Hudson Yards Project is building a connected neighborhood next to Starrett Lehigh


The largest private real estate project ever is being built right next door to mcgarrybowen’s home in the iconic Starrett-Lehigh building. This project is unique in that it’s being built from the ground up, and developers are capitalizing the opportunity to build a future-forward, all-inclusive neighborhood.

The developers are collaborating with NYU to create a “data-rich research environment” to quantify and analyze a number of verticals. Data could be collected for air quality, recycling, activity levels and health, or mobile browsing data. Most of the stream of data will come from building systems or smart “Internet of things” devices and appliances. But some will be supplied voluntarily by those who opt-in to the program, supplying access to sensors and apps on their smartphones.

Why I’m Curious

I’m sure we all hear rampant use of buzzwords like Internet of Things, Big Data, connected cities, and hyper-contextualized personalization. I’m so excited to see a project that is actually considering how to make those concepts accessible to a greater population. Since Manhattan is already incredibly developed, it often seems like there is little room for growth. This project shows that the future is rife with opportunity for NYC to become a part of the future of our connected world.

[via FastCompany]


Pley is a Netflix-esque service for LEGO fans



A new rental service called Pley allows customers to rent and return LEGO sets. The service is perfect for those who love the challenge of building a set, but don’t care to keep it around the house.

Users set up a queue of the sets they’d like to rent, and the price varies from $15-39 based on the size of the set. Play sets are sanitized and shipped with the official instructions and a shipping return sticker. Those who decide to keep the set can be billed for it at a discounted price.

Why I’m Curious

As an avid fan of The LEGO Movie, Pley’s appeal to nostalgic Millennials is not lost on me. I’m sure the service is marketed to mothers and their children, but it’s a valuable service for any 20-something who’s strapped for storage space.

via LifeHacker

Oreo Spot Tells the Story of Mel’s Mini Mini Mart

The Martin Agency created a long form video for the Mini Oreo “Wonderfilled” campaign. Reminiscent of Wes Anderson and Dr. Seuss, it’s a whimsical tale of a mini roadside shop that sells only Mini Oreos.


Why I’m Curious

Long form video is picking up in the digital space as a new medium for brands to tell their story. From Beats by Dre to IBM, many brands are dreaming up creative ways to entertain their audience. An interesting fact about this video is that the team at Martin sold the idea by building a set and shooting the first version in their garage over a weekend. I’m interested to see if this video boosts Mini Oreos sales, and if it will lead to similar work in the future.


Sassy Robot Calls Out Your Obnoxious Friends on Instagram

Robot Holds Instagram Interventions For The Most Cliched, Overused Posts

Ringly sends phone notifications in a discreet and fashionable way

Ringly is a ring which inconspicuously notifies the wearer of incoming phone notifications. If info is coming in, the ring will vibrate and flash a tiny light, so the wearer can be aware of communication without sacrificing social etiquette or style.


Co-founder Christina Mercando, a start-up alum with a background in fine art, created the ring because she was sick of missing texts and calls from friends and family, but also felt like a jerk for keeping her phone constantly in view. It connects to an iPhone or Android and alerts the wearer to incoming texts, calls, calendar alerts, or emails. It also allows for push notifications from Tinder, eBay, Facebook, and Twitter.

Why I’m Curious

This product is built off a great insight about consumer needs. I would like to see this service, as well as others like it, built with intense personalization capabilities. Users should be able to dictate precisely who, when, where, and what they are notified about. For instance, a person might perhaps only want to receive notifications from certain friends on the weekends, or when they are not at work.

[via NY Magazine]

Could Facebook become relevant again?


It seems there might be a rebirth of Facebook on the horizon. Tech news sites constantly trumpet the demise of Facebook, but I imagine it might not be as imminent as it seems. Are there ways to return to the golden days of Facebook, before FarmVille requests, family dramas and TMI moments, and a steady stream of irrelevant Likes?

Today I saw an article on PSFK about how one guy made Facebook work again, both as a web service and a social network. He made his experience better by going from 1,500 to 100 friends. Anyone who didn’t reflect who he was, or that he wasn’t interested in seeing in real life, was off the list. Doing this improved the quality of his Facebook feed, but also improved his experience with many of the services that were linked to his account.

This got me curious… For what reasons to people decide to give Facebook another shot? And what are their tactics for achieving it?



iBeacon App BeHere Creates a Digitally Integrated Classroom



The new app BeHere uses iBeacon technology to aid teachers in the classroom by automatically taking attendance as students enter the room. It also has a function which enables students to ask questions of the teacher.

Why I’m Curious

I can imagine this working well in post-grad classes, where attendance and questions can use up valuable teaching time.

It’s common knowledge in the ad industry that targets need to be approached within the scope of their existing behaviors. This is an example of teachers applying that insight (consciously or not) in the classroom.

It also might discourage kids in middle and high school from using their phones for other reasons, since they’re allowed to have them out on their desks. With the phone sitting in plain sight, the thrill of breaking a rule is minimized.

[via PSFK]

PillPack Challenges Brick-and-Mortar Pharmacies


Recent studies show that more than 20% of Americans take more than five prescription medications each day. A new online pharmacy called PillPack is helping those people by organizing their medications and delivering them every two weeks in convenient tear-off packs that are clearly dated.

Why I’m Curious

The digital space is incredibly crowded with meager, insubstantial ‘innovations’, so seeing something truly insightful is exciting. 

The tear-off pill pack leverages a consumer truth in a way that traditional pharmacies haven’t done; namely, that people have a hard time organizing their complex pill regimens. The packaging also minimizes the stigma of a jangling pill bottle in a person’s bag. I also enjoy their positioning as a service of humans-helping-humans. 

Of course there are some concerns. As a new service, they don’t yet have a reputation for their shipping quality. Privacy and security is also imperative, since they’ll be handling sensitive information. I also wonder if they might run into issues with the legislation involved in running a pharmacy.

Navigational Tech Inspired by Theseus and the Minotaur


Students in Italy created an app to help the blind navigate using only their smartphone and sense of touch.

Various paths are mapped out through a building with colored tape on the ground, which the smartphone camera picks up as the user waves the phone back and forth. When the line passes under the user’s finger on the screen, the the smartphone will vibrate to provide a tactile indication of where the line falls.

via PSFK

Why I’m Curious

Tales of inspiration like this always seem a bit far-fetched to me. All that aside, this tech has many great applications. I have a hard time imaging this implemented as a visual aid, since many sidewalks don’t even have the regulatory yellow bumps. It could, however, be a fantastic promotional tool or form of branded entertainment. I imagine it best being used in a store: a little kid following a path to his favorite snack at the grocery store. Or at an event, where partygoers have to follow the hidden path to find the location.

Also, 3-D Printed Candy.

Like Being Trapped in a Horror Movie…

A new game created at USC’s Interactive Media and Games Division gets scarier and more difficult if the player shows signs of fear.


from Discovery News:

The game uses a Garmin cardio chest strap to monitor a player’s heart rate to gauge the gamer’s “fight or flight” response. Players assume the role of a “neuroprober” at the Neurostalgia Institute where gamers must recover the horrific, repressed memories of traumatized patients. Players must solve puzzles, find Polaroid photos and face nerve-wracking, terrifying scenarios to rid a patient’s subconscious of each memory. However, if the heart monitor detects the gamer is showing fear, then the game becomes more difficult.

Why I’m Curious:

This game combines so many things I’m fascinated by–horror, psychology, game innovation. Biofeedback is a powerful feature to make game experiences more realistic and immersive. With funding, this could be a powerful (and terrifying!) new feature in commercial video games. It could also be used in therapy for patients with phobias and anxieties.