Airship

Innovation Lab: Cardboard Guitars, Automated Japan and Bionic Knees

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.

Packaging Company Creates a Cardboard Guitar


Ernest Packaging Solutions generally make boxes, bubble wrap and other shipping supplies, but in an effort to show the flexibility of its products, the company has teamed up with Signal Snowboards to create a series of content marketing shorts called 'Cardboard Chaos' that create skateboards, surfboards and more using corrugated card. The latest challenge saw the Fender Custom Shop drafted into the partnership to build a playable cardboard Stratocaster.

The guitar is outfitted with the usual frets, knobs, pickups and electronics found on a traditional electric guitar, but the body and neck are constructed from cardboard, meaning that you can see right through the guitar as you play it.

After Ernest put together a densely packed block of corrugated card that would be strong enough to cope with the 250lbs of torque that the guitar strings create, the master builders at the Fender Custom Shop hand-cut the shape of the body and neck and fitted it with the necessary electronics.

The resulting instrument was strong enough to play, and impressed the Fender staff by sounding identical to a normal wooden-bodied Stratocaster. The guitar was even given to Brad Delson, lead guitarist of Linkin Park, to put through its paces, and got his seal of approval.

robot ASIMO_offers_teaHalf of Japan Could be Run by Robots in Next 20 Years
By 2035, 49 per cent of all the jobs in Japan could be accomplished by robots, according to a new study by data analysts Nomura Research Institute (NRI), who examined more that 600 jobs and found that almost half of them could be replaced by computer systems or automated workers.

The research was carried out by lead researcher Yumi Wakao and Professor Michael Osborne from Oxford University, who had previously investigated the same problem in both the US and UK and found that around 47 per cent of jobs were at risk.

Jobs were assessed based on the degree of creativity required, so while roles like teaching, writing and design work are relatively safe, things like operating helpdesks, agricultural labour and deliveries are all likely to be performed by robotic labour in the near future.

"This is only a hypothetical technical calculation," said Wakao. "It doesn't take into account social factors", meaning that while these jobs can be done by computer systems or robots, doesn't mean they will be. However, if the rise of the automated checkout is anything to go by, we should all be a little worried.

Put Yourself in a Drone with Personal Flight Machine from Singapore


With all the high-flying quadcopters on sale nowadays, it was only a matter of time before one was put together that could hold a human being aloft. Engineering students at the National University of Singapore have done exactly that, creating the Snowstorm, an electric-powered aircraft that can carry a person through the air for up to five minutes.

The chair in the centre of the construction includes controls for the operator, managing the thrust, pitch, roll and yaw of the machine thanks to a customised flight control system, and underneath are six landing legs with inflatable ball ends that absorb the shock of landing.

"Designing and building Snowstorm was a great learning opportunity for us," said Shawn Sim, one of the team behind the vehicle. "The toughest part of this engineering challenge was ensuring a good thrust to weight ratio to allow the craft to lift a person into the air. At every stage of our design, we constantly had to balance and consider trade-offs between the types of materials, their characteristics and weight. In some instances, we even 3D-printed parts, such as our landing gear mount, just so we can have a customised and optimal fit."

talking handbagShopping Bag Shouts At You For Buying Things
If you're trying to curb a shopping addiction, or just want to keep a closer eye on your spending habits this festive season, three design students from Dundee have an accessory with you in mind. The students at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design have created a bag that shouts at you whenever you try to use your credit card.

The unisex satchel has electronics hidden inside a false bottom, and whenever your card is removed from a special pocket in the bag, it triggers a gruff Cockney voice saying phrases like "Don't even think about it" and "Put it down, put it back".

If the card is replaced quickly, the bag assumes you have rethought your purchase and congratulates you. However, if you take too long it will continue to berate you while you make your purchase and hurry out of the shop.

'Bionic Knee Brace' Transfers Energy to Boost Leg Strength


The knee is the most commonly injured joint on the body, which is why Spring Loaded Technology has been working on a new form of leg brace for three years, and the Levitation is the result of that hard work.

The key element of the design is a mechanical hinge on the joint which stores energy when you bend your knee, then releases it in customisable increments when you straighten it out, supporting both the motion and the strength of the knee to prevent fatique and reduce compression.

"What we are really doing is making highly advanced exoskeleton technology, that was once inaccessible to the consumer market, readily available," said Chris Cowper-Smith, CEO at Spring Loaded Technology. The brace can also aid in injury prevention, for both athletes and for people at risk of developing osteoarthritis.