MM Awards

Innovation Lab: Listening Shirts, Droneless Debates and Bin Stompers

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.

'Sound Shirt' Enables Deaf Users to 'Feel' Orchestra


Fashion technology firm CuteCircuit has worked with the classical orchestra Junge Symphoniker Hamburg to create a wearable device that translates music into touch sensations, enabling deaf people who wear it to experience a concerto like never before.

CuteCircuit worked for six months on the Sound Shirt, which includes 16 micro-actuators that can vibrate at precise intensities, recreating the experience of music for the wearer by moving with different rhythms, strengths and speeds.

Powerful microphones are positioned in different areas of the stage to pick up eight distinct types of instrument and sound, which are then assigned different areas of the body, for example the double bass on the stomach, and the violins along the arms.

People with hearing difficulties who want to experience the Sound Shirt can register with the orchestra to be alerted and book slots at different concerts during its upcoming season, enabling them to enjoy the symphony in a way few others have.

debate2016-dedrone-v2Presidential Debate Uses Anti-drone Tech
Wednesday saw the final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for the US Presidential election, and while both candidates were under a lot of pressure, one thing they didn't have to worry about was illegal drone photography, thanks to a new system implemented by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).

The event was protected by a sophisticated system of automated sensors and networked software that was used to detect and identify potential drone threats during the debate while it was held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"Even though Las Vegas has hosted heads of state and presidents, the Presidential debate, coupled with the large crowd that it drew, posed a unique set of risks," said Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts of the LVMPD. "We were able to seamlessly integrate the tracker into our safety plan. Having technology that will protect us from the air and provide real-time information was a huge advantage to having a safe and uneventful evening."

The technology was provided by drone detection firm Dedrone and its partner AirVu, a global leader in unmanned aerial security. Together they deployed a network of devices that extended beyond the campus perimeter, and could recognise approaching drones through a combination of visual, acoustic and radio frequency sensors.

Skunklock Will Spray Bike Thieves in Noxious Chemicals


With 1.5m bikes stolen a year in the US alone, it's no surprise that tech designers have been generating a variety of solutions aimed at deterring would-be bicycle thieves. Skunklock has a unique approach when it comes to defending your two-wheeler - a noxious chemical spray.

The device, which is currently seeking funding on Indiegogo, is a hardened medium-carbon steel U-lock, just like you might see on any other bike stand, but if broken, cut, pierced or sawn, it blasts the intruder with a disgusting odor.

With the name of the device proudly displayed on the side, the makers are hoping that it should be enough to stop thieves from trying to steal your bike in the first place, but it will certainly deter thieves if activated, and will make any particularly determined burglars easy to find afterwards.

cozmo_ecosystemCozmo is the Most Popular Robot of the Holiday Season
Tiny robot Cozmo, created by AI and robotics toymakers Anki, is set to be one of the most popular toys of the holiday season this year, thanks to its powerful intelligence and playful personality.

"Cozmo not only represents a significant engineering milestone, but is a physical manifestation of robots that have a deep personality and character like the ones we've come to love in Hollywood films," said Boris Sofman, co-founder and CEO of Anki.

Paired with an accompanying app, the robot can recognise humans using camera, will greet familiar users, and can play multiple games using a series of smart cubes which enable humans to challenge Cozmo to tests of skill and speed.

Stomp O Matic Will Crush Down Your Full Bins


YouTuber Colin Furze is known for his eccentric garage inventions, and his latest is a high-tech solution to a particular grimy problem – what to do when your bins get too full, but you've still got stuff to put in them?

The Stomp O Matic 500C uses a motorised bench-grinder to power two pistons, which are in turn attached to feet from a clothing store mannequin, all dressed up in a stylish pair of shorts.

The end result is not a particularly effective solution for the problem at hand (especially when it sets fire at the end of the video), but it does demonstrate that there's no problem too disgusting for a high-tech approach.