Innovation Lab: Disco Dogs, Smart Rings and Hand-crank Phones

Tim Maytom

At Mobile Marketing we're proud to help tech companies showcase their cutting-edge solutions; the Startup Showcase at our Mobile Marketing Summits gives a platform to those companies, and brings audiences one step closer to ideas and developments that are breaking new ground in the market.

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.

Disco Dog Turns Your Beagle into a Billboarddisco dogWith the growth of wearable technology for humans, it's only fair that pets be able to get in on the fun, and while there are several smart collars and similar accessories available already, the Disco Dog coat for man's best friend is certainly the most stylish pet wearable we've seen.

A neoprene vest fitted with 256 RGB LED lights, the Disco Dog can be programmed using an accompanying app to display messages, animations and patterns in a variety of colours, and can even be set to display "Lost Dog" if your pooch strays too far from the smartphone.

The wearable is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter to make its initial run of 80 vests, as well as to fund several pop up events where dogs can try on the vest (which will come in a variety of sizes) in the hope of building demand for a larger release.

shotspotterNYPD Trials $1.5m Gunshot Detection Technology

The NYPD is to spend out $1.5m (£1.01m) a year on 'ShotSpotter' technology which uses a series of connected electronic sensors to be able to pinpoint the location of gunshots to within 25 metres, enabling rapid responses to potential crimes.

The system, which is currently being trialled in the Bronx, detected its first gunshot within an hour of activation, and will be rolled out to Brooklyn next week, and the remaining boroughs later in the year if it proves successful.

The technology has been used in other cities including Boston and Washington DC, and figures indicate that around 75 per cent of shots detected by the system are not made known to police officers through emergency calls.

"Thanks to the NYPD, New York City continues to be the safest big city in the world – and this technology will help us stay even safer," said Mayor Bill de Blasio during the announcement of the system. "ShotSpotter will help protect our residents, our communities, and our police officers."

Control Your Environment with a Finger Swish using Ring Zero

As the smart home grows more and more connected, the concept of effortless control becomes more and more important – after all, what's the point of all this technology if you've got to juggle a dozen apps to control everything?

We've seen solutions employing everything from app aggregators to voice control, but Ring Zero offers a new solution that is compellingly futuristic, with a tiny touch sensor embedded within the wearable able to control a range of tasks with just a gesture.

Logbar, the device's manufacturer, have been adding more and more controls to the ring, pairing it with smart home technology like Philips' Hue smart lightbulbs and Wemo power controls, as well as enabling users to share their location, take photos or even exchange contact details with other users.

palestine polytechnicPalestinian Students Help Blind People Walk Unaided with Smart Vest

Medical device engineering students at Palestine Polytechnic University have developed a smart vest that uses vibrations and visual commands to help blind people walk without the need for a cane or guide dog.

The Smart Assist System for Blind People was developed in conjunction with specialists and workers from the Red Crescent, and is now seeking funding from sponsors to help transform it from a prototype to a marketable product.

"The students were able with their limited resources to design and execute this project," said Dr Ramzi al-Qawasmi, dean of the engineering department and project supervisor. While similar products have been developed, the students are hoping the low cost of their solution, along with several innovations such as a ground level sensor, will help it stand out.

CrankCase lets you Charge Your Phone by Hand

We've included a number of unique approaches to squeezing every moment you can out of your smartphone battery in the Innovation Lab in the past, but nothing quite as back-to-basics as Ampware's CrankCase.

The device, currently seeking funding on IndieGoGo, uses small, powerful electric dynamos integrated into a phone case to enable owners to literally hand-crank their phone, in the same manner as a wind-up radio or torch.

The case is currently available for iPhone 5, 5S and 6, with cases for other phones in development, and a separate Crankbox available that can power any USB-chargeable device, with five minutes of cranking providing a typical smartphone with three hours of battery life.