Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2015

These ideas are certifiably bat shit crazy.  They’re also great.

  • Brainet MindMeld – Earlier this year scientists were able to use the combined brainpower of several monkeys to manipulate a digital arm.  The ramification?  In the future doctors may be able to perform complicated surgeries by working in unison via a Mind Meld that takes advantage of our brains natural desire for cohesion.  What the what!
  • Cortical Modem – The internet is pretty amazing but you know what would be better?  If you could plug it directly into your brain!  That’s the premise behind the Cortical Modem, a brain implant being designed by DAPRA that would make it so that the images and data you’re being feed are imperceptible from reality!
  • DARPA’s Develop Your Own Antibodies – As it stands now it usually takes nine months to develop a vaccine.  A painfully slow process that just won’t cut it during an outbreak.  What can we do about it?  Well, if DARPA has its way we may soon be able to use our own bodies as bioreactors to create vaccines on the fly.  By doing this we’d be producing vaccines much quicker and since our own bodies are involved in the process we’ll be receiving a greater level of protection as well.
  • Project Soli – One of Google’s latest moonshots is a real Hail Mary:  a plan to put tiny, all knowing sensors in just about everything.  Phones, tablets, smart watches, etc.  Anything that you’d interact with in the future.  These sensors would then act like miniaturized radar, detecting motion up to 3,000 times per second, even if the distance moved is less than a millimeter in length.  Essentially, these sensors are so powerful that they can see through walls, through clothes, and even detect whether or not someone is breathing underneath a blanket.  What would we use this technology for?  A motion and gesture based interface is probably the leading candidate.  But even Google doesn’t truly yet know what it’ll be used for.  It just knows that it’ll be awesome.  Crazy.  Yet awesome.
  • Project Jacquard – Another overly ambitious and crazy moonshot being worked on at Google’s secretive DARPA like lab, ATAP, was Project Jacquard, an attempt at turning your clothing into a touch screen by making use of a new braided conductive thread.  When paired with a blue tooth receiver hidden in your pocket you’ll have new found abilities such as being able to reject a call during a meeting by touching your pant leg or raising the temperature on your home’s thermostat just by rubbing your arms as if to say that you’re cold.
  • Wi-Fi Aware – Wi-Fi is a pretty remarkable technology, allowing us to connect to the Internet without having to be physically connected to a modem.  But what if there was more to it than that?  What if it could become smarter?  What if it could become aware of its surroundings?  That’s the premise behind Wi-Fi Aware, a way for Wi-Fi enabled devices to talk to one another without relying on an active internet connection or cellular data.  These devices would then be able to send us push notifications or be used for hyper sensitive location based services giving our phones far greater capabilities than they currently have.
  • The Omni Processor – Lastly we have an idea that I never wrote about but really should have: Bill Gates’ invention, the Omni Processor, that turns human feces into clean drinking water!  It’s estimated by Gates that this invention could save the lives of 700,000 children each year.

Are any of these crazy ideas the Greatest Idea Ever?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Just because they’re weird doesn’t mean they’re not great!

  • The Aspirational Lamp – Wouldn’t it be great if all of your appliances took care of themselves?  With the Aspirational Lamp that’s exactly what will happen as the lamp has the ability to sell unused electricity back to the grid and then automatically invest the proceeds in the stock market in order to pay for upgrades and new parts for itself.
  • Chair Gym – Billed as an invisible gym, the Tao Chair aims to strengthen your muscles, improve your posture, tighten your core, reduce your stress levels, and help you burn calories all while you remain seated comfortably watching TV.
  • Digital Nose – With the digital nose you’ll be able to detect illnesses, know the optimal time to take the roast out of the oven or even find out when the food in your refrigerator has expired.  Soon every home may have one.
  • Appetite Pacemaker – Speaking of food, earlier this year the FDA approved a new implantable device known as Maestro that is capable of controlling when you eat and how often.  Considering how significant the obesity epidemic is becoming this could become a very big deal.
  • Quantum Entanglement Wedding – A Las Vegas hotel has come up with the perfect money making scheme: a quantum entanglement wedding ceremony.  By bouncing light through a special non linear crystal and off of a series of mirrors and prisms the hotel claims that the photons that pass through will become entangled.  Meaning that whatever happens to one will happen to the other instantaneously no matter where in the Universe those two particles happen to be.  Since those photons are coming into contact with our happy couple it’s believed that the couples themselves will then be carrying around these entangled particles.  Of course there’s no way to prove this but that’s beside the point!
  • Burial Pods – I now know what I want to have happen to my remains after I die: to have them placed inside a burial pod, a biodegradable sack that gets planted in the ground and eventually turns into a tree.  Perhaps I could become one of those tree people from Lord of the Rings!
  • Seaweed Bacon – It’s been well documented that I’m a picky eater.  This is problematic for my social life but even more so for my long term health and well-being as I’m likely not getting all of the nutrients that I need.  It would be great then if there was a way for me to eat something that I like and get an added health benefit from it.  Or at least eat something that tastes like something that I like.  Thankfully, that’s now a possibility thanks to a new type of seaweed created by researchers at Oregon State University that tastes like bacon!
  • Second Skin – If you’re hot and wearing a bunch of layers you can take one of them off.  If you’re cold you could put on an additional layer.  Or you could forget about layering entirely and just wear a new type of clothing made out of bacteria that will change it’s composition in response to changing environmental factors such as rising humidity.  Just so long as you don’t mind the fact that you’ll be wearing bacteria!
  • Density – You might think it’s weird to know exactly how many people are in a given location at a certain time and you’d probably be right.  But when it comes to picking a lunch spot it could be a valuable time saver so that you don’t have to walk all the way over to somewhere that’s already got a wait.  Thanks to a new app known as Density we’ll have that luxury in the future.
  • Pocket Robot – What’s that in your pocket?  Your phone?  Your wallet?  Your car keys?  Or are you just happy to see me?  In the future the answer to that question could very well be: a robot.  That’s right.  In the near future instead of carrying around smartphones in our pockets we’ll be carrying around smart robots i.e. miniaturized companions capable of observing our online and real world behaviors and then altering their personalities based on our own.
  • Mother Robot – Speaking of robots there was also a “mother robot” created in 2015 capable of building it’s own children, evaluating their performance, and then improving upon the results in future iterations in order to pass down desirable traits and breed out less desirable ones.
  • iGrow – The biggest takeaway for me from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was iGrow, a wearable helmet that regenerates lost hair with lasers!  All you’d have to do is wear the helmet four times a week for twenty five minutes and it’ll increase your hair count by 35%!  Weird but effective!

Are any of these weird ideas the Greatest Idea Ever?

Read Full Post »

Not every idea is going to change the world.  Some of them are just plain cool.  Here’s a look at the coolest from 2015:

  • Sideways Elevators – The first redesign of our elevator system in over 150 years could result in a more efficient system that leads to elevators arriving on floors more quickly.
  • The Silent Partner – A noise cancelling device specifically for snoring, this invention could wind up saving more marriages than Viagra.
  • Wize Mirror – Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the sickest of them all?  In the near future our bathroom mirrors may be able to detect illnesses just by looking at us.
  • Tesla’s Snake Charger – If electric cars are going to take off there needs to be a significant amount of infrastructure in place, such as having enough charging stations to enable long distance travel.  But more importantly than that there also needs to be a killer app that makes electric cars seem cool.  Tesla’s Snake Charger can do just that with it’s remarkable ability to unfurl from the wall by itself in order to recharge your vehicle on it’s own.
  • Thirsty Concrete – Flooding may soon be a thing of the past thanks to thirsty concrete capable of absorbing 4,000 litres of water in the first 60 seconds and an average of 600 liters per minute, per meter squared thereafter.
  • Detachable Airplane Cabin – Why waste time waiting for passengers to deplane before boarding when you can just load passengers somewhere else and then drop the entire cabin into a waiting plane?!  If Boeing has it’s way that’s exactly what we’ll be doing in the near future.
  • SpaceLiner – How’d you like to travel from Europe to Australia in 90 minutes?!!?  That soon may be possible thanks to a new mode of transportation that breaks the sound barrier above the stratosphere.
  • The Laundroid – Are we really so lazy that we’ll need a washing machine that’ll fold our clothes for us too?  In a word: YES!  Or if you prefer you can just use Threadstax, a magnetized closet organizer that’ll fold your clothes for you!
  • Heddoko Suit – For those of us who may want some assistance working out but can’t afford a personal trainer we may soon have an elegant solution: a smart fitness suit capable of monitoring our techniques and offering guidance.
  • Here Active Listening System – You’ve no doubt heard of wearables by now.  Well, next up are hearables: devices that augment our sense of hearing.  And the Here Active Listening System may be the best one, giving us the ability to edit the sounds in our environment or even add sounds effects to what’s going on around us.  Attending a live concert will never be the same again.
  • Chronos – You could make the argument that 2015 was the year of the smart watch but it wouldn’t just be because the Apple watch finally made it’s long awaited debut.  Rather, it would be because of all the other smart watch related innovations including Chronos which has the ability to turn any watch into a smart watch!  Take that Apple!
  • HyperCam – A regular camera allows us to only see three bands of the electromagnetic spectrum.  The HyperCam, currently being developed by Microsoft, would enable us to see seventeen!  Giving us unprecedented ability to not only see that a pair of jeans is blue but to also be able to see that it’s made of denim instead of cotton.
  • Slower Melting Ice Cream – No post of the coolest ideas of the year would be complete without mentioning ice cream!  Specifically the fact that scientists have invented a way to make ice cream that won’t melt as quickly so that you can enjoy it instead of worrying about it dripping all over you on a hot summer day.  And best of all, this new ice cream would also be healthier for you!

Are any of these cool ideas the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

Read Full Post »

2015 was a great year for innovation.  On a seemingly daily basis there was a new invention or breakthrough to write about.  So much so that I never got a chance to cover it all.  From those topics that I did cover here’s a quick look back at the ones with the most game changing potential.  These are the ideas that are the most likely to have a profound impact on our everyday lives.

  • CRISPR-CAS9 – This quick and easy DNA editing technique could cure all diseases, end global hunger, and create clean energy.  But with all that power comes great responsibility as researchers battle ethical concerns and fears about what could happen if this technology is used for nefarious purposes.  Designer babies could be the least of our concerns.
  • EM Drive – Nobody knows how it works but tests conducted in 2015 have once again proven that it does work.  Meaning that we could soon be travelling throughout the Universe thanks to this propulsion system that converts electrical energy directly into thrust thereby powering itself without the use of any propellant.
  • Magic Leap – Next up we have another new innovation wherein nobody knows how it works, or at least those that do know aren’t saying, the highly secretive Magic Leap virtual reality system.  By projecting images directly in the eye this technology could produce a virtual world indistinguishable from the real one.
  • Universal Blood – Having more blood donors would be helpful.  But you know what would be even more helpful?  Having the ability to make better use of the donors that you do have.  Thanks to researchers from the University of British Columbia that’s now possible as they have devised a way to convert the blood from any donor into type O, the universal donor.  This is made possible through the use of an enzyme that snipes off the unwanted antigens from the undesired blood type.  What the what!
  • Female Viagra – In August the FDA approved “female viagra” the first drug to treat sexual dysfunction in women.  Known as Flibanserin, this pill is supposed to increase a woman’s libido if she’s suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder.  But you can be certain that won’t be the only use.
  • Li-Fi – Internet access using light bulbs that’s 100 times faster than Wi-fi!  Field tested for the first time in 2015 there is now real hope that this product will be commercially viable within the next three years.  Bring it on!
  • Viv – Super computers, smart phones, virtual personal assistants, artificial intelligence capable of processing natural language, data mining, voice controlled interfaces, the Internet of Things.  Combine them all together and what do you get?  Oh, not too much.  Only the Next Big Thing; an always evolving artificial intelligence system/global brain capable of understanding complex queries, inferring meaning, and learning from experience as time goes on.  If you thought Siri was impressive you haven’t seen nothing yet.  Just wait until you get a load of Viv.
  • Tesla Energy – Driverless cars.  Electric cars.  Driverless electric cars.  In 2015 progress was made on all of these.  However, the biggest energy related innovations of the year would have to be Tesla’s creation of Powerwall, a battery capable of powering your entire home, and Powerpack, an infinitely scalable system that could power the entire country.  Not only do these inventions give Tesla another revenue source and a clear path to long term sustainability but it also gives hope that we could be on the verge of a cleaner energy future.

Of course these weren’t the only impressive innovations in 2015.  Just the most impactful ones.  Coming up I’ll touch on some of the other breakthroughs in my look at the coolest ideas of 2015.

Are any of these the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

Read Full Post »

More often than not I write about real inventions, innovations, and scientific breakthroughs.  Occasionally though I mix in one of my own million dollar ideas in the hopes that someone will come along and turn my dreams into reality.  This year aspiring entrepreneurs had a ton of ideas to choose from.  Here’s a quick look at my ten best ones in no particular order:

1. People Watching Museum – We all do it.  Nowadays, we even admit that we do it.  So why don’t we fully embrace our new favorite national pastime and build a People Watching Museum?!?

Here’s what I had to say about it at the time:

“What I’m suggesting is that we create a museum of sorts that would feature individuals or groups of people doing various things.  Part performance art, part social experiment these people would be paid actors who pretend to go through the motions of their daily lives as if no one was watching.  The actors would cover every aspect of life from housework to recreational activities.  There would be a family of four eating dinner.  An artist painting a portrait of a subject.  A man building a massive sand castle.  A chemist conducting experiments. A doctor performing open heart surgery.  A ballerina practicing her moves.  It would be like watching 30 different movies simultaneously.  The equivalent of going to the theater and a museum at the same time.  And it would be absolutely amazing.”

2.  Robot Political Adviser – Who would you rather have deciding the best course of action for the country to embark on?  Donald Trump or a Robot Political Adviser that pours through millions of data points to come up with the best plan?

Here’s what I had to say about it at the time:

“It’s a sad commentary on today’s state of affairs but how many of us really know what’s going on around us?  We live in a day in and age where apathy runs supreme, where we’re all too engrossed in the minutia of our daily lives to care about anyone or anything other than ourselves.  Candy Crush Saga takes precedent over real life sagas.  Which means that if we do vote it’s likely along party lines or because we like the way someone sounds on TV or because we’re following in the footsteps of our friends or family.  How many of us can actually debate the issues intelligently?  How many of us actually know a candidate’s voting history or where they stand on certain issues?  If we know anything at all it’s likely a tainted viewpoint from a smear campaign run by the opposition.  When it comes to politics there are no facts.  Just misconceptions wrapped in misleading half-truths.  What we really need is a way to cut through all the b.s. A way to really, truly know who the best candidate is.  Popularity contests won’t tell us.  But you know what will?  Political robot advisers.”

3.  Paid Jury Duty – Everyone hates getting called for Jury Duty.  It’s a major pain in the ass to have to drop everything you’re doing.  If you’re on trial who would you rather have deciding your fate?  A group of your peers who don’t want to be there or highly trained professionals who fully understand all the facts in the case?

Here’s what I said about it at the time:

“If you’ve ever gotten called for Jury Duty chances are you’ve tried to get out of it.  Rather than have juries filled with people who don’t want to be there, people who may not understand how the legal system works or who may not understand the specifics of the case, shouldn’t we have well trained, full time jurors who know what they are doing and who will take their jobs very seriously?  Not only would we be improving the legal system but we’d also be creating jobs.”

4.  Reverse Retirement – By the time we’ve reached retirement age we’re not healthy enough to take advantage of our new found freedom.  Let’s change that.  Let’s sit behind a desk when we’re older and that’s all we’re able to do anyway and let’s spend our youth traveling the world and pursuing our interests.  It’s time we ended the saying “youth is wasted on the young”.

Here’s what I had to say at the time:

“I’ve lived for 32 years.  A little over three decades.  Nearly a third of a Century.  That’s a long time.  A lot has happened in that time.  I’ve lived in four states.  Held about a dozen different jobs.  Even spent some time in the military.  I’m about half way to having a decent memoir to write.  And yet I’m going to have to live another one of my lifetimes before I’m able to retire.  Think about that for a minute.  It will be another three decades, another third of a Century, before I’ll be in my early 60’s.  That’s another thirty years, give or take, of pushing paper around, of staring at a computer screen, of forcing my body to sit in a desk chair against it’s will for eight hours a day.

That’s why retirement is pointless.  We work our lives away so that we can get to the point where we have enough money saved up to live happily after.  Except that by the time we’re able to retire we’re too old and run down to actually enjoy our retirement.  Instead of crossing items off your bucket list you’re sitting in a rocking chair doing crossword puzzles.  More epic fail than Disney fairy tale.”

5.  Dream Gleam – I have the best dreams.  At least that’s what my friends tell me after I share them on Facebook.  The lively conversations that follow my posts about my dreams got me thinking that there should be a social network dedicated to sharing and analyzing dreams so that useful insights can be gleamed.

Here’s what I had to say at the time:

“I had a weird dream last night, as I do almost every night.  It involved a gang of Chicago Cubs baseball players, one of whom had a face tattoo, and another who was over nine feet tall.  They were trying to strong arm me into becoming a Cubs fan.  Thankfully I woke up before I could be wedgied into submission.

When I shared this story on Facebook earlier today my feed blew up as people from the various fantasy baseball leagues that I’m in took this as an opportunity to talk about the Cubs in particular and baseball in general.

It was around the time that the 15th comment rolled in that I came to the realization that I might be onto something.  My crazy little dream, the part of it that I could remember at least, had served as the spring board for a riveting conversation among eight different people, none of whom, had ever met before.  If this was possible just imagine what would be possible from an entire social network dedicated to discussing dreams.”

6.  The Mile Hi Club – Flying is a huge hassle as it is.  Wouldn’t it be better if we took some of the stress away by allowing passengers to chose who they want to sit next to based on shared interests?  A social network for passengers could be the answer.

Here’s what I had to say at the time:

“When I flew to Orlando the other day I sat near a Tibetan monk, a Cher look-alike, a high school cheer leading team (not as glamorous as it sounds), a drifter wearing jorts, a guitar wielding hippie sporting dreadlocks and suffering from a serious case of the munchies, and the family from Blackish.  On my return flight I sat near two yentas, a cosplay actress, a white version of Common, Betty White’s grandmother, some X games competitors including one with a freshly broken ankle, and the obligatory screaming baby.

At no point did I sit near anyone interesting.  But you know who did?  The two yentas in front of me who spent a five hour flight chatting up the handsome young man who sat next to them.  From what I could make out over the roar of the jet engine and the noise from the patty cake convention taking place behind me, this guy was an engineer and former Lockheed Martin employee who lived in Southern California and was now the Director of Science for some entity that I couldn’t make out.  Now that’s the kind of guy that I would have liked to chat up.  But unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards.  Thanks for nothing William Shatner!!!

Rather than lament my fate and post a missed connections ad on Craigslist I’m going to do the next best thing and create a social networking service for flights.  To access this service, known as the Mile Hi Club, all you’d have to do is click on the link conveniently located on the airline’s homepage once you check in for your flight up to 48 hours before boarding.  The link will take you to a landing page where you can view either the Facebook page or Linkedin profile of other passengers on your flight.  Only the ones that have chosen to opt into the service of course.

At this point you’re free to search for a potential seating partner or partners.  Think of it like selecting a college roommate.  Sure you could leave it to chance and wind up with a life long friend.  Or you can go to orientation before the semester starts and find someone with similar interests.  This social networking service is like the orientation before your flight.  Find someone interesting and a few hours later you might have a new lifelong friend or professional connection.  Or dare I say even a potential love interest.”

7.  Ascend – I love hiking.  But living in the Phoenix area I don’t get to go that often during the summer time when the temperatures are north of 100 degrees.  It would be great then if there was an indoor mountain range that I could go to!

Here’s what I said at the time:

“Lots of high 90’s and 100’s.  That’s good news if you’re a student and we’re talking about your report card.  Not so good news if you’re a hiker living in the greater Phoenix Metro area and we’re talking about the ten day forecast.  Faced with a temperature gauntlet set down by Mother Nature most people would find something else to do.  But I’m not most people.  Which is why I’m pleased to announce the creation of Ascend, the World’s first ever indoor mountain range!

That’s right.  I’m planning to do the unthinkable and create an indoor playground unlike anything the world has ever seen.  Part Fantasy Factory, part Bio Dome, part Bellagio lobby, we’re talking about a place that would be the ultimate dream come true for outdoor adventurers.  A place for people to refine their approach and practice their skills.  There will be rock climbing walls, repelling stations, a parkour training section, even a Botanical garden to help make the place look as authenticate as possible.  It’ll have a little bit of everything that you might find on your normal outdoor adventures.  Minus the snakes of course.

8.  Global Public Works Project – The other day I read a Wired interview with Leonardo DiCaprio that touched on how important combating Climate Change is and how the next year will be a make or break you for the future of the planet.  I couldn’t agree more that’s why I think we should create an international organization that would create paying jobs for people as they work towards cleaning up the planet.

Here’s what I said at the time:

“NASA has warned that we could be on the verge of a global drought due do declining levels of the Earth’s aquifers.  Meanwhile scientists have stated that we’re in the midst of the Sixth Extinction event in the planet’s history as animal species are dying off at an alarming rate.  And that’s just the news that I’ve heard about in the last 24 hours.  I haven’t even mentioned melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, a rise in the acidity of the oceans, or climate change.  Or ten other things that could wipe out humanity or alter the way we live.

What we need to do then is take drastic action to ensure that our planet remains habitable.  The kind of action that Boyan Slat recently took when he created a way to clean up the oceans.  But on a much larger scale.  A global scale.  An all hands on deck approach.

Essentially, what I’m proposing is a world wide equivalent of the New Deal public works projects that helped build America’s infrastructure (highways, dams, bridges, etc.) after the Great Depression.  This program was an integral part of America’s recovery as it provided thousands of people with the means to make a living for themselves and in turn stabilized the economy.

Similarly, you could make a case that with the current state of the global economy being what it is now is a great time for another one of these programs.  What with millions of people looking for work around the world and that’s without even considering all of the people who are going to lose their jobs to robots in the coming years.

Instead of building roads, schools, and hospitals the New Deal 2.0 would focus on putting people to work cleaning up the planet.  Participants in the program would pick up garbage, plant trees, create wildlife habitats, create educational programs to ensure that future generations understand the importance of the project, work with scientists to counteract the damage that’s already been done to the planet, etc.”

9.  Backscratcher – You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.  You help me with something you’re good at and I’ll help you with something I’m good at in return.  In theory, I could write something for someone in return for some other service.

Here’s what I had to say about it at the time:

“One of the biggest trends of the last five years has been the rise of the sharing economy.  Airbnb lets you share your home while Uber lets share your car.  But those are the obvious examples.  There are plenty of others.  From the spare drill sitting idly in your tool shed to the unused parking spot in your driveway there are websites that’ll help you share pretty much anything.  If it’s tangible and has value chances are there’s a market for it.  But as far as I can tell there’s one aspect of the sharing economy that hasn’t been tapped into yet: our own skill sets.

Sure there are services like Task Rabbit that let handy people profit from their proficiency with a hammer and box of nails but there’s no service that I know of that lets everyone profit from everything they’re good at.

Take me for example.  I like to write.  Some people would even say that I’m good at it.  (Thanks Mom!)  And yet I only write for this blog, a site that nobody reads.  That’s a gross mismanagement of the one marketable skill that I have.  Shouldn’t I be writing wedding vows, bar mitzvah candle lighting poems, best man speeches, and the like?  Shouldn’t I be sharing my gift of gab with my neighbors?  Receiving in exchange something of value to me, some good or service that I’m unable to replicate on my own.  Something like Series 7 tutoring or coding lessons.”

10.  Buzzworthy – Our phones are constantly buzzing with push notifications.  Tapping into that technology we could get alerted whenever we’re near something “buzzworthy” whether that’s a historical fact or a piece of movie minutia.

Here’s what I had to say about it at the time:

“At any given time our phones know where we are and what we’re near.  That’s a pretty powerful tool.  One that we use to find the nearest Taco Bell when we’re hungry at 2 am.  Sure, we can also check-in on Facebook or receive coupons from advertisers but none of those things are game changers.  Apple’s iBeacon technology may be but even then we’ll just have a smoother shopping experience and not much more.

Surely there must be a better use of this technology.  A use that actually adds value to our lives.  Something that informs us.  Educates us.  Entertains us.  Something that does all that and more without putting us at risk and without hassling us or annoying us.

Thankfully, I think I have just the thing: an app called Buzzworthy that uses your phone’s location to send you push notifications or “buzzes” whenever you are near something “Buzzworthy”.  These “buzzes” will actually cause your phone to vibrate giving you immediate tactile feedback that alerts you to the fact that something awesome is about to happen.

For instance you may find out that Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure was filmed at the mall that you just walked into as I did recently.  Or that a famous figure used to live in the house that you just drove by.   Whether we’re talking about movie locations, places where historical events occurred, or areas frequented by celebrities there’s no shortage of interesting tidbits, fun facts, and obscure minutia that could be shared via this app.”

Are any of these the Greatest Idea Ever?

Read Full Post »

Some things in life are elusive.  The Fountain of Youth.  The Lost City of El Dorado.  The Holy Grail.  The Perfect Shave.  No matter how hard we try we’ll never find them or achieve the desired results.  However, when it comes to that latter one we may soon have a solution.  That’s because there’s a new product, the Skarp Laser Razor, that could finally deliver the perfect shaving results that have thus far alluded us.  So long as we don’t mind applying a laser to our faces.

As one might expect this idea has been met with much fan-fare and even more skepticism.

As Popular Mechanics puts it, “The Skarp Laser Razor is a perfect recipe for a crowd-funding disaster. A brilliant idea. Viral appeal. Millions of dollars. Bubbling controversy. And no way to end but utter disaster.”

That bubbling controversy that they refer to is the fact that the “product” was booted from Kickstarter for the simple fact that it’s not a real product.  Yet.  But really, that’s just a minor technicality since the technology underpinning the invention has been proven to work.  As a result of the controversy the campaign has been moved to Indiegogo instead.

Controversy aside, it’s important to understand how this technology works in case it ever does become a real product.

CNET explains:

“According to Skarp, the company made two breakthroughs that make laser shaving possible.  The first is a special wavelength of light that destroys the chromaphore (the part of the hair that gives it its color) of any hair, even white ones. Laser hair removal isn’t a new idea, but it typically only works on dark hairs by targeting the melanin that makes them dark to begin with. After years of trial and error, Skarp co-founder Morgan Gustavsson claims to have discovered a wavelength that can cut through white and blond hair, too.  The second breakthrough is the idea of transmitting the laser light horizontally: by routing it through an optical fiber that acts as the cutting edge, instead of directly pointing lasers at a target.

This concept of horizontally transmitted light is important because governments tend to regulate devices that have powerful and potentially dangerous lasers inside of them. In Skarp’s laser razor, however, light is only emitted when a hair comes in contact with the fiber optic through a process called frustrated total internal reflection — basically just a fancy way of saying that light escapes the optical fiber only at the spot where something touches it.”

With those safeguards in place it’s likely that the company will be able to sell the idea of a laser razor to consumers more easily.  Although based on the overwhelming success of the Kickstarter campaign it wasn’t the general public that needed convincing.  Just Kickstarter officials.  But thanks to Indiegogo there’s now an alternate path to market.  21st Century shaving is almost upon us.

Is the Skarp Razor the Greatest Idea Ever?

Read Full Post »

#833 – FaceDirector

Thanks to Disney Research movie directors have a nifty new trick up their sleeves.  With just the push of a button they’ll be able to change an actor’s face in post-production, turning a frown upside down if need be.  All they have to do is take a few shots and then let the FaceDirector software do the rest.

As Alphr writes, “FaceDirector is Disney Research’s latest tech tool and it allows directors to visually blend and modulate actors’ emotions in real time. This means that, in post-production, a director can take two different takes of the same scene and blend them together seamlessly to fix timing, alter emotions and even erase duff words.”

What the what!  Better yet, the software doesn’t require fancy hardware to work.  As Engadget explains, “This software…has the capability to merge together separate frames from different takes to create the perfect scene. It does that by analyzing both the actor’s face and audio cues to identify the frames that correspond with each other. As such, directors can create brand new takes during post-production with zero input from the actor. They don’t even need specialized hardware like 3D cameras for the trick — it works even with footage taken by regular 2D cams.”

This is more than just a cheap parlor trick though as it will save directors countless time and money that would have gone towards recording dozens of takes until just the right shot was acquired.  That probably doesn’t matter to a big budget studio like Disney but to an independent film maker it could make all the difference in the world.  Kudos to Disney then for taking the time to develop a tool that probably won’t directly affect them.

Is FaceDirector the Greatest Idea Ever?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »