Innovation Lab: The Biggest Ideas in Tech This Week

If youve been to one of Dot Medias events, youll know that our Innovation Lab hosts companies presenting cutting-edge technology thats poised to transform the market with groundbreaking ideas and solutions.

In that spirit, weve taken a step beyond the world of apps, ads and handsets with slightly bigger screens, in order to share some of the tech worlds most 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.

Never Lose Your Keys Again with Pixie Pointspixie pointsWeve all experienced the wave of humiliation that comes from misplacing your keys, shoes, phone or numerous other household objects, especially when youre in a hurry. There have been devices for helping you play where is my stuff for a long while, using everything from whistles to flashing lights, but none quite as smart as the solution offered by IoT startup Pixie.

The companys Pixie Points are a series of stickers that can be affixed to everything from keyrings to pet collars. Once paired with an accompanying app, the next time the object is lost, you can simply pull out your phone and, provided the object is within range (50 feet inside and 150 feet outside) youll be given a direction and a distance accurate to within a foot.

If you still cant locate the object, you can use an AR feature included in the app to get a more precise location. The Pixie Points even communicate with each other, providing you with a more accurate idea on where objects are in relation to each other, and if youre beyond range of something, the app can get you started by letting you see the last place you were when you were near to it.

The stickers are a little gigantic, measuring at 47mm by 35mm, and 3.2mm thick, and the batteries are non-replaceable, so any stickers you use must be replaced every 18 months, but for the absent-minded among us, its a small price to pay to stop debasing yourself digging down the back of the sofa every time your keys disappear.

Drone Enthusiast Builds the Millennium Falcon

While drones have hundreds of practical applications, from delivering internet signal in hard to reach areas to surveying crops, theres a fast-growing recreational market for them too. One drone fan took his quadcopter to the next level, by creating a shell in the shape of the iconic Star Wars spaceship.

Writing about the project on a DIY forum on Reddit, Olivier the creator of the drone explained that while the unmodified drone was “easily capable of 90km/h horizontal speed”, the customisations had dropped that down to around 30km/h (roughly 19mph).

The entire project cost just over $1,000 (£746), most of which went towards the cost of the drone unit and its radio control. You can see the Falcon in flight over the ice planet Hoth (actually a field in France) below.

sia-hiv450aNew Smartphone Peripheral can Detect HIV

mHealth is a relatively new field, but nowhere are its benefits being felt more dramatically than in emerging markets where traditional healthcare infrastructure may not exist, and struggles to deal with the large distances and poor resources.

One of the latest leaps forward in this field is a new smartphone dongle designed by a team at Columbia Universitys School of Engineering and Applied Science that can detect HIV or syphilis antibodies in just 15 minutes with nothing more than a drop of blood from the patient.

The device, which is already being used by healthcare workers in Rwanda, uses a process called immunoassay, and is guided using on-screen pictures, meaning very little training is required to operate it. Perhaps most astoundingly, each unit only costs $34 (£22), compared to the $18,450 it costs to outfit a lab with the traditional equipment needed for such a process.

glow headphones runnerGlowing Headphones Pulse in Time with the Beat

If youve ever dreamed of living inside the film Tron, then Glows fibre-optic headphones are probably for you. Utilising Corning Fibrance fiber optics, the headphone cables are illuminated with a bright light yet remain flexible, and can even pulse in time with the beat of the music you are listening to.

The headphones include a controller that enables Android users to operate their phones, taking photos, sending texts and controlling media. The company behind the headphones is currently seeking crowdfunding on Kickstarter, and if it reaches its stretch goals, will also enable them to pulse in time with users movement and heartbeat.

Knit Creates Google Cardboard Collectibles

Cut-price VR headset Google Cardboard has been on the market for a while now, but hasnt seen many creative uses. Technology agency Knit is aiming to rectify that with its Cardboard Objects project, which uses a modified Google Cardboard headset to introduce the idea of collectible objects that dramatically expand the Cardboards uses.

Knit utilised a variety of NFC tagged objects that can be inserted into the front of the headset to demonstrate how valuable the Cardboard could be to brands, with postcards that trigger 360 views of the landscape they show, cardboard car keys that unlock virtual test drives and trading cards that bring childrens toys to life.