Fundamental technology updates

  Technology is present in many things. At first it is new and we spend time learning and understanding how it works. However, when the technology becomes part of our lives we use without thinking about its functions.

  I am from Brazil and in my city, São Paulo, people don’t usually use gloves in winter because the season’s average temperature is 16 degrees. So, I needed to buy a pair of gloves in Toronto among other winter clothes.

Gloves  When I searched for gloves, I came across a lot of different kinds, but one caught my attention. Two fingertips on each glove were different colors, which provide a technological function. These gloves enable you to use a smartphone without needing to take them off.

  Maybe for people that live in cold countries, this kind of glove is ordinary, but I experienced the feeling of coming across something new and different for the first time.

OpenEasy1  Tear tape, an innovation that helps consumers open many products that are wrapped in plastic, is an example of something that was new but some time after became ordinary. The first time they use it, people like this new way of opening the pack and it differentiates a product from its competitors. On the other hand, today if a pack comes without the easy open tape the consumer thinks the product is old-fashioned or poorly designed.

  This process happens with technology or any innovation. When the consumer becomes used to something new, it is time to update it. For me the gloves are new, but I don’t know how long they will be.

The front row story

  There are some soccer teams that reach a different level of relationship with their fans, crossing borders, instilling love in people who have never seen the team play live in a stadium, but for whom the team’s history and achievements is enough. With a lot of fans around the world, Manchester United is one of these teams.

Manchester_United1  For these fans that are far from the stadium, for the first time ever Google Plus made a contest using Hangout technology—a popular free service capable of video stream—to connect them with the game. Through the digital advertising boards on the side of the field the fans were able to watch from the front row.

Manchester_United2  Manchester United became the fastest sports organization to reach one million followers on Twitter and also is the team among the Premier League with the fastest growing presence on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and Instagram. Because of their social media presence, the team was a perfect partner for the campaign.

  Google asked for fans from around the world to submit photos on social media, using the hashtag #MUFrontRow and show their love for the team. They selected the best 22 fans to participate in the Hangout.

Manchester_United3  The Hangout happened during the Premier League game against Liverpool on March 16, 2014. The campaign was successful, however the extra fans were not able to help in the result of the game—Manchester United lost the game (3-0).

New digital family member

  Currently, when we have a question on our mind, most people just search the Internet for the answer. Amazon wants to change the way that we ask and search for answers. As a result, they have developed a new product called Echo. The cylinder-shaped virtual assistant can be used in your living room, kitchen or bedroom.

Echo1  The core idea is like Siri, the virtual iPhone assistant, however Echo is a stationary device that answers questions, tells jokes, plays music, serves as an alarm clock, takes shopping orders when you say “Alexa” before the sentence—in general becoming a virtual family member.

  Echo can access Amazon Music Library, Prime Music, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio. Through these services it is possible to listen to a playlist or radio show with a voice command. On the other hand, if the music has been disturbing another person in the house, with the command “Alexa stop” the equipment turns on the annoyed function because it recognizes that the command was given by a different voice.

Echo_Family  Often times companies develop a product and consumers are not ready to use these functions. Perhaps users needs to learn and create new habits. From my point of view, Echo is a technological evolution but do you think that consumers are ready to include this product in their lives?

  The teaser video shows a family using the product in different situations. Check it out below.

Digital guide for the blind

  Simple activities that we usually do during the day, such as crossing the street, taking the bus and walking inside the subway station, are a daily challenge to blind people. Microsoft has been developing a project using technology that connects smartphones to special headphones using wireless networks. Called Independence Day, the project can make movement easier for blind people.

GuideDigital1  It works with Windows phones using location and navigation data with a network of information in urban locations to describe routes.

  The special headset sits in front of the ear, which prevents the headset drowning out environmental noise. Sound is conducted through the jawbone and the headset gives verbal and non-verbal notifications. For example when the user is coming to a corner, the equipment will send a signal that gradually increases as he approaches it.

GuideDigital2  In partnership with the NGOs Catapult and Guide Dogs, the project is a prototype, which has been being tested in London and is showing satisfying results. At the moment guide dogs are necessities, but in the future with the evolution of technology and software updates, it will be possible to identify posts, stairs and small obstacles.

For more details regarding the project check out the video below.

Smart deodorant

  Kickstarter is a website where new projects can get exposure and set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Among Kickstarter’s projects, a new smart deodorant is totally different from ordinary deodorants that you can find in stores currently.

ClickStick_1  Called ClickStick, the smart deodorant prevents unpleasant smells, unnecessary waste and stained clothing in an unconventional way. Among its smart features, the activation button, with one click, deliverers the right amount of deodorant to exactly the right place every time, avoiding stains and skin irritation and sensitivity.

  The information syncs with a free mobile app, providing insights into the amount of deodorant you need, based on your activity level. The app will monitor your application habits, tell you when you need to apply the product again and allow you to buy refills.

ClickStickAPP_2  This product is a prototype and it is not available in stores yet but it is interesting to see how we can use technology with simple things, changing old habits to make life smarter.

  Through a commercial the creators show the product’s features in a fun way. If you like this project you can contribute to make it happen by accessing the site. Check out the video below.

Healthy 10 min breaks

  In ten minutes, do you think it is possible to find and eat a healthy meal? In a group video assignment for the digital media strategy course at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, we show students and teachers where to find healthy food on their 10 minutes break from class.

  Using Foursquare users are able to find good healthy places by reading opinions left by ordinary consumers. In the video we show three restaurants near the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education on Bloor Street West, Toronto. You too can use Foursquare to find good places around you.

Foursquare1

  With the recent app update, it has become easier to find places that match your preferences. For example, if you don’t have a lot of time and eat out frequently, but you want to keep healthy, just add keywords and your preferences, such as: Organic food, Healthy food and Good for a quick meal. When you are in an unfamiliar place, access Foursquare and it will find a good place that matches your choices.

Foursquare2

  Even though I am not a professional editor, I made the video as best as I could. Thanks to each group member; their participation was crucial to the final result.

 

Group members:

Alexandra Caskambas and Natasha Lowe: Research

Fábio Drummond: Film/Editing

Shilpa Sharma: Concept/narration

Stuart Mann: Content Advisor/Guest appearance

 

You can access the blog of each group members (click on the name). Check out the video below.

War and technology

  Throughout history there have been some important moments in the evolution of technology. Among these events, modern wars were a watershed for these changes. Products were created to attack opponents; on the other hand, these inventions are used for different purposes in our day-to-day. In this post, we will talk about some of these inventions.

Guerra  The first electronic computer was built in 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania to make ballistic calculations for the U.S. military during World War II. Called ENIAC—an acronym for Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyzer and Computer—it cost $500,000, weighed 30 tons and took up nearly 2,000 square feet of floor space.

ENIAC  After the first computer, scientists and researchers created a system to communicate and share data with one another during the Cold War. Currently, we use this system, the Internet, for almost everything and for many people it would be impossible to imagine life without it.

Internet

  By accident in 1945, Percy Spencer was experimenting with a new vacuum tube called a magnetron while researching radar technology during the war. He was intrigued when the chocolate bar in his pocket began to melt, so he tried another experiment with popcorn and it worked. He immediately saw the potential in this revolutionary process creating the first microwave.

microondas  The quadcopter (unmanned aerial vehicle) was developed during wartime to spy on enemy territory; however, today this equipment is used for different purposes.

quad_rotors  Cirque du Soleil, known for their creativity and amazing performances, made a video called Sparked, using quadcopters in a flying performance. As a result, the short film shows interactive choreography where humans and machines move in sync. Such precise movement was achieved through precise computer control, including algorithm and custom software, and wireless communication networking.

Check out the result below.