Innovation Lab: Smart Booties, Solar Airports and Laser Drills

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.

Smart Baby Bootie Tracks Vital Signs For New Parents

Anything that can help new parents is surely a worthwhile invention, and Owlet, a connected bootie that monitors an infant's heart-rate and breathing, could be an essential piece of kit for especially worried mums and dads.

The device fits on a single foot and uses pulse oximetry to track the baby's pulse and blood oxygenation levels. Early test units have already been shipped out to selected consumers, and a full release is planned for later this year.

Investors are clearly excited about the product, and the company has just completed a Series A round of funding which brought in $7m (£4.46m) on top of an existing $1.85m seed investment.

"There is no way that we could have raised our funds without pushing the entire company to the sole focus of creating an amazing product for parents," said Jordan Monroe, co-founder of Owlet. "Our new investor, Lior, was able to use the Owlet with his baby, as well as all of our competitors' products, and he fell in love with the Owlet Monitor. That was the biggest factor in making this investment happen."

cochin international airport solarIndian Airport Runs Entirely on Solar Power
Cochin International Airport in south India has become the world's first airport to operate completely on solar power, thanks to a 12 MWp solar power plant connected to the facility that will make it entirely power neutral.

The power plant covers 45 acres near the airport's cargo complex, and comprises of 46,150 solar panels which will generate enough electricity to power the airport's operations throughout the day and night.

The airport first began investing in solar power in early 2013, when it installed a 100 kWp solar plant on the roof of the Arrival Terminal block, and it has also installed solar panels on the aircraft maintenance hangar.

While the exact environmental impact of the solar switch is hard to calculate, analysts expect it will cut around 300,000 tons worth of carbon emissions over the next 25 years.

Laser Drill Accessory Makes Sure you Always Hit the Bullseye

There are few feelings more frustrating than drilling a hole into a piece of wood and realising too late that you've done it at an odd angle. BullseyeBore aims to make that feeling a thing of the past with a smart new accessory.

The battery-powered device uses lasers to project three red rings onto the surface of whatever you're drilling. The two central circles remain constant whatever angle you're at, enabling you to make sure you're drilling at a perfect angle by keeping the outer ring concentric with them.

The outer ring also serves as a visual indicator of how deep you've drilled, with the diameter reducing to match how far you've gone through the material, which alone makes it a worthwhile addition to your toolbox.

long island ice tea mixstikMixStik Lights the Way to Perfect Cocktails
Numerous tech firms from Google down have put their minds to the challenge of enabling people to make cocktails without the need for complex instructions. The latest solution is MixStik, a Bluetooth-equipped stick that uses LEDs to guide you through a recipe.

Once you've selected a recipe from the accompanying app, the stick lights up with colours that correspond to the ingredients. Once you've placed it into your glass, you simply add the various liquids to the correct levels and mix to make your desired beverage.

The app has a few other convenient features, including a mode that will recommend drinks based on your available ingredients, and will only cost $39 when it hits Kickstarter next month, making it a smart choice for all those aspiring bartenders out there.

Of Course There's Already an Apple Watch-compatible Sex Toy

The time between a new device becoming available and someone finding a way to hook it up to a sex toy is pretty much approaching zero with the news that manufacturer Lovense has created the Blush, a Bluetooth-enabled vibrator that can be controlled by the Apple Watch.

The device can connect to two smartphones at once, and is internet enabled so you or your partner can control it from anywhere in the world. Fortunately the signals are all encrypted and don't travel through Lovense's own servers, so the chances of your vibrator getting hacked are almost nil.

The device is currently up for pre-order on Indiegogo, and the company is hoping to raise $10,000 for manufacturing, distribution and marketing. Lovense already sells a variety of smartphone-enabled sex toys, but if you want one that works with your Apple Watch, now's the time to invest.