Innovation Lab: Shark Mysteries, Online Volcanoes and Squid Protein Trousers

At Mobile Marketing were proud to help tech companies showcase their cutting-edge solutions, whether its 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 worlds 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.

New Smart Sensors Could Solve Mystery of Shark Café

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its sister facility, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have set their sights on solving one of the enduring mysteries of marine biology via the use of new smart tags.

The White Shark Café is the nickname for a region roughly halfway between Mexico and Hawaii where every winter, thousands of sharks congregate and display behaviour unlike that seen anywhere else. Male sharks dive as deep as 1,000 metres repeatedly, and biologists are unsure if this behaviour is related to feeding, mating or something else altogether.

Now, researchers have designed a unique camera tag that can attach to a sharks dorsal fin and stay there for the month-long journey it takes to reach the café. The tag includes sensors for depth, location, light levels, speed and more, and can capture up to 10 hours of video. It will be activated once the sharks reach the location, and can be remotely released once it is done recording.

This summer, Sal Jorgensen, the scientist behind the project, will perform a final beta test, attaching a tag to one of MBARIs underwater robots to ensure the tag will stand up to repeated deep dives. If successful, the team plans to tag sharks in December, when they begin to leave the California coast.

ge qwake volcano projectGE is Live-tweeting From Inside An Active Volcano
Manufacturing giant GE has taken to social media to share video, images and more from inside an active volcano in Nicaragua as it installs an advanced early warning system that could save thousands of lives.

GE has teamed up with Qwake, a company that combines exploration with cutting-edge tech, to brave the high temperatures and extreme conditions within Masaya Volcano. Explorer Sam Cossman descended 1,200 feet into the crater to install more than 80 sensors that will feed data back to Predix, a cloud-based software program GE developed for industrial use.

“We are basically bringing the first volcano online,” said Cossman. “We will be installing sensor nodes both around and inside the volcano, and then well be building two repeaters that will communicate with an internet portal about 2km away. We then use deep learning algorithms and AI to look for patterns in the data.”

The entire project has been live-streamed on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, in the hope of reaching a wider audience and sharing the experience of getting so deep within an active volcano. Once the sensors are installed and functioning, the data will be made available on an open-source forum, enabling researchers across the globe to create early warning models.

Neural Dust Could Revolutionise Medical Sensors

Engineer at UC Berkeley have built dust-sized wireless sensors that can be implanted within the body to monitor internal nerves, organs and muscles, as well as serving to provide delicate control over prosthetics and potentially even treating conditions like epilepsy.

The so-called neural dust is the size of a grain of sand and uses no batteries. Instead, ultrasound signals are able to both provide power and receive measurements from the devices. This makes the sensors safer and also longer-lasting than traditional medical implants.

“I think the long-term prospects for neural dust are not only within nerves and the brain, but much broader,” said Michel Maharbiz, associate professor of electrics engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley. “Having access to in-body telemetry has never been possible because there has been no way to put something supertiny superdeep. But now I can take a speck of nothing and park it next to a nerve or organ, your GI tract or a muscle, and read out the data.”

A shot of Michael Phelps taken by Getty Images Adam Pretty via the robotic PoolCam
A shot of Michael Phelps taken by Getty Images Adam Pretty via the robotic PoolCam

Robots Are Taking the Best Swimming Photos at Rio 2016
The Olympics are a busy time for the photographers at Getty Images, who are busying capturing the most thrilling, iconic moments of the worlds best athletes. However, its not practical for photographers to be in the heat of every action-packed moment, especially when that action is taking place underwater.

Thats where Gettys PoolCam comes in. The device is a robot rig that enables the team of photographers controlling it to capture images of swimming, diving and synchronised diving events that were previously unthinkable, without getting in the way of Olympians as they compete.

Rather than typical submersible cameras, the rig lets photographers zoom in and out, tilt and spin the camera and see a live feed of the action from a computer screen, providing amazing shots of iconic moments like Michael Phelps return to the mens 4X100m freestyle or Simone Manuel becoming the first black women to win an individual swimming gold medal.

Rip in Your Jeans? Just Add Water (And Squid Protein)

You might one day be able to repair rips in your clothes and other fabrics using a special coating of proteins and bacteria that, when soaked in water, lets torn edges heal together as strong and flexible as before.

Researchers at Penn State have used earlier findings on self-healing plastics to create a coating from yeast, bacteria and, surprisingly, proteins from squid teeth. The coating can be applied to cotton, wool and other fabrics, then when warm water is added, two pieces can be combined together to create a bond that persists even after laundering.

“Fashio designers use natural fibers made of proteins like wool or silk that are expensive and they are not self-healing,” said Professor Melik C. Demirel, one of the leads behind the research. “We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles. so we cam up with this coating technology.”

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