Here’s the latest roundup of the innovative, curious and interesting things from around the world…
In a nutshell: Project content from a bracelet directly onto skin.
Cool because: We’re starting to augment the body even more. The body is the next big ad platform. Not sure this has quite captured the spirit as projecting content publicly has a lot of issues, but we can think of a load of uses for it as it stands.
FPV Drone racing
In a nutshell: Fly drones with VR headsets.
Cool because: This may be for fun but imagine this being used for journalism, search and rescue or law enforcement.
Use it now, before it becomes creepy, banned heavily legislated. The Fat Shark VR glasses make it all possible.
Stalked on LinkedIn
In a nutshell: Using LinkedIn to promote a TV show.
Cool because: Vier and BBDOvcreated a fake profile with TV show info and visited key people on Linked in. Everyone’s curious who visited them, right? So professionals and ‘high net-worth individuals’ actively clicked to find out! 12,000 people viewed the profile with an effective 63% click-through rate! yes, that’s roughly 62.9% more than a standard banner.
Image credit: Crockpotveggies
In a nutshell: Fed up swiping right? Let this bot do it for you!
Cool because: Developer Justin Long has written a custom routine that finds the attractive faces based faces he’s liked before. It then starts a conversation and only if it gets a few positive replies under it’s belt does it bother alerting him. As Justin says after showing it to his dates, “All were in agreement that it is not creepy, though some felt it was borderline.” Discuss.
Digital shelf labels
Image credit: The Drum
In a nutshell: Kindle-like eInk shelf labels that automatically update from a central system.
Cool because: Offers can be activated instantly to correspond with supply variations or seasonal events. You can also sync all prices to a certain promotion. Not sure animation is possible yet, but watch this shelf. And it’s eInk so uses no power once the price has been changed.
The ghost in MP3
In a nutshell: A creepy video and audio track made from left-behind data
Cool because: When a raw audio track (and video for that matter) is compressed, the compression process throws away some data. This experiment reconstructs a track out of the discarded data when Suzanne Vega’s Tom’s Diner was compressed. Why Tom’s Diner? It’s a great fun fact, this was the reference track that the original MP3 algorithm was tested against. Who knew!
In a nutshell: Dedicated app for trusted kids content.
Cool because: This one’s been brewing for years. Finally, YouTube have created an app and done all the heavy deals behind the scenes to get some amazing kids content on board. Not available in the UK just yet (unless you know a few tricks!) but works really well. Comes with a comprehensive and solid parental controls layer. Some of the brands and channels on board are Dreamworks TV, Jim Henson TV, Nat Geo Kids, Pocoyo and Thomas Tank Engine to name but a few.
Tesla home batteries
In a nutshell: Store locally generated electricity (solar, wind, car) and power your house.
Cool because: This one’s going to shake up the utilities industry somewhat. A few have tried and failed but Tesla may have what it takes. Essentially, solar and wind power is usually used (or sold) as it is generated. At night… you have none. With Tesla’s battery technology, it is now possible for homes to go ‘off grid’ for longer periods, possibly completely.
Wi-Fi sniffing drones
Image credit: AdNear
In a nutshell: Drones that can lock onto your phones ID and track you.
Cool because: Not so much cool, but interesting. Your phone probably has WiFi turned on right? Your phone is constantly checking if it can join WiFi hotspots and sends out certain unique IDs to identify you. With a network of drones (run by AdNear among others) pretending to be WiFi hotspots, they can spot your ID every time you try to connect, tracking and storing your location over time. The aim is to serve you more relevant, location specific ad messages. And it gets more intriguing if you’re a hacker, if a drone pretends to be a known network, your phone will actually connect and as you merrily send emails, browse Ebay or share photos, the drone has access to your data stream.
In a nutshell: You can almost buy a real-life Jetpack.
Cool because: Who wouldn’t want a personal jetpack! Well, the Martin Jetpack is nearly here. Ok, there are a few caveats. It’s not actually a jet pack, it uses inducted fans and it’s not quite available yet… oh, and it costs about £100,000. But that aside, looks fun and has recently been through extensive safety testing at 5000 feet. Now all you have to worry about is avoiding all the drones on your way to work.
Recover sound from video
In a nutshell: Reconstruct audio information from simply looking at objects.
Cool because: This is a bit of a mind-bender and you really have to watch the video to make sense of it, but Google have been experimenting with a very cool technique. It involves looking at objects with a super-high speed camera and detecting tiny movements in the object caused by sound waves hitting it. It’s then possible to reconstruct the sound waves from these movements. Bonkers. In the famous example, sound could be recovered from looking at a crisp packet inside a room. Great for spying, obviously, but also useful for listening to objects in space (as sound doesn’t travel in space). The technique has also be adapted to monitor blood flow in patients allowing accurate heart rate information without invasive clips or probes.
That’s all from this edition. Stay tuned for more from WCRS Labs goodness!