Programmatic Lunch

Innovation Lab: Magic Mirrors, Hacking Mosquitoes and Future Motorbikes

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.

Smart Mirror Provides Beauty Tips for Better Skin


Asking your mirror whether or not you were the most beautiful used to be limited to fairy tale queens, but the HiMirror is bringing that idea into reality, using smart technology to provide users with personalised tips on how to improve their skincare.

The mirror is equipped with a high-resolution camera that analyses your face in detail, identifying dark spots, fine lines, pores and other elements of your complexion. Then, using data gathered from dermatologists, it produces a personalised 'skin index synthesis' report, which provides data on multiple metrics.

The mirror then recommends a skincare regain aimed at improving and maintaining your skin's health, enabling users to track their progress and quantify the changes that different products make.

The device can even track what beauty products you use, scanning barcodes to maintain a database of your bathroom cabinet and even sending you reminders about expiration dates or when you're about to run out. All that, plus standard smart mirror capabilities like displaying local weather, reminding you of appointments or even playing music.

Mosquito_Tasmania_cropMapping Mosquito Brains Could Help Fight Malaria
A group of scientists at John Hopkins University are studying the sensory neurons in mosquitoes in an attempt to discover exactly what attracts them, in the hopes of making a more efficient repellent and, in turn, slowing the spread of diseases like malaria and the Zika virus.

“All mosquitoes, including the one that transmits malaria, use their sense of smell to find a host for a blood meal. Our goal is to let the mosquitoes tell us what smells they find repulsive and use those to keep them from biting us,” says Christopher Potter, assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Scientists have previously had very little idea about how mosquito repellents actually work, and so improving them has proved a case of trial and error. The researchers have created a method of genetically labeling the olfactory neurons in mosquito brains so they express a special glowing green protein.

This enabled the scientists to identify how the mosquito's three 'noses' interact with its brain, and found that, like humans, mosquitoes' sense of smell linked to their sense of taste, creating an idea of flavour. They are now working on identifying how the insects spot the 'human flavour', and how this sense can best be disrupted.

BMW's Concept Motorcycle Will Make Accidents "a Thing of the Past"


Automaker BMW has released a teaser video showcasing a new self-balancing concept motorcycle that it claims will eliminate accidents thanks to its in-built safety features and augmented reality visor.

The Motorrad Vision Next 100 is a zero-emission vehicle that blends automotive and smart technology, connecting to a smart visor worn by the rider to provide speed and navigation information, as well as integrated rear-view mirrors, all controlled using eye movements.

“The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 embodies the BMW Group’s vision of biking in a connected world – an analogue experience in a digital age," said Edgar Heinrich, head of design at BMW Motorrad. "Motorcycling is about escaping from the everyday: the moment you straddle your bike, you are absolutely free. Your bike is the great escape.”

According to Heinrich, the bike is so safe that users won't have a need for a helmet or conventional safety gear, with the suit that comes with the bike instead designed to maximise comfort, adjusting to different temperatures and speeds. Whether the bike is truly safe enough to remove the need for standard safety gear remains to be seen, but it's an exciting glimpse at how smart technology will impact the future of motoring.

Pettorway-dog-3-small-v1PetRover is the Fitness Tracker for Your Furry Friend
With the 'quantified self' movement gaining more popular, it was only a matter of time before someone applied it to pampered pets, giving owners some insight into how active their cat or dog is.

The PetRover is a smart collar that tracks fitness and activity in dogs and cats, enabling owners to ensure they get the recommended 30 to 60 minutes of sustained activity every day. The collar's accompanying app enables users to set custom goals, track exercise by type and quality, and compare the pet to similar ones.

The PetRover also helps in the case of lost pets, tracking location and alerting owners when their pet moves beyond Bluetooth range so that they can quickly be found and brought to heel.

Medical Drones Take to the Skies in Rwanda


Rwanda's hilly terrain and rainy season have made delivering essential medical supplies like blood, vaccines and medication a nightmare, with deliveries even short distances away taking hours to fulfill in trucks due to poor quality roads and difficult journeys.

Drone company Zipline International, in conjunction with the Rwandan government, is aiming to solve that problem, officially launching a drone delivery service this week that will provide medical supplies to remote parts of the country.

The 29lb fixed wing UAV can travel up to 60mph and make 93 mile round trips, enabling it to reach much of the small African nation from hubs placed near medical supply warehouses, travelling to isolated hospitals and delivering payloads via parachute.