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Innovation Lab: Dog Selfies, Space Igloos and Laser Razors

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.

Perfect Puppy Selfies are Within Reach with New Devicepooch selfie
Getting your selfie game on point is hard enough, but when you introduce animals into the equation, it can become almost impossible to get a good photo with your pet, especially when there are a lot of distractions going on.

Pooch Selfie offers a simple solution to this problem for anyone looking to document their time with their four-legged friends. The peripheral attaches to smartphones and tablets, leaving room for front and rear-facing cameras, and includes a colourful tennis ball that can hold your dog's attention while you snap away to your heart's content.

The tennis ball can also detach, for some quick games of fetch to keep your pup happy, and includes a squeaky element to bring their focus back when they get distracted by a squirrel or an appealing pile of leaves.

The device is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter to begin manufacturing, and once it becomes available in stores it's sure to leap to the top of any digital savvy pet owner's wish list. No word yet on a dangling string version for cats though.

Smart Home Device Promises to Eliminate Bathroom Odour

Technology is being put to use to improve every aspect of our home lives, from efficient heating to smart locks, so it was only a matter of time before someone got around to tackling embarrassing toilet odours through the application of some cutting edge tech.

The team behind the Odorless have developed a device that fits inside the cistern of toilets, using an activated charcoal filter to eliminate smells, rather than cover them up with a chemical mask. Testing by researchers at University College Dublin found that it captured 99 per cent of the micro-organisms and fungi in the air that can cause odours.

"The Odorless is perfect for any home, bed and breakfast, restaurant, office, any place with a shared bathroom," said Victor Rey, president of The Odorless. "There is nothing more embarrassing than having to face someone after leaving the room annihilated, it's one of the worst feelings in the world."

The device is easily installed in minutes, and the separate battery unit is motion activated, saving energy until it is needed following a flush, and warning owners when new filters or battery recharges are needed. The Odorless is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.

mars ice house'Space Igloo' Wins Prize for Martian Habitat
A NASA competition aimed at developing architectural concepts for Martian habitats that make use of 3D printing technology has awarded its top prize to a 'space igloo' made using ice present on the planet's surface.

The Mars Ice House was designed by Search Consortium and Clouds AO, and is meant to be a technologically sound and aesthetically pleasing environment to live in which takes advantage of the expected abundance of ice on Mars and other extra-terrestrial locations.

The structure uses a series of nested domes enclosed with a special corrosion-resistant plastic membrane. It could be largely constructed by self-assembling components and semi-autonomous robots, allowing astronauts to travel without heavy equipment.

"The creativity and depth of the designs we've seen have impressed us," said Monsi Roman, program manager of Centennial Challenges. "These teams were not only imaginative and artistic with their entries, but they also really took into account the life-dependent functionality our future space explorers will need in an off-Earth habitat."

Laser Razor Promises to Eliminate Irritation and Waste

The Skarp Laser Razor is aiming to bring shaving into the 21st century, throwing out blades in favour of a laser array that can melt through hair and produce a shave free from scratches, irritation, cuts and razor burn.

2bn razors and razor heads are thrown away annually in the US alone, and due to their hazardous nature they cannot be recycled, leading to a huge amount of waste. The Skarp gets rid of the need to replace dull blades, and can even be used without water.

The team behind the device spent a decade finding a wavelength of light that could cut through every kind and colour of hair, and the resulting device can be used by men and women of any age and race to remove hair. The Skarp is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.

clone dogsSouth Korean Firm will Clone Your Dog for $100,000
Sooam Biotech made headlines in 2007 when it cloned Missy, a companion dog. Since then, the firm has advanced its technology to the point where you can now clone a deceased dog as long as you have some of its skin cells and a spare $100,000 (£66,000).

The relatively simple process harvests DNA from the skin cells, then collects a donor egg from a female dog, emptying out its DNA by removing the nucleus. The cloned DNA is injected into the empty egg and fused with the embryonic contents, which is implanted into a surrogate female dog who will carry the clone to term.

The firm has faced criticism from animal advocates who argue that the money could be better spent supporting abandoned animals, and medical ethicists who question the amount of surgeries and other procedures inflicted on the dogs to create the clones. However, this has not stopped wealthy pet owners from creating near-perfect replicas of their deceased dogs.