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.
Swedish Diaper Brand Gives Expecting Couples Free Wearable
Libero, the diaper brand owned by Swedish hygiene and toiletries firm SCA, is already well known by Scandinavian parents, having established online communities where parents can share advice, and discuss the joys and challenges of raising children.
Now, the brand is going one step further in its efforts to connect parents with the Baby Buzz, a smart wearable that aims to share the experience of pregnancy between partners regardless of distance.
The Baby Buzz comes in pairs, with one worn by each partner. When the baby is kicking or moving in the womb, the mother can trigger her Baby Buzz, signalling the paired device which vibrates to share the sensation with the other partner.
Libero is letting expectant parents borrow the Baby Buzz for free throughout their pregnancy. At the moment, the wearables and accompany app only works with iOS, but an Android version is in the works.
Brain-scan Technology Could Overwrite Your Phobias
The ability to rewrite memories has been a staple of science fiction for a long while, from the stories of Philip K. Dick to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but that technology could soon be a reality thanks to research by a team of neuroscientists from the UK, US and Japan.
The team has developed a model for a technique that could identify traumatic, fear-based memories in the brain and then replace them with positive feelings, thanks to advanced AI pattern recognition tools and real-time brain-scanning technology.
The idea is to replicate the effects of modern therapeutic techniques that aim to help people with phobias confront the memories that serve as the source of their fear, without the person having to re-live those unpleasant experiences or even necessarily be aware of the process even happening.
The study created a fear memory in 17 subjects by shocking them which showing them a particular image on a computer. The team's technology was then able to identify the memory pattern and use rewards over the course of three days to 'over-write' it with pleasant associations.
LaserSnake Cuts Up a Nuclear Reactor
When your job is carrying out the in-site decommissioning of a nuclear power cell, you need the right tools. And in this case, the right tool is an "integrated snake-arm robot and laser cutting" device called LaserSnake2.
Created by OC Robotics, the device uses a five-kilowatt laser to cut through the thick metal of the dissolver vessel, part of the core nuclear reactor at Sellafield's First Generation Processing Plant, one of the UK's oldest nuclear power stations.
"The LaserSnake demonstration at Sellafield has been highly rewarding and very successful," said Chris Hope, future decommissioning team manager for Sellafield. "Not only has it enabled a potentially game-changing technology to be tried, tested and proven on a real nuclear decommissioning scenario, but it has also shown the benefit of a collaborative approach between the supply chain and the site operator."
Engineers Create Artificial Muscle from Fishing Line
The human body has served as inspiration for engineers throughout the ages, and even today, inventors look to muscle tissues and their artificial equivalents for applications as diverse as robotics, medicine and fashion.
Creating artificial muscle fibres that are both cheap enough to be readily reproduced and strong enough for practical uses has proved difficult, but a new breakthrough by a researcher at MIT has found a solution in the form of cheap nylon fibers.
When twisted into a coil, nylon filaments can extend and retract just like natural muscles (in fact, even further). In addition, by selectively heating one side of reshaped filaments using conductive ink, the fibers could bend and recover, able to form complex shapes like figures-of-eight then straighten out over 100,000 times.
For The Truly Lazy Tech Fan: the Self-making Bed
If the 30 second chore that is making your bed is enough to send you into a panic, then finally there is a tech solution for you in the form of the Smartduvet, an app-activated gadget that uses air chambers to unfold and rearrange your bed covering.
It's probably a little reductive to say it's a gadget for only the terminally lazy and untidy (after all, there are plenty of people with mobility issues or disabilities that could get use out of it), but it's a little hard to take such an advanced solution for such a simple problem seriously.
Nonetheless, if you feel like you're in need of the Smartduvet, it's currently raising money on Kickstarter, where a double-bed sized version of the gadget will set you back a mere CA$379 (£225).