobile payment technology into designer clothing.
The project is part of a MasterCard program aimed at bringing payments technology into a wide array of consumer products across the automotive, fashion and technology markets. Selman’s designs, alongside tech from Nymi, Ringly and General Motors, were on display at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas this week.
“Technology is vital to the fashion industry, from textiles, printing techniques, and innovations in garments, it keeps fashion changing and evolving,” said Selman. “Usually technology’s role in fashion is behind the scenes.
“What sets the MasterCard program apart is that it features the technology, while still remaining invisible, yet interactive and totally functional with the wearer. It’s exciting to be part of a project that is creating something new and fresh. At the end of the day, that’s what fashion is all about.”
Scalevo Wheelchair Can Climb Stairs With Ease
Wheelchair design is a tricky task, with every added feature threatening to make the device too large or cumbersome for everyday use. There have been stair-climbing wheelchairs in the past, but they tended to be impractical for everything except negotiating stairs. A team of students at ETH Zurich and the Zurich University of the Arts put their minds to creating a wheelchair that could tackle stairs and remain a sleek, slim design.
The Scalevo is what they created, and it more than fits the bill. It sticks close to the size and dimensions of traditional manual wheelchairs, easily fitting through standard door spaces and capable of manoeuvering indoors without hassle. The Segway-style two wheel system gives users complete control over regular travel, turning on the spot and moving at speed without the need for huge upper body function or arm strength.
When it comes to scaling stairs, the parallel rubber tracks at the bottom come into play, activated by a button in the armrest. The tracks adjust the angle of the seat as it climbs, ensuring the user is always upright and comfortable, and the chair can climb steep angles, steps made of any material and even spiral staircases, according to the team.
Altwork Station Encourages You to Lie Down on the Job
Over the past couple of years, we’ve heard increasing concerns that sitting down at a desk all day could be terrible for our health, leading to a growth in popularity for standing desks that encourage workers to be upright.
However, both sitting and standing desks can prove uncomfortable, especially for someone with joint pain, so the company behind the Altwork station has aimed to create something that suits every working position.
The workstation offers four different working modes – sit, stand, collaborate (where the screen swings out to facilitate co-working) and focus, where the entire unit tilts backwards, allowing you to lie down with your laptop, monitor, keyboard and mouse suspended above you, kept in place with sturdy clamps and magnetic attachments.
Battery-less Torch Generates Light from Body Heat
The Lumen is a keychain-sized torch that solves the problem of running out of batteries by generating power from the user’s own body heat, thanks to a small thermoelectric generator that needs a difference of only around 16 degrees Fahrenheit to light up its Super Bright LED.
When the temperature is even hotter, for particularly warm-handed users, the excess power is stored in a capacitor for future use. While thermoelectric generators have been around for a while, they are still used relatively rarely, and the Lumen’s inventor Zhuravskiy is one of the first to apply the technology to a torch.
In addition to being convenient, the device is environmentally-friendly, eliminating the need for batteries and making use of a power source that is largely ignored by most people. The Lumen has been a huge success on Kickstarter, powering past its initial $5,000 (£3,200) goal and currently sitting at over $105,000 worth of funding, with 13 days left to go.