I am a student of the arts, which for me include: Human Behavior, Emerging Technologies, and Traditional Art.
You can reach me at christopher dot chan at towerswatson dot com
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Apple to Stop Selling Fitbit Products
According to a report in Re/Code, Apple will stop selling Fitbit products in Apple stores in the near future.
The timing comes soon after Fitbit’s surprising decision not to integrate with Apple’s HealthKit. Fitbit has stated that it found the technology interesting but it didn’t yet see the value in integration for its customers.
It may not simply be a retaliatory move — the recently leaked Fitbit Charge HR will feature a heart rate tracker, moving in direct competition with Apple’s new Watch.
Are we seeing some corporate chess moves being played in the health arena?
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington has launched an program that gets guests involved in community projects during their stay, in return for a host of complimentary perks.
It’s called the ‘Do Good, Feel Good’ package. Guests visit with DC Central Kitchen for exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the nonprofit’s impressive operation. Afterwards, they are invited to volunteer and in return for their charity, guests are rewarded with access to the 100 square-foot sports complex, breakfast for two and valet parking. The hotel will also make a $100 donation to the DC Central Kitchen on the customer’s behalf. The package costs $309 per night.
Are there other ways you can think of to combine luxury and charity?
The Read and Rideprogram at Ward Elementary in Winston-Salem, North Carolina began five years ago. There’s one classroom that’s equipped with enough exercise bikes for a full class of students, and teachers bring students throughout the day to use them. As they ride, they read.
The combination burns calories, but it turns out that it also helps students learn better. As the elementary school analyzed testing data at the end of school year, they found that students who had spent the most time in the program achieved an 83% proficiency in reading, while those who spent the least time in the program had failing scores—only 41% proficiency.
Time on the bikes is described as a “reward” that happens to benefit the students.
Can you think of other creative ways that combine mental and physical activities?
Ever see a piece of furniture somewhere and you didn’t know how to find out where its from? LikeThat Decor is a visual search app that will present consumers with items similar to those featured in photos they upload.
Consumers can either select an item of furniture from the app’s built in gallery, or upload their own picture. The app analyses the image and presents the user with similar and complementary items, pulled from the app’s extensive database of millions of products from thousands of top furniture brands. If you find something you’re interested, you can make a purchase right in the app.
Any other applications you can think of for visual search?
FingerReader is a wearable ring that scans written text and reads it out loud to visually impaired readers.
The prototype is created by MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group. As readers trace lines of text with their finger, the camera determines the words on the page and translates the text to speech to recite each word out loud to the reader. The ring will vibrate if the user’s finger starts to shift off the correct line of text, or if they’ve reached the end of the line.
When moving to a new line, the device compares the words it’s already processed to make sure it doesn’t repeat a piece of text.
While only in the prototype stage, if successful, this piece of wearable tech could render braille books obsolete. What other types of technology have you see that help those with disabilities?
Estimote stickers are small beacons that can be attached to ordinary objects and help them interact with your smartphone.
The stickers all objects to be tracked instead of people. For example, place them on individual items in a store and you’ll find out how often they’re picked up or where they are in the store — you don’t need to track the customers themselves.
Each Estimote sticker contains an accelerometer, temperature sensors, a small processor and Bluetooth connector. If an item is picked up, you might be prompted with additional product information via a nearby computer screen or your smartphone. Kinda feels like Minority Report tracking your eyes.
Stick one on a bag and you’ll know if you left behind (or if it got stolen!). Place one in the bedroom and you can see if users are still in bed….ok, a little creepy, I’ll admit.
Estimote is calling its stickers ‘nearables’, providing similar benefits to wearables without having to actually be attached to the user.
The tech company has released a new ad that pokes fun at the iPhone 6 Plus.‘Galaxy Note 4 – Then And Now’ sarcastically calls out tech publications who once dismissed the Galaxy Note’s large screen size…which Apple is now imitating with the iPhone 6 Plus.
The ad goes on to say “Samsung Mobile invented the large display genre, but The Next Big Thing is about more than just size. As the rest of the world catches up to the ‘not everyone wants a tiny screen’ thing, the Galaxy Note 4 is more productive, more innovative and more fun than ever.
What do you think about this type of advertising? Just having a bit of creative fun or just a little annoying?
Chinese tech giant Baiduhas now created smart chopstickswhich detect contamination in food. They’ll show a red light to warn diners that they should think twice about finishing their meal.
The utensils feature sensors that detect the chemical makeup of oil, water and other foods. Users can also connect the chopsticks to their smartphones to see more detailed information about why their food has been flagged. According to Baidu, the chopsticks monitor the quality of cooking oil, but will also be able to track PH levels and temperature and calories.