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 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.
Who Needs A Nurse When You Have a Bear-faced Robot?Kids and adults alike have been enjoying Big Hero Six, the new Disney film featuring an inflatable robotic healthcare assistant called Baymax. And while it may not be inflatable (or moonlight as a superhero), it turns out the idea of a robotic nurse is closer than you may think.
As Japan faces a falling birth rate and rapidly aging population, the issue of healthcare and assistance for the elderly is an increasingly important one. Robear, developed by Riken, is the latest in a line of prototype robots aimed at helping older people with day to day tasks.
At 308 pounds, the Robear is strong and agile enough to lift patients out of bed and into a wheelchair, or assist them in getting from a sitting position to a standing one, using powerful actuators to "exert force in a gentle way".
It is hoped it can take this strenuous task, which is carried out an average of 40 times a day in many care homes, away from human healthcare personnel, freeing them to help patients in other ways and removing a major cause of lower back pain in care-givers.
"We really hope that this robot will lead to advances in nursing care, relieving the burden on care-givers today," said Toshiharu Mukai, leader of the Robot Sensor Systems Research Team at Riken. "We intend to continue with research toward more practical robots capable of providing powerful yet gentle care to elderly people."
Sesame Smartlock Lets Your Open Doors With a Secret Knock
Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, the Sesame smartlock by Candy House aims to improve on many of its competitors with easier installation and the ability to recognise an individual's knock to let them through a door.
The Sesame works with almost every deadbolt available in the US, Canada and Australia thanks to five patented self-adjusting mechanisms, and can be installed onto doors in a matter of seconds, with no tools required.
As well as enabling users to lock and unlock the door using an accompanying app, the Sesame keeps records of when it is activated, and can send notifications letting you know when someone enters your property.
Perhaps most impressive though, is the app's voice control features, which enable users to unlock their door simply by knocking on their phone in their pocket, or even by having the lock recognise they are approaching, and listen out for a distinctive knock pattern.
Say Goodbye to Lost Umbrellas with Bluetooth Brolly
We've all been in the situation of taking an umbrella somewhere when its raining only to forget it there when the clouds clear, or even worse leaving your umbrella on a train only to emerge from a station to find it raining cats and dogs.
The Alert by umbrella manufacturer Davek aims to end those moments with built-in Bluetooth hardware that reminds your phone when you have left your umbrella behind, or even alerts you when the weather forecast predicts rain.
With a frame made from a combination of steel, aircraft-grade aluminium and fiberglass, the umbrella is solidly engineered and designed to last, which is good because it may well signal an end to lost umbrellas.
Booty Drum Wearable Turns Twerks into Tunes
Danish audio equipment manufacturers Aiaiai and Dutch design firm Owow have teamed up with Portuguese DJ Branko and Youtube star TwerkQueen Louise to create a wearable that translates a user's booty shaking into music.
The Booty Drum uses accelerometers to measure the wearer's movements, assigning different beats and samples to individual moves, enabling the dancer to collaborate with the music they are dancing to.
"As every single movement sends out a unique set of values, the dancer is able to play around with sounds," said a spokesperson from Owow. The track created by the collaboration has been released on Soundcloud, so feel free to shake your own booty along to it.
Aerodrums Provide a Quiet, Portable Alternative for Percussionists
Keen drummers often find their practice limited by the fact it is very difficult to drum quietly, and a drumkit is not the most easily movable piece of musical equipment. Aerodrums solves these issues with a digital drumkit based off musicians' movements.
Using a high-speed camera connected to a user's computer, the system tracks light sensitive panels on the drumsticks and attached to users' feet to accurately recreate the sounds being played.
The Aerodrums enable drummers to practice their technique on the go and in limited space, while also letting them control the volume or even plug in headphones to prevent any noise complaints. Drummers can even record their sessions straight into a digital audio workstation using MIDI outputs.