Unlock Your Phone With Your Ear

Apple was the first to tap into devices that recognize their owners by biometrics but Androids are taking it to the next level with ERGO.  ERGO is a new app developed by Descartes Biometrics, Inc. that can unlock a passcode on your phone using your ear.  The app is developed for the Android system and needs no other hardware in order to function on the phone.

Why I’m Curious

ERGO recognizes the phone user’s ears and cheeks against the touchscreen and will unlock the phone.  The app at this point is ready for the consumer but there have been complaints that after a number of scans the phone does not recognize the user’s cheek.  This is obviously an app that is a work in progress but think of the technology behind the app has opened a world of discussion.

As performance and technology on phones increases the exploration in mobile biometrics will become an accelerating trend.  The world already has seen functionality on the phone’s hard ware and now apps, what will be next?  It is possible that a developer will broaden retina scanners to unlock a passcode or breathing habits to control music through your headphones. (Which might already be developed and ready for the consumer.  Hint.  Hint.)  I am curious to see what will be available for the consumer come next year and what new developments for authentic identification will be accessible.


Take a Peek

We have experienced an explosion of photo and video sharing with the success of apps such as Instagram, and more recently Snapchat, the platform that lets users send 10-second messages that disappear after they’ve been viewed. PeekInToo, a new app from Greece, offers a real-time, virtual glimpse into an anonymous person’s life for just 12 seconds.

Taking “people-watching” to the next level, PeekInToo is a global social network that lets users be nosy for a short amount of time. Using a map to navigate, users select a location nearby — or on the other side of the world, if they wish — and pick another user who is accepting requests. The recipient receives a notification that someone wants to ‘Peek’ and they can accept or decline, before holding up their camera to let the other user see what they’re seeing in real time. The video exchange service can be used to simply satisfy a curiosity, but also to see what’s going on near them or in a specific location. If video from a location of interest isn’t currently available, users can also use the PeekShout function in order to request a feed. Viewers can also rate others’ video.

Why I’m Curious:

While most people hop on the social media trends and partake in sharing tidbits about their lives, many are also particular to who they share with and use privacy settings. Do you think there would be enough people that would be willing to share their lives with strangers?

The Case For Deleting All Your Apps

The Case For Deleting All Your Apps

“You are a hoarder, and it’s a problem”

Although this is not the type of hoarding that once can actually see, Charlie Warzel claims that most people are hoarding apps and that their smartphone home screens are a mess and it’s a problem.

His solve for this? Delete your apps. All of them. Every last one of them that you can delete.

His reasoning comes from a result of when his developer version of iOS 7 had expired, causing his phone to deactivate. He then wiped out his phone and deleted all his apps. As he recalls, he took a look at his clean home screen with no twitter; no email; no contacts or push notifications and had a feeling of tranquility.

As reality set in, he realized he needed certain apps (i.e. Gmail, Twitter, Google Maps, Instagram etc.) but he only added the ones he felt he needed or really wanted taking a more lean approach. For him fewer apps meant for distractions and times that he checked his phone and the more he actually enjoyed using his phone. He suggests everyone at least try it to see what happens even if they re-download all their apps

Why I’m Curious
YOLO, FOMO are definitely good descriptors of today’s culture. People want to see and partake in every interesting moment in real time. As a result of tech + these movements, I think we are starting to see a culture that is obsessive in their activities (i.e constantly checking Facebook and or whether they got a text etc) and tools such as smartphone only enable that behavior to its fullest degree. Just like when social media first became popular and out of fear people naturally became more private, I am curious to see if there will be a movement on dialing back on not letting all the notifications rule ones life–a digital detox so to speak.

take immersive to the next level

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the latest installment in the Grand Theft Auto series, Grand Theft Auto V, was released a few weeks ago…Among the game’s many cool features is an accompanying mobile app called iFruit.


From the app store write-up:

iFruit hooks directly into your experience of Grand Theft Auto V with some fun activities to further postpone the need for real social interaction. Keep up-to-date on the latest Grand Theft Auto V news, log into the Rockstar Games Social Club, stay connected on LifeInvader and launch other Rockstar Games apps.

As far as the game is concerned, the two most compelling features of the app are the ability to customize your in-game car and teach your dog, Chop, new tricks…As your in-game sidekick, these tricks can come in handy during gameplay.

Why I’m Curious?

Second-screen experiences have of course been on the rise over the past couple years…I see this as a solid example of how they can be made meaningful.

While not everyone who plays GTAV will download the app, the sub-segment of gamers who do (a sub-segment that is likely heavily invested in the game) will have their gaming experience made that much more immersive.

When done well this seems like a fertile territory for brand to play in…Red Bull, Mountain Dew, any car company that wants to take a bit edgier of a stance, could all have been viable partners on this project.

Tridiv: 3D objects in CSS without all that fuss

3D objects are the illest, especially when they’re rendered in CSS. But who’s got time to stir all that code? Tridiv makes the process easy as pie stolen from some fool’s windowsill.


Why I’m Curious
I like comparatively simple solutions to let’s-make-stuff problems. I’d compare it to any of the animated GIF creator apps that are popping up since Tumblr and Reddit have made them so popular. While I hesitate to call it a WYSIWYG tool, it definitely lowers the bar to entry with regard to 3D CSS sweetness.

Crowdsourced App Helps You Find A Quiet Place

Cities can be noisy, overwhelming and overstimulating – for all of our senses. A new mobile app, Stereopublic, tries to alleviate this stress, and allows users to find, document and share their favorite “noiseless” places in cities.

From PSFK,

Created by Australian composer and sound artist Jason Sweeney along with sound experts Emma Quayle and Julian Treasure, the app is currently available in eighteen cities around the world, with twelve more to be released soon. Geo-location facilitates the process of documentation: ‘earwitnesses’ (as Stereopublic dubs its participants) simply indicate the exact location on the map interface on their mobile device and tag it along with a 30 second recording and image so that others can find the same place. The spot can be tagged with a different color depending on the user’s mood, and an original composition to accompany the quiet space can be requested as well. Participants can also share locations through the website. With the mobile app, users can then ‘tour’ their cities in a new way, discovering havens of tranquility.

Why I’m Curious

As I hear sirens, phones ringing, chewing and over four different conversations from my desk as I type, it sounds like a great idea! However, it seems when you need quiet time you instinctively head home, rather than check your phone for a potential new quiet place around you. I was also curious about the number of users. Is it possible that the more successful the app becomes the less useful it becomes?

Custom Phone Color Based on Facebook Photos

A new Facebook application allows users to create a custom Moto X phone based on the colors in photos from their Facebook page. Once users find the ultimate personalized color, they can finish the process using Motorola’s Moto Maker and have their custom creation sent right to their doorstep.

Below are some sample “creations” from the app:

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 12.12.19 PM

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 12.14.30 PM

Source: Mashable

Why I’m Curious: 

Personalization isn’t new, especially when it comes to our phones. I was curious about this app because you are essentially picking a phone color – that’s it. Yes, your photos dicate the direction of the color chosen by the app, but do your photos shared on your Facebook page really highlight your favorite color? No. I don’t really understand the relevance of the color selected being guided by your Facebook photos. Maybe I’m being too critical, but I think some brands are stretching it too far when it comes to social integration. Can you think of any other examples of this off the top of your head?

Turning Food Porn into Philanthropy

Don’t feel bad about snapping photos of your food in restaurants. Thanks to Mario Batalie and The Lunchbox Fund now you can give back when you whip out your phone at dinner.

From Mashable,

Each time you take a picture of your food at a participating restaurant using Feedie, the restaurant makes an instant donation equivalent to one meal to The Lunchbox Fund. The non-profit provides daily meals for at-risk South African schoolchildren, many of whom have been orphaned because of HIV/AIDS.

When you open Feedie, you can locate nearby restaurants using the app. So far, those restaurants are just in New York, but include some of the city’s most esteemed eateries, such as La Esquina, Whitehall, Del Posto, The Lamb’s Club and The Spotted Pig.


Why I’m Curious

I think this is a really cool app, and a great way for restaurants to not only promote themselves and their food, but also just good PR for giving back. However, there are so many apps that are dedicated to snapping photos of delicious meals, Foodspotting in particular. I’m curious why Mario Batali and team wouldn’t just join forces with an app that has an existing following, and maybe be able to partner with more restaurants and ultimately donate more money.

TBWA’s CoCreator

TBWA unleashed a new app to identify promising start-up opportunities. The app itself, called CoCreator, functions much like an online dating service – Entrepreneurs are encouraged to join the service using their LinkedIn accounts, and log a short description about an idea that they require assistance in seeing through to the next level. The app stables a field of TBWA experts in the fields of Branding and Communication, Business and Product, and Marketing and Partnerships that users can select from. Assuming the expert sees potential in the idea…a partnership is born.

Why I’m Curious?

This is just one more in a long line of examples of established businesses dedicating resources to identifying and incubating new ideas.

In an ideal scenario, one where people sign-up in droves, the approach seems particularly savvy – The app will serve to extend the agency’s pool of ideas beyond the confines of their immediate employee network, and as a potential new business generator and/or talent identifier.

But, it would seem to me that there are a fair amount of hurdles standing in the way of a rich, diverse user base…

You’ve got to wonder to what degree potential users will be skeptical of sharing their ideas with agency professionals…because, you know, who’s to say that the idea won’t surface “on its own, organic accord” from within the agency itself several months down the line? More skepticism…to what degree does the “expert” take ownership of the idea? As a user, I’ve got to be comfortable with sacrificing a potentially significant degree of control over the future of my idea…In following with the tone of the app trailer, the whole thing seems a tad naive.

We’ll see…my hunch is that many of the app’s users will be OK with the above, but it’ll dilute the purity/quality of the ideas on offer. The app hinges on there being a certain degree of cache in the TBWA brand, and I think that that cache will attract a certain type of prospect – One who is likely already an industry professional, or one who aspires to become one…I don’t see this app attracting bona fide entrepreneurs with ideas for which they’re willing to fight tooth and nail.


If This Then That, a service that allows you to connect two different apps or services, is now available for iPhone. The service has apparently been available as a web app since at least December of last year.

The service allows users to specify parameters (termed “recipes”) by which an action in one app will trigger an action in another, e.g. “when friend X posts a picture in Instagram, send me an SMS alert.” The amount of possible recipes is seemingly limitless, and by most accounts I’ve come across, the service works pretty smoothly.id660944635

Why I’m Curious?

This just sounds awesome to me…endlessly convenient for users, and a great example of technology being harnessed to make life easier.

It may also have potential as a tool for advertisers to target users during particularly relevant times, though I wonder about privacy/allowing users to opt-in…I suppose the app could house stock, branded recipes during promotional periods…? Ultimately, the output of the recipe has to be an interaction that users want…Might be an interesting platform for deal distribution or contests.

New App is Yelp for Men

lulu7 lulu6

Lulu is a new app that lets ladies post reviews and recommendations about their ex-boyfriends. The app is available on both iOS and Android, but men aren’t allowed to access the profiles and ratings shared by ex-girlfriends.

From Mashable:

Here’s how it works: After female users ages 18 and up access the app and sync it to Facebook, they can add a guy to the database and upload a picture. All users are anonymous — no names included — and activities are kept off Facebook. But if you come across a profile that might be of interest to someone you know, you can share profiles with Facebook friends. Hashtags can also be added to the guy’s profile, so characteristics are searchable.

Why I’m Curious

The app is causing some controversy, and has some people wondering if it’s just for guy-bashing. Similar to Yelp, it has me wondering if I would trust another girl’s review of a guy. But the founders claim the majority of reviews are positive, which could actually help guys get a date. I’m curious to see what happens when all the app data gets leaked over to users’ Facebook profiles…

J.Cole Hosts Private Album Listening Sessions in 8 Cities


It’s fairly common for an artist to try to generate some excitement around a new album before it’s released. Listening parties are just one of the ways they do it, but in the past, the parties are usual reserved for the press, record reps, and other VIPs. But last night, J.Cole tried something new and offered an exclusive stream of his upcoming album, Born Sinner at eight locations across the U.S.

The parties were revealed earlier this week in a blog post with exact coordinates of locations in Atlanta, Boston, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Houston, Los Angeles and Cole’s native Fayetteville, North Carolina. To actually tune into the stream, fans needed to download the LISNR app which connected them to a livestream beginning at 8PM EST.

Why I’m Curious

I’ve seen plenty of listening parties online – but the experience changes a lot when can interact with other fans listening to the music for the first time. Overall, the process could probably be a bit smoother (fans had to prepare for this listening party!), but 1,000s of fans responded to his tweets announcing the sessions. I’m curious to see how the J.Cole leveraged the actual location (and all the fans that showed up). But also how fans coming in groups could help power something like this in the future.

Candy Crush Saga: A Killer Social/Mobile Combination


If you own a smart phone or have a Facebook account, chances are you’ve heard of or at least evaded the Candy Crush rage. The simple bejeweled-esque mobile game has reeled in a whopping 15.5 million players so far and tops the charts as one of the highest grossing free apps on the market. The game forces players to depend on their Facebook friends to grant them access to new levels, or else it’s $0.99 a pop (and there’s a lot of pops, pun intended). It’s a killer yet simple combination of social and addictive game design.

From ABC,

“The game, which was released for mobile phones in November 2012, has topped Zynga’s Farmville 2 and other popular mobile games such as Texas HoldEm Poker, Bejeweled Blitz and Subway Sufers. But why? What is it about this game that’s really no more than a simple puzzle game that has made it so popular? It’s a combination of mobile and social elements, says the makers and experts.”

Why I’m Curious:

Before Candy Crush I took pride in having a clean record when it came to these bandwagon social/mobile game rages. These games often have either the addictive or social piece nailed down, but not often do you see both being integrated so well. The dependency on one’s Facebook network that the game has garnered can reduce even the most conservative social networker to a shameful spammer. I am confident that Candy Crush has set a new bar and has facilitated a new upcoming wave of social integration in mobile gaming.

3D Ad Lets You Be A DJ

To promote their new mobile DJ mixing app called Slussen, Urbanears created an ad printed on a 3D printer. When scratched with your fingernails at different speeds and pressure application, the ridges on the ad poster reverberate with familiar sounds that a DJ could create by scratching vinyl records on his or her turntable.

Why I’m Curious:
We’ve been seeing 3D printing pop up a lot, but we don’t often see it showing up in advertisements, per se. I think this is a really creative campaign that lets people actually interact with the brand’s ad in a context that is relevant to the product. The posters could be put up at events where interested musical consumers can scratch the posters along with music playing in the background.

Browser Lets Users Send Self-Destructing Emails at Work

The problem with sharing everything on the internet, is that it can feel so darn permanent. What started with Snapchat, the app that made sending naughty and silly photos seemingly safe, has branched out into a slew of applications that make our internet presence more ephemeral. Enter the latest iteration of erasable online media, OTR (which stands for off the record), a new in-browser application that let users send messages to other computers with a 5 second time limit before they vanish into the cyber atmosphere.

OTR Demo – off the record messaging from Lamplighter Games on Vimeo.

Created by app company Lamplighter Games, OTR was directly inspired by SnapChat (it was originally called ChapSnat when it was presented at a TechCrunch Hackathon last month), but designed for a working environment where communication between colleagues is not always business-related. Kris Minkstein, co-founder of the company with brother Andy, told Bloomberg Businessweek:

We both love using Snapchat, so we thought it would be fun to put Snapchat in the browser. We figured since you’re in front of your computer all day at work that you’re going to end up sending a lot of these photos to probably the guys sitting next to you at your cubicle.

Why Am I Curious?

This application is very much in line with the trend of temporality with online communications whether it is self-destructing tweets or disappearing photos. It seems like more and more people are trying to find some sort of privacy online but it is important to realize that there are many many reports about how those photos that were supposed to have vanished can actually be recovered. So while the promise of ultimate privacy is not there, something is and more and more people getting on board.

Collective Experiences Based On Where Your iPhone is Pointing


CrowdOptic created Focus-based augmented technology that combines a number of inputs from a mobile phone, such as time, angle of gyroscope, and image to create interactive content around a live event (or catastrophe).  What’s useful about this technology is the back-end analytics which can be visualized in real-time and the ability for marketers to identify physical hot-spots of interest and capitalize on those opportunities.

While this specific technology hasn’t been used in commercial products, yet, a number of industries have their eye on the technology as it could be a game changer for eye-witness reporting, could bring a level of interactivity to live sports shows, and real-time marketing. There is even potential for this to become a tool for law enforcement as users capture images around catastrophes or acts of violence, the technology could be a quick way to identify its point of origin.

CrowdOptic’s current clients include Ticketek who also created CrowdOptic’s other app Friend Spotter (an app that helps you find friends in a stadium based on similar technology). They also just received another $1M in funding.

Why I’m Curious

With the continued interest in real-time marketing and marketing around live-events (e.g. Oreo and the Superbowl), marketers need to be able to quickly identify trending topics and capitalize on those opportunities . However, there often aren’t the real-time analytics to provide actionable insights. Theoretically, this technology can pinpoint a physical location, curate the social conversation around that particular incident, and provide actual numbers to inform messaging and channel selection, allowing marketers to provide even more contextually relevant messaging.

TweetPee Sends A Tweet When Your Baby is Wet

Huggies Brazil has created a useful solution for parents who are paying more attention to Twitter than their baby’s diaper: TweetPee. A fictional sensor attaches to the child’s diaper and sends a Tweet to Mom or Dad to tell them know their little one is wet.


The TweetPee mobile app also tracks how many diapers your baby has used and even has a portal to order more online. (more at AdverBlog)

Why I’m Curious

Lifetracking seems to be a growing trend with no limits. You can strap on a device to keep track of how many calories you’ve burned, put your milk in a fridge that knows when it has spoiled….and now a concept to keep track of your baby’s diapers. Knowing when to order more is definitely useful – but how many parents are really ready to strap this little birdy on their baby so they can receive a tweet about a wet diaper? And would those parents share that information with their followers?

Plus, it might be a little awkward to tell your child – “Your first tweet was about a wet diaper!”




Taco Bell Launches Snapchat

On Wednesday, Taco Bell tweeted that they were on Snapchat, and urged their Twitter followers to add them for a secret announcement. 16 Handles was the first major brand to use Snapchat back in January, however, Taco Bell is far more recognizable and may signal a larger trend of using the app.

Taco Bell tweet

From Mashable,

Tressie Lieberman, director of social and digital for Taco Bell, says the brand has been “blown away” by the response it has gotten on Snapchat. Taco Bell is using the app to reintroduce the Beefy Crunch Burrito. “People are obsessed with Beefy Crunch Burrito so Snapchat seemed like the right platform to make the announcement,” she says. “Sharing that story on Snapchat is a fun way to connect with the fans that we are thrilled to have. It’s all about treating them like personal friends and not consumers.”

Taco Bell Snapchat

Why I’m Curious

What really caught my attention about this was the publicity and excitement from fans and blogs. While Taco Bell does look like a first mover using Snapchat, they didn’t do anything too groundbreaking. However, I think how they gained the momentum is what is exciting. By retweeting fan’s Snapchats and their excitement is another example of the two-way conversation between brands and consumers.

Twitter Launches Twitter #music


Twitter #music is a free app that uses Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists. The app also has a ‘Suggested’ page, which allows users to search for music from their favorite artists. The intention is to use this as a music discovery source instead of a platform just to stream music on.

As of today, the app is available for iOS and will be released in a Web version, no word on an Android version.

Article via Mashable

Why I’m Curious

It seems as if we are flooded with music sharing and discovery platforms already (Pandora, Spotify, Rdio…), what makes this different from the others? Will it be successful?

Disconnect.me Lets You Control Your Data Online

Disconnect.me is a little app that makes the web a lot better by helping users monitor and block more than 2,000 websites from collecting their data online.

Why I’m Curious:

While security from hackers is a big concern for almost everyone, people don’t realize that marketers and publishers are tracking every move you make and collecting that information to inform business strategies, product development, and marketing initiatives.  Big data is a big business.   And although questions  about consumer privacy occasionally bubbles to the surface (usually when Facebook does something to annoy people), for the most part, people forget that it’s not just hackers who are interested in what they are saying, doing, sharing, posting, or saving online.  As more and more people become aware of just how much marketers really know about them  – MasterCard claims they can predict the success rate of a marriage within a 98% accuracy rate based on the data they collect on card members – there will be more demand for tools and apps that provide some type of barrier against data collection, which could have big implications for marketers.

The irony – the developer, Brian Kennish spent more than a decade working for DoubleClick and Google building the software that allows companies to track user data online. Only after he became a heavy Facebook user did he begin to think about what privacy really means:

“I really enjoyed using Facebook, but the fact that their social widgets were popping up all across the web meant that by virtue of my using Facebook, I was also giving Facebook a big chunk of my browsing history…That just seemed like a part of the deal that I didn’t sign up for.”