Innovation Lab: Tablet Pianos, Netflix Socks and Folding Keyboards

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.

Samsung Builds Piano Out of Tablets

Electronics giant Samsung has reinvented the festive tradition of gathering around the piano to sing carols, constructing an instrument made from over 100 of the firm's tablet devices that functions as both a working piano and a video wall. The piano was launched at an event in London's Spitalfields market, where singer and classically-trained pianist Mylenne Klass performed on the instrument.

The 'tablettoforte' was constructed from 112 Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablets, with six linked together to make up a fully functioning 88 key 'keyboard', and the remaining 106 acting as the body of the instrument. As festive tunes were played on the keys, seasonal videos played out across the rest of the tablets, acting as a 3D video wall.

The piano also makes use of a new mobile engagement technology, created by London-based startup Wi-5. The platform allows for multimedia content relating to the piano to be delivered to any nearby smartphone, tablet or laptop, without the need for an app, download or even an active internet connection.

"Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 has been designed for consumers who want a tablet that is ultra-slim and lightweight, ideal for helping them explore new content wherever they are, even if that means right in the middle of the bustling Spitalfields market," said Conor Pierce, vice president of IT & Mobile at Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland. "The tablet piano not only sounds great, but looks great too, with the screens showing off a fantastic gold Christmas wrapping paper animation."

Netflix Socks Will Automatically Pause if you Fall Asleep

With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, many people will be looking forward to catching up on their favourite streaming shows in their time off. However, the traditional holiday overindulgence can often lead to falling asleep and waking up later in the middle of an episode you haven't seen yet.

Netflix has come up with a unique solution to this problem by designing a pair of high-tech socks that can detect when the wearer falls asleep and automatically pause whatever you're watching at the time, saving you from confusedly searching through previous episodes, and the dreaded spoilers.

While the socks aren't available to buy, Netflix has provided complete instructions for the socks, including a detailed parts list for the electronics, tips on programming the wearables and extra hints that can be used to improve the socks' sensitivity to tiny movements, ensuring your shows pause as soon as you doze off.

The company has also provided knitting patterns for the socks based on some of its most popular original shows, including Bojack Horseman, Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards and Marvel's Jessica Jones.

solar balloon conceptSolar Balloons Will Harvest Energy Above the Clouds
As solar panels and cells become increasingly efficient, they are gaining more and more popularity as a renewable, environmentally-friendly source of energy. However, one solution is going a step further, using huge solar cell balloons floating above the cloud layer to access reliable sunlight.

The idea is being worked on by an international consortium of scientists and engineers, lead by French-Japanese research lab NEXTPV. The floating solar farms would use excess electricity generated during the day to recombine hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell, which would release power regularly or as needed overnight, with the same source of hydrogen keeping the balloons afloat.

With very few clouds higher than six kilometres up, and much less light diffusion, the higher concentration of sunlight would produce better energy yields from the photovolaic cells, and the only byproduct is pure water molecules, making for a cheap, renewable energy source that doesn't take up space on the ground.

8-Inch Laptop Conceals 12-Inch Keyboard

While voice recognition and predictive touchpads are all well and good, sometimes there's no substitute for a good old fashioned keyboard. But with technology constantly getting smaller and smaller, and portability a primary concern for many, the question of how to fit a comfortable keyboard into a device gets harder and harder.

Japanese manufacturer King Jim has found an innovative solution to the problem with its Portabook XMC10, which manages to fit a 12-inch keyboard into a laptop with an 8-inch display, through the use of a clever folding mechanism.

The design is similar to the 'butterfly' keyboard that IBM created for its Thinkpads in 1995, but makes an even more dramatic transformation and, as you would hope, the computer is considerably more powerful than one from 20 years ago, with a 2.4GHz Intel processor and 2GB of RAM.

Star Wars iPhoneSocial Media Tool Deletes Star Wars Spoilers From Your Feed
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally out in cinemas, those who've seen it are already sharing their opinions on the long-awaited new installment to the sci-fi saga. That means those of us who haven't been to the cinema yet are facing a difficult few days on social media.

Luckily, Houston PR has updated its Pretweet social media tool to automatically remove all possible spoilers from tweets, letting fans navigate Twitter without having to worry about ruining their Star Wars experience.

"I'm old enough to remember the first Star Wars movie," said Hamish Thompson, managing director at Houston PR. "Six months ahead of the premiere all we had to go on was a series of shots in the well-thumbed gatefold of the double album soundtrack in my local record shop.

"Now there are tweets and posts within seconds of any film screening. is essentially two bits of coconut tied together with string, but it should help a few fans to cleanse their tweets and avoid spoilers for others still queuing to see it."