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Innovation Lab: Wearables for Cows, Power Gloves & Throwable Cameras

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 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.

Fitness Tracking for Cows Tracks Livestock Health



We've seen wearables for tracking and streamlining pretty much every aspect of human life now, so it makes sense that tech firms would be branching out to deal with animal problems too. That's precisely what Quantified Ag are doing with their new wearable solution for monitoring the health and fitness of livestock remotely.

Checking the health of cows has been done in the same way for thousands of years, with farmers and herders going out on foot or horseback to check for signs and symptoms that livestock might be ill or injured. With 29m cattle in the US alone, that's a lot of cows to look at.

Quantified Ag's solution adds smart tech to the ear tags already used on cattle farms, using them to pick up movement like steps and head position, as well as temperature. This can enable ranchers to spot signs of illness early, and easily identify individual cows within a herd.

The system includes both a desktop dashboard and a mobile app that can enable users to check herd data on the go, and the company is hoping that it can encourage traditional cowboys to pack a smartphone alongside their spurs and lasso, and bring about an agricultural revolution in the process.

mytranshealthStartup Aims to Tackle Transgender Healthcare Issues

The challenges faced by transgender people have been getting more of a spotlight in the media lately, but despite growing awareness among the public of the barriers they face, even something as simple as finding a doctor can be a difficult process for transgender people.

Healthcare staff often lack the appropriate training and knowledge needed to provided trans healthcare, insurance companies have been known to deny coverage, and individual can face discrimination from both medical and mental health professionals. Over half of trans people have had to educate their own doctors on how to treat them, and around a fifth have been refused care.

Startup MyTransHealth is hoping to address some of these issue with a doctor-search referral site that helps trans people find healthcare practitioners that have the right experience and knowledge, based on recommendations and data provided by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

The service will soon begin beta testing in New York City and Miami, and will enable users to filter by categories like medical, mental health and legal, as well as by needs like wheelchair accessibility, insurance coverage or language.

3D Printer Made of Lego Prints Out Lego Too



If you're going to make a 3D printer that can build your Lego designs automatically, you might as well go all the way and build the printer from Lego too. At least that was the thinking behind the latest creation by Jason Allermann at JK Brickworks, which can scan a pixelated image and then build it using Lego bricks.

The printer uses a Lego Mindstorms EV3 machine, the company's programmable device that was originally designed to make robots, which has a colour sensor able to scan images and translate that data into a plan for building.

Once the image is scanned, a printing head takes over, applying tiny bricks to a white Lego board, with the appropriate colours selected from a gravity feed system. Altogether printing a plate takes about 20 minutes, a lot longer than doing it yourself would take, but one can't deny the technical skill it takes to make an entire functioning 3D printer out of a children's toy.

happaratusPower Glove Lets You Carve Wood and Stone With Your Fingertips

Made as graduation project by Royal College of Art student Morten Grønning Nielsen, the Happaratus is a unique tool for working with hard materials like stone and wood while keeping the fine control that your hand offers.

The 'power glove' has abrasive pads mounted on the the tips of the thumb, index and middle fingers which oscillate in opposite directions, powered by a hydraulic motor. When moved over the surface of materials, they can carve away at sections, sculpting wood in the same way you might mold clay by hand.

The pads come in a variety of different shapes and made from different materials, depending on the surface you are working on and the effect you are looking to achieve. As well as making objects with the tool himself, Grønning Nielsen gave devices to three different artists who work in different materials, all of whom produced pieces which are now being displayed beside the Happaratus itself at the Show RCA graduate exhibition.

Durable Camera Ball Aims to Save Lives



Being able to see around the next corner would be an invaluable tool to law enforcement, fire fighters and search and rescue teams, and thanks to Boston-based startup Bounce Imaging its within the realm of possibility.

The Explorer is a ball-shaped device that can be rolled or thrown into environments to take 360 panoramic photos and transmit them back to an iOS or Android device, allowing users to check around corners, into rooms and across walls in safety.

There are a number of camera balls on the market, but the Explorer is the first one designed specifically for emergency response, with a thick rubber shell ensuring durability as well as LED lights for illuminating rooms, and smart image stitching technology. In development since 2012, the first 100 Explorers are shipping to US police departments next week, and the company hopes to add radiation, carbon monoxide and temperature sensors into future models.