Programmatic Lunch

Innovation Lab: Emotional Cars, Electrical Luggage and Heart Harpoons

Tim Maytom

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.

honda concept car
SoftBank and Honda Unite for Emotion-detecting Car

Japanese telecom company SoftBank has announced plans to team up with Honda to create cars that can not only talk to their drivers, but read their emotions in order to tailor how they interact.

At a special event in Tokyo, representatives from both companies announced their vision of the future, that would utilise the technology behind SoftBank's Pepper robot to assess drivers' speech and other data compiled via sensors and in-car cameras. Pepper already serves as a customer assistant in a number of SoftBank's Japanese branches.

The vehicles will offer drivers advice and assess situations, as well as providing lone drivers with company and conversation in a move that seems to push us beyond our traditional vision of the connected car, and closer to something along the lines of Knight Rider.

"Imagine if robots, with their super intelligence, devoted themselves to humans," said Masayoshi Son, founder of SoftBank Corp, at the event. "And imagine that cars themselves became supercomputers or robots one day. Honda will be the first to adopt this technology."

Ride Your Luggage Through the Airport in Style


Navigating the airport can be a chore, given the queuing, the crowds and the often labyrinth-like design of terminals. Modobag aims to lighten the experience a little, and give you a speed boost when getting to your gate, by letting you ride your suitcase.

The carry-on sized suitcase is compliant with TSA and FAA regulations, meaning it can be taken through security and onto the plane with you, and integrates a 200-watt electric motor that is capable of journeying up to 6 miles on a single charge.

While the Modobag can be pulled like a traditional wheeled suitcase, with an extendable handle, when you need to travel fast it can carry you at up to 8mph, around three times faster than walking speed, and has a dual braking system for prompt stops.

The bag also includes a steering column, touch control dashboard and two USB charging ports for power on the go, and an integrated GPS tracker and companion app means you'll never lose it. The bag is currently seeking funding on Indiegogo, where it can be pre-ordered.

drone boat thievesTeens with Drone Thwart Boat Thieves
A group of teenagers who were holidaying on Camano Island in Washington helped stop thieves who were attempting to steal their speedboat by tracking them with a drone over the ocean.

According to ABC News, the thieves were spotted by 14 year-old Chris Harris and his friend as they untied the speedboat where it had been docked the night before. As the thieves made their escape, towing their own craft, Harris followed them from the air with his DJI Phantom drone, a graduation gift.

The drone flew around 20 feet above the thieves at speeds of up to 50mph, and was able to capture footage of them in 4K video. While Harris eventually lost track of them, the footage enabled police to make an educated guess as to their destination, and arrest them upon their arrival.

Medical Harpoon Helps Reduce Need for Open-heart Surgery


If your doctor suggested that they were going to use a harpoon during a medical procedure, you'd be forgiven for asking them to repeat themselves, but a new experimental device being put through clinical trials is helping to repair heart valves without the need for open-heart surgery.

The Harpoon TSD-5 may look and sound intimidating, but in tests involving 11 patients at a hospital in Poland, the device was able to achieve a 100 per cent success rate in treating degenerative mitral regurgitation, one of the most common types of heart valve disorder.

The TSD-5 anchors artificial cords within heart valves, replacing those that have been broken or stretched, which can lead to blood travelling in the wrong direction. The harpoon uses a specially designed needle wrapped with 50 coils of polymer to create a knot and repair the damage.

Fingerprint_detail_on_male_fingerPolice 3D Print Dead Man's Fingers to Unlock Phone
Biometric security features are making mobile devices safer and safer when it comes to storing data and making transactions, but these additional barriers can make things harder for law enforcement too.

When the police showed up at the lab of Anil Jain, a professor at Michigan State University, it wasn't because he was in trouble. Instead, police needed his help in unlocking a suspect's phone.

Because the investigation is ongoing, details are still limited, but according to Fusion, the phone's owner had been murdered, and police believed his phone might contain clues on suspects. The victim's fingerprints were already on file, so Jain and his PhD student were able to recreate his fingers using 3D printing that also mimicked the capacitive touch of human skin.