Archive for the ‘Various’ Category

Diaper Alerts Parents To Babies’ Infections

July 8th, 2013 by NearInteraction

Quantified living and wearable technology seems to be dominated by the adult market – where people actually care enough to quantify their life, but New York startup Pixie Scientific has created a piece of wearable tech that, unlike Google Glass, would be more accessible and used by millions …of babies that is. The startup has developed Smart Diapers, a digital disposable diaper that analyzes a baby’s urine to check for health conditions.

Founder Yaroslav Faybishenko explained to the New York Times how Smart Diapers came about:

I was driving with my wife and daughter one day, when my wife asked if the baby had wet herself. I realized she was sitting in data.

That data is the different proteins that urine contains which provides valuable information about a baby’s health. The smart diaper has a small patch on the front which contain reagents that have different chemical reactions with urine, interacting with the protein in the sample. Should the levels be abnormal, the color on the patches will change. At the end of each diaper use, a parent uses his or her smartphone to take a picture of the QR-like patch. The accompanying app then analyzes the patches to determine whether the baby has a UTI, if the kidneys are healthy, whether s/he is dehydrated, it can even detect Type 1 diabetes. The app will recommend whether the child needs to be taken in to see a physician.

Smart Diapers are not currently on the market, but still in the testing stage. The company has started an Indiegogo campaign to fund their first study and help complete the Food and Drug Administration registration process. Should the requisite funding be achieved, Faybishenko says the diapers will be tested at Benioff Children’s Hospital at the University of California, San Francisco this fall. If testing is successful, the product would then be submitted to the FDA  for final approval.

Watch the video below to see an introduction to Smart Diapers:

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Pixie Scientific

Source: PSFK

HAPIfork: eat slowly, feel better

May 6th, 2013 by NearInteraction

HAPILABS has introduced a new product at CES that aims to help you lose weight and improve digestion by eating at the right pace. The HAPIfork is a smart fork that lets you know when you’re eating too fast. If you eat quickly, you tend to eat more since your brain doesn’t have time to register that you’re full. The slower you eat, the faster you feel full, so you take in less calories during each meal.

The HAPIfork, which was designed by French engineer Jacques Lepine, sends you vibrations and indicator lights when you’re not eating at a pace that is optimal for your health, helping you to slow down without being obtrusive.

The smart device, available in blue, green, black, white, and pink, counts the number of fork servings during each meal. It also monitors the time you start and finish your meal, the amount of servings per minute, and your meal duration.

This data is transmitted to a personalized online account when you connect the HAPIfork to your computer via USB or your smartphone via Bluetooth, so you can keep track of your eating habits.

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Apron Alert – Digital Apron Tells Others when dinner is ready

April 2nd, 2013 by NearInteraction

“Food is a big part of Smart’s studio culture, but sharing meals can be tricky when we all have different schedules. As part of our ongoing exploration of how products can harness the Internet of Things to keep people connected, we focused on lunchtime in the New York studio.

The Apron Alert project is a concept that emerged when we combined our experiments in wireless devices with our thoughts around improving our communal kitchen experience. Wireless XBee radios attached to Lilypad Arduinos were used to build a “smart” apron that can sense when the cook has put it on to start the meal, and when he or she has removed it to serve it. In response, the apron triggers a series of tweets or text messages to let people know when a meal is being prepped and when it’s time to come to the table.”

The Apron Alert

The Energy Collection

July 5th, 2012 by NearInteraction

Marjan van Aubel’s ‘The Energy Collection’ is more than a collection of colorful glassware. The pink, red, and orange glasses, while fully functional as drinking vessels, are also solar-powered, able to charge a phone or other small gadget. The glasses borrow their colors and photosynthetic ability from berries and plants- just as green chlorophyll in plants absorbs light energy, the colored glasses harbor energy.

Delicious is back : playlists for the web

September 27th, 2011 by NearInteraction

“As you may have heard, Delicious was savedfrom Yahoo’s incompetent hands by AVOS, the new startup created by YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, in April 2011.

Today, AVOS is relaunching Delicious, which they say was “rebuilt from the ground up”.

On the new Delicious website, you’ll find little references to ‘bookmarking’ as such. Rather, the revamped service aims to sway users into saving and sharing ‘stacks’ of online content with others. A stack is a collection of links built around a common theme or topic that can be shared in full with other users, enabling easy and swift discovery of online content by cutting through the noise.

AVOS calls said stacks ‘playlists for the Web’.”

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Via TechCrunch.


First Digital 3D Rendered Film (1972)

September 23rd, 2011 by NearInteraction

“Below is a very early digital 3D rendered film (possibly the first one, ever). It was created in 1972 by Ed Catmull (the founder of Pixar) and Fred Parke with a little help from Robert B. Ingebretsen.”


Full Article after the jump.

A New Zealand Makerbot pops in to say Hi

March 5th, 2011 by NearInteraction

Today we were lucky enough to have a visit from a Makerbot and his maker, Tiago Rorke. Besides giving a demonstration of the 3D printer, and a run down on digital fabrication techniques, Tiago also brought in what he is probably best known for, his latest project that has been traveling the world quite a bit lately, his Tardigotchi.

To paraphrase Wired UK who explains, the Tardigotchi is an artwork that features two pets: a tiny living organism and a virtual representation of that organism that behaves analogously, known as an artificial-life avatar. Both are encased within a portable computing enclosure comprised of a brass sphere housing the avatar on an LED screen and a tardigrade within a prepared slide.

Owners tend to a real and virtual creature simultaneously. By pushing a button, the virtual pet is fed, which in turn will feed the tardigrade with a watery medium clouded with atomised moss particles — delicious nectar to the moss-dwelling mortal.

For the uninitiated, a tardigrade is a common and hardy microorganism measuring less than half a millimetre long and commonly (and wonderfully) known as water bears or moss piglets. They are water-dwelling, segmented animals with eight legs and they apparently walk in a way that resembles a bear’s gait, hence the “water bear” nickname.

The on-screen avatar is a caricature of our little water bear, which behaves partly autonomously but partly triggered by its real-life counterpart’s activities.

If you want to share some virtual love with Tardigotchi try sending an email to the virtual creature,, which will trigger a heating lamp, to temporarily warm the tardigrade and prompt his pixelated avatar to soak up the animated sun. He also has a Facebook page.

Tiago will be running a NearLab workshop with us at the end of March in Lisbon. Stay tuned or refer to the eventbrite events page here.

StartUp Coffee pays us a visit

March 1st, 2011 by NearInteraction

NearInteraction was lucky enough to spend a day with Pedro Santos from StartUp Coffee Lisbon right here in our offices in Chiado. Amongst the multiple cups of, you guessed it, coffee, we strategised customer relationships, customer segments, cost structures, revenue streams, output channels, key partners, resources and activities and value propositions – fascinating stuff, and soon our walls were covered in post-its and ideas.

Pedro has an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship, is currently organising i9 Conference a technology innovation conference that will bring together leading entrepreneurs, thinkers, influencers and investors from Europe and the United States to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship, and can be otherwise found facilitating StartUp Weekends and StartUp Coffee in his spare time.

What role will technology take in building the ‘Big Society’?

February 17th, 2011 by NearInteraction

Over the last week, I have been participating with great interest this topic discussion via the Linkedin group Big Society. It also happens to be, of course, the main topic in our NearLab series of ‘Decoding Participation, Engagement and Interaction with Technology’ workshops happening in London in February.

It was opened with the question, ‘Increasing participation, seeding collaboration, fostering partnership are all concepts and ideas that are prevalent in our current discussions of the ‘Big Society’ ideal. Yet, there has been very little discussion of the role of technology in bringing these to fruition….In my experience, the one thing that can bring about this … is leveraging (yuk) technology… so again, the lack of discussion of technology is puzzling.’

With comments starting at the basics, suggesting backend service design systems, for example, ‘I see technology supporting individual voluntary organisations to make them more efficient – systems in areas such as: cost control, project management, resource evaluation and allocation, virtual office etc. in addition to the usual accounting systems.’ to a fairly similar strain of comment, ‘I think that technology will probably play a fairly limited to be honest. It’s very useful for organising groups, advertising, skills banking and the like but the Big Society will be about people not technology.’

The conversation begins to slowly move forward beyond these primary-thinking ideas, building upon the following statement, ‘Technology still gets seen as a component input into a tinkered with version of the old systems, rather than an enabler for different ways of doing and achieving things.’ and, ‘I think that technology is an essential part of any positive vision of the Big Society, it is a crucial component for (creating) something more, to enable innovative, communal wisdom and activity to overcome intractable social, economic, and political problems.’ and begins to focus on the pro’s of ‘technology’ as represented by the basic elements of a online social media campaign, discussing the design thinking strategy behind one.

‘The first question we have to ask, is how best to create participation within these communities? and then, how to keep them there, and fuel the engagement…’, the most obvious, to rephrase David Barrie, is ‘incentive and reward… a service that both invites curiosity and facilitates altrusim -as we might like to think that people rise up spontaneously in support of a local cause, is there a way in which participation can be rewarded and that reward match the interests, schedules and lives of people, rather than simply call upon the scare resource of goodwill? Consider a rewards system that would address the fact that people want recognition, achievement, personal benefit and early evidence of outcomes in return for getting involved in local affairs…’

I would suggest that we also need to begin to consider how to take the idea of ‘technology’ forward, beyond online social media, (by implementation means an easy interaction design solution…) At the most recent NearLab workshop, Urban Apps: when meaningful ideas connect communities with interactive technology, 3 groups of 5 multi-disciplinary professional practitioners from fields as diverse as urban planning, policy, art, community and advertising R&D worked together with a real life case study of an area in the British Isles that needed urban regeneration to create proposals that included using technology solutions provided by NearInteraction’s portfolio of solutions …(to be continued)

Join us! We will be discussing this and more, in 2 weeks time in a one-day mini-workshop and series of talks in London, 5 March.
Bookings here

StoryTelling cards launch at NearLab event, “Urban Apps” in London, this week.

February 3rd, 2011 by NearInteraction

An indepth article written by NearLab’s media partner Imperica, interviews Nina Honiball and Caf Fean on the development of NearLab’s StoryTelling cards:

“At this point in the conversation, Honiball demonstrates a set of cards to facilitate community storytelling, and developed by NearInteraction’s team of futurists, NearLab. The cards comprise of seven parts of the “hero’s journey”, ending in a conclusion and outcomes.

As Honiball observes, the cards are simple, but can be used it in any given degree of complexity. Storytelling is ancient, intuitive, and are how we make sense of life. The “Urban App” comes through in the setting: the desire to facilitate an outcome that is brought to life through the storytelling process. “It’s easier when you see this as an impossible possibility: a dream in reality. A rich process informs a beautiful outcome.

Expectations are particularly explored with the earlier cards in the series. In asking “What if?” and applying different scenarios, the outcomes are changed. These small tweaks can make a big difference, in terms of building both physical and virtual communities. What if the Government’s cuts continue in terms of council services? What if the interface was changed to our blog? What if we used real people rather than actors, in our campaign? As Fean observes, this is akin to “running a risk assessment on a storyline”.

As storytelling becomes increasingly prevalent through all parts of the creative process, across an increasingly wide range of media, it is useful to understand how even the most minor tweak in the process achieves a very different outcome – and exposes the fine line between success and failure.

Both Nina and Caf will be speaking at Urban Apps, a NearLabs event which connects ideas, communities, and interactive technology. Urban Apps takes place in London, on Saturday 5 February. Use the code NEAR15 for a 15% discount.”

excerpt via Imperica