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.
Pizza Hut Makes Fast Food Funky with Turntable Boxes
Up until this week, the closest association between pizza and music was probably Vanilla Ice's song for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret of the Ooze. That's all set to change though, with an innovative new promotion from Pizza Hut that transforms takeaway boxes into turntables.
Teaming up with printable electronics firm Novalia, Pizza Hut has created a limited edition pizza box that can be unfolded to function as a turntable for digital music when connected via Bluetooth.
The turntables, which function via conductive ink, are actually fairly advanced, with two scratchable decks and controls for playback, pitch, volume and crossfading included on the box. The box requires the connected phone or computer to have DJ software or apps installed, but does come with batteries included to power the turntable feature.
The boxes will only be available from a few select locations in the UK, with further details on how consumers can get hold of one of the special packs set to be shared via Pizza Hut's social media.
Pink Paint Provides NASA with Aeronautic Insights
NASA's aircraft are turning pretty in pink as researchers at the organisation's aerospace labs across the country turn to bright pink pressure-sensitive paint (PSP) to make advances in aeronautical design.
The specialised paint provides engineers with visual information on how aircraft components are interacting with air pressure and flow, helping them work on new designs that could cut fuel use in half, as well as reducing noise and pollution.
"PSP is great because as long as you can apply paint to the area you want to test, illuminate it with a lamp, and view it with a camera, you can gather data you might not otherwise be able to get," said Nettie Roozeboom, an aerospace engineer with NASA's Ames Research Centre in California.
Molecules within the paint called luminophores are activated by blue LED lights, with lower pressure areas shining more brightly. This difference in how the paint fluoresces can be analysed and used to better understand how new aircraft designs might perform, as well as improving computer modelling tools also used by NASA.
Object Frame Creates Illusion of Slow Motion Time Bubble
Artist and scientist Jeff Lieberman previously hosted a show called Time Warp that focused on moments captured using extreme slow motion videography. Now, he's created a picture frame that, incredibly, creates the illusion of slow motion movement in real objects.
The Slow Dance frame uses a combination of high speed strobe lighting and vibration to create the illusion. Because the light blinks at 80 times a second, your eyes and mind process it as continuous, but it creates the visual illusion of objects moving in slow motion or jumping discretely to new positions instantaneously.
"One of the primary things I hope people get from interacting with this piece is a moment of pure silence, where they're so overtaken by the pure sensory experience of seeing something that breaks all of their rules of reality, that their mind just stops and they're like a newborn, taking the world in as it is without any analysis," said Lieberman.
Having Trouble Catching Pokémon? This Phone Case Will Help
Israeli firm Innotop is the latest company to cash in on the Pokémon Go phenomenon, by manufacturing phone cases that promise to make it easier to catch the digital creatures in the popular app. Similar bespoke designs have already been seen online, but Innotop is the first to mass produce a case purely for Pokémon Go purposes.
The Aimer Case for Pokémon Go will be available online and at various sales points around the world, with retailers in the US, UK and Israel all reportedly interested in stocking the device. Initially the design will work with iPhone 6 and 6S devices, with plans for other smartphone models in the pipeline.
The minimalist design has two modes. The primary 'Aimer' mode guides users' fingers to help them catch Pokémon with greater ease, reducing both user frustration and the number of Pokéballs used in each attempt. The 'Carry' mode snaps to the back of phones, enabling users to carry the smartphone on their belt or trousers and continue tracking their steps while also freeing up their hands.
Amadas Smart Lock Eliminates Keys Altogether
Smart locks have been getting more and more advanced over the past few years, and now the Amadas design, which is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, is aiming to eliminate keys altogether.
The stainless steel design is easily installed and features multiple ways to enter. It can be programmed to recognise your smartphone and automatically unlock at your approach, or you can enter a PIN, either on your mobile or directly on the lock itself. In addition, you can unlock it remotely to let guests enter, while also keeping track of every entrance and exit via the accompanying app.
Perhaps most impressive is the back-up for the battery-operated system. While the door should last for a full year on two AA batteries, should it run out while you're out, you simply have to shine a light on the integrated solar panel, and you can recharge the lock in under 20 seconds, and enter as normal.
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