Airship

Innovation Lab: Robots at the Zoo, Wireless Menswear and Eternal Data

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.

Robot Will Enable Sick Children to Take Virtual Trip to The Zoozoo robotNon-profit initiative Robots For Good is attempting to create a device that lives up to the organisations name with a robot that hospital-bound children can remotely control, enabling them to take virtual tours of locations out in the wider world.

The robot is still being constructed, but the plan is for children at Great Ormond Street in London to be able to tour London Zoo, with a VR headset letting the kids get up close with the animals there without ever having to leave this bed.

The robot is using a wide variety of existing technologies, with the core based on two open-source projects: OpenWheels, a free-to-build version of the Segway scooter, and InMoov, a 3D-printable robot. The cameras in the robot's eyes are linked to an Oculus VR headset, creating the telepresence link for the children.

The organisation has no formal funding for the project, instead relying on volunteers and donations from charities and philanthropic companies, but the robot will theoretically cost only $2,500 (£1,580) once at-scale production is put into place The initiative has been supported by tech firms like Wevolver and Ultimaker, putting it firmly on the path to its noble goal.

Is TieFi the Ultimate Father's Day Gift?



Canadian ad agency Grip Limited has the perfect solution for modern fathers who feel like they're losing their kids to the allure of tablets, smartphones and other connected devices: a tie that doubles as a wi-fi hotspot.

While the product has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, there's still an earnest message in the video promoting the TieFi, as a series of dads say how their perfect Father's Day gift would simply to be spend more time with their children.

The TieFi aims to make that possible by using a mini wireless router to capture a home wi-fi signal and re-route it to a small transmitter built into the tie, meaning that anyone hoping to access the internet at home has to be within 10 feet of the tie.

Grip Limited aren't producing the TieFi for sale, but they have put instructions for the device and the code needed to make it work on their website, so if you fancy making one for a father you know (or even yourself), you can.

Nanoform 7Preserve Your Important Data For Eternity

CDs get scratched. USB drives get lost. Even the cloud could one day fail. Fahrenheit 2451 is aiming to provide consumers with a way of storing data that can survive exposure to fire, water, chemicals and scratches, and still hold your most precious memories intact.

The Nanoform created by the firm is a storage medium that shrinks data down to microscopic size, much like a microfilm, then stores it between two disks made of sapphire, the second hardest material known in the world.

You'll need a digital microscope or powerful magnifying glass to access the data – at its smallest size, characters are 10 ?m big, smaller than the thickness of a human hair – but given that, at that size, the company were able to put all of War and Peace on a single disc with room to spare, there's plenty of storage room.

Control Your Home with a Contextual Cube



As the smart home becomes more and more advanced, with an increasing number of devices connected into an electronic ecosystem, so do the options for controlling it. While several big firms, including Apple and Google, have tried to simplify things by gathering controls into a single app, German design studio Family of the Arts has taken a different approach, with an intuitive, tactile device.

The Cube is a plain black box that could be mistaken for a rather plain paperweight, but when it is tapped, each blank side has a backlit icon appear, enabling users to control a different aspect of the home. Simply turn the cube so the desired function sits on top, then use gesture controls like turning clockwise or anticlockwise to interact with lighting, music, heating and more.

The Cube isn't available yet – the designers are searching for manufacturers – but it's a fascinating concept that grounds the new age of digital connection in an elegant, physical object.

yecupSmart Mug Can Charge Your Phone and Take Your Selfies

Coffee is the fuel behind a large number of technology breakthroughs, so it's only fair that technology should give back to its caffeinated friend with smart objects like the Yecup, a connected travel mug that aims to upgrade your beverage experience.

On the surface, the mug looks like your average dual-layered stainless steel travel cup, but beneath the hood, there's a Bluetooth transmitter that links to an accompany cup, enabling you to monitor the temperature of your drink, receive alerts when it reaches your perfect heat and even re-boil it should it go too cool.

In addition, the cup comes with a built-in USB port and 6000mAh lithium polymer battery, capable of recharging your phone or another USB-powered device so you can stay on the move. And if that wasn't enough, the mug can connect with your phone and act as a remote camera button, so as long you don't mind holding your mug in your photos, you can leave that selfie-stick at home.