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Innovation Lab: The Biggest Ideas in Tech This Week

Tim Maytom

At Mobile Marketing we're proud to help tech companies showcase their cutting-edge solutions; the Startup Showcase at our Mobile Marketing Summits gives a platform to those companies, and brings audiences one step closer to ideas and developments that are breaking new ground in the market.


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 most 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.

'Wearable' Bananas Measure Your Heart Rate



Dole Japan has sponsored the Tokyo Marathon since 2008, handing out bananas to runners who need a mid-race energy burst. In the past, it's given out fruit with runners' times and stats printed on the peel, but this year, it's gone one step further with Wearable Bananas.

Two runners will be selected to wear the edible wearable, which will use an LED display to give them updates on their lap time and heart rate, as well as displaying messages from social media that well-wishers have sent.

What's more, after the race, the bananas are totally edible, and can be consumed as a pick me up. It's unclear if all the electronics involved impact the taste, but those watching the marathon on 22 February will no doubt be keeping an eye out for banana-wielding runners at the finish line.

xoo beltNifty Creation Lets You Charge Your Phone Using Your Belt

Hardware startup Nifty has come up with a creative solution to running out of battery when you're on the move with the XOO Belt, a wearable charger that utilises a new type of flat, flexible battery to let you charge while you're out and about.

The leather of the belt contains six layers of the thin battery, providing 2,100mAh of additional power, which is enough to charge an iPhone 6 and have energy left over. The belt itself takes around three hours to recharge via USB.

The belt connects to phones via a low-profile microUSB-to-USB cable, with an optional Lightning adapter for iPhone users. The belt is stylish too, produced in collaboration with menswear fashion house Casely-Hayford, and available in several designs.

Icelandair Recreates the Northern Lights on Plane's Ceiling



As part of a promotion encouraging tourists to stop over in the country, Icelandair has outfitted the cabin of a Boeing 757 with an LED ceiling that recreates the effect of the Aurora Borealis for passengers.

The aircraft, known as the Hekla Aurora, has been customised to show a Northern Lights-style display throughout the flight, with passengers saying the effect is subtle and relaxing. The plane's onboard wi-fi has been set up to allow travellers to share the experience using photos and video while flying.

The plane's exterior is equally as impressive, with paint company AkzoNobel hiring a team of expert airbrush artists to give the 757 an appropriate colour scheme inspired by the Norther Lights and the Icelandic landscape.

xyze tape measureSmart Tape Measure Eliminates Guesswork from Clothes Shopping

Clothes shopping can be frustrating at the best of times, with different stores using different sizing measures, and when you factor online shopping into the equation, it can become a nightmare of returns and re-orders. Fashion tech startup Xyze has created On, a smart digital measuring tape that ensures you get the perfect fit every time.

The circular tape enables users to take measurements as precisely as a trained tailor which are sent using Bluetooth to an accompanying app and stored in a digital profile. The app then translates your measurements into different brands' size specifications, letting you search by brand to instantly know which size to order.

TetraBin Gamifies Environmental Awareness



Aimed at inspiring people of all ages to become more aware of their impact on their environment, the TetraBin has a unique way of encouraging people to throw their rubbish in a bin – by transforming it into a game of Tetris.

The project, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, uses three custom-designed LED panels and in-built speakers to replicate the classic game on the bin's exterior. When trash is placed into the bin, infrared sensors detect it and drop a block down on the LED display.

Two prototypes appeared at Vivid Sydney 2014, the largest lighting festival in Australia, and very quickly attracted crowds eager to play, and the makers hope to be at this year's South by Southwest Festival to demonstrate the device. There are even plans to produce a miniature version, around the size of a drinks can, as a reward for backers.