Innovation Lab: Smart Urinals, Fidget Boxes and Star Trek Communicators

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 Urinal Will Wash And Dry Your Private Parts When You're Done
smart urinary 2
Here at the Innovation Lab, we come across a pretty wide variety of smart devices that are aiming to improve upon day-to-day experiences that haven't changed much in the last 100 years. However, if there was ever an activity we didn't think was likely to be disrupted, it would probably be peeing. More fool us.

The Urinary 2.0 aims to combine the traditional urinal with a smart bidet that cleans your genitalia once you're done urinating, spraying a targeted stream of soapy water at you for three seconds then drying it with a blast of warm air.

The team behind Urinary 2.0 have put a lot of thought into the whole process, with the device adjusting the water temperature based on the warmth of the room, and taking your height, position and other factors into account to ensure it doesn't end up spraying the crotch of your trousers.

According to La Info, the Spanish creators of Urinary 2.0 are currently in the middle of a bidding war, as various firms attempt to buy the patent for the smart urinal. The team isn't resting on its laurels, however, and is already planning to improving their creation, as well as introducing a version for women.

Fidget Cube Is The Perfect Vent for Nervous Energy

Gadget designers and manufacturers have known for years that people love to fiddle with buttons, switches and the like on technology, even going so far as to include design flourishes with little actual purpose beyond this.

A pair of brothers have taken this idea a step further, and created the Fidget Cube, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, which is designed purely to use up nervous energy and scratch that fiddling itch.

Each side of the cube has a different form of interaction; clickable buttons (both noisy and silenced), gliding joysticks, flipping switches, spinning dials, rolling gears and balls, and finally a rubbable indent inspired by traditional worry stones.

There is clearly demand for the device. The creators have received messages from teachers who believe it will help students with ADHD and medical professionals who think it could be a tool for helping patients with rebabilitation. No wonder it has obliterated its initial target of $15,000 (£11,300) and is currently at over $2m.

fire drone new yorkEmergency Fire Fighting Drones Set for Test in New York
The New York Fire Department has developed a new tool in the battle against fires, and this one can fly. They've begun testing on a small unarmed aerial vehicle that can provide a birds-eye-view of blazes in real-time, giving commanders more information when fighting fires.

The drones can take both standard and infrared images and videos, streaming back to a control unit where firefighters can examine it. The idea was first developed by fire department director Timothy E. Herlocker after an amateur drone pilot provided video to firefighters tackling a gas explosion, which they compared to the tactical images they had already captured at ground level to get a better idea of the fire's scope.

Despite being operated by the emergency services, the UAVs will still require clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to take to the skies. However, the FAA has promised that the process should only take about 15 minutes, with situations where lives are at risk set to be fast-forwarded through as quickly as possible.

Moorebot is an Intelligent Cyclops for Homes and Businesses

Robotic personal assistants are quickly becoming one of the hot new gadget trends, as developments in machine learning, natural language processing and voice recognition all combine to make such devices a useful, functional addition to homes.

Moorebot is one of the latest designs to launch, currently seeking funding on IndieGoGo. The one-eyed robot is designed to appeal to consumers with human-like behaviour, and can even copy its users thanks to facial tracking technology.

The device is being marketed as a solution for both homes and businesses, equally capable of reading bedtime stories, tracking fitness, fetching information from online and answering customer enquiries.

stng combadge think geekStar Trek Celebrates Birthday with Working Combadge
This week represented 50 years since Star Trek first appeared on television, and internet retailer ThinkGeek decided to recognise the anniversary by creating a working version of the combadges that have appeared in the franchise since Star Trek: The Next Generation

The device, which can last for 10 hours on a single charge, connects via Bluetooth to your phone or tablet, and is even more versatile than the combadges on the show, enabling users to answer or end phone calls, play or pause music, or even bring up Siri or Google Now for voice-control.

The badge, which includes the signature chirping sound from the show, but sadly doesn't incorporate its universal translator, is available for pre-order for customers in the US, and will set you back $80 (£60).