Toolkit transforms whiteboard sketches into functioning apps

Toolkit transforms whiteboard sketches into functioning apps

Kickstarter concept—AppSpeed—takes prototyping to the next level by allowing users to quickly turn sketches into functioning prototypes. The way in which the concept works is that users create drawings/sketches of digital screens with crop marks clearly visible. Once finished, the user uploads their sketches into AppSeed, which then automatically crops screen sizes. Once images sizes/screens are isolated, the app uses computer vision to enable the movement of individual elements. Based on this, users can alter or designate specific functions to individual pieces in each image.

Ultimately, the purpose of the app is to make for a seamless and easy experience for designers and UX creatives by allowing for simple manipulation and modification of digitized sketches to create working prototypes.

Why I am Curious:

Minimal viable products are of extreme interest to me and I believe the best way to validate efforts are to quickly create concepts that can be validated with sample targets before production ever gets started. I think this idea will speed up that process. I think apps/programs in this space will only continue to get better.


Omate TrueSmart Smartwatch



Omate Truesmart has hit its crowdfunding target on Kickstarter to develop and produce a smartwatch that is a standalone device and can work independently from your smartphone or act as a companion.  They have raised over $100,000 in Kickstarter funds and are moving forward with production.

Why I’m Curious:

The Omate TrueSmart’s features are truly impressive.  Not only does it act as a phone and will run your Android apps smoothly it also has a five megapixel camera and is water resistant.  Some other functions include, voice call, text messaging, tracking, GPS, gesture control, and is event connected to 2G/3G data.  This smartwatch is ready for production and with Omate reaching their Kickstarter goal they can push it into full gear.

The market for smartwatches is becoming very competitive.  There are already designs for Pebble and the Samsung smartwatch out and Hyetis is planning on developing a luxury smartwatch that has a 41 megapixel camera.  Although, name brands like Samsung and Google are pushing forward with plans Omate seems to be the company to set the standards high.  The fact that the TrueSmart will be water resistant is a huge factor in the game.  Even the Nike Fit Band cannot track swimming laps because it is not waterproof.  But I think the most impressive thing about the TrueSmart is its capabilities to standalone and omit Bluetooth capabilities.

The retail price for the device is looking to be $299 and will hopefully be out in October for customers.  I wonder if it will be all the rage like Google Glass considering it is much less invasive and a multifunctional wearable technology.  And with a price like $299, I am going to put my order in now.

Omate TrueSmart Kickstarter

Turn your tablet or smartphone into a holographic projector

While it’s not totally a hologram, this new kickstarter project—HOLHO—brings us one step closer to holograms with its projector. Essentially the new device comes in different shapes and sizes (i.e. a small-pyramid that sits above one’s tablet, or even four-sided pyramid etc.) at a starting price of $47.


The way in which the device works is that it is first placed on the top or bottom of a phone or tablet, and then using the Holho app it takes videos and divides them in such a way that works with the pyramid devices to show different visualizations.

Why I am Curious:
I am always curious about devices/solutions that test the limits of our realities. While this is still in its early stages, and may later be seen as bulky, I am interested to see how real holograms will eventually be integrated into our daily lives. Will holograms eventually replace augmented reality? Will they replace things like skype or face time etc.

A Great Big World Leverages Fan Relationships To Create Newest Video

I’m loving this new music video ‘This is the New Year’ by A Great Big World. It’s a video created from all their fan tweets. It does an amazing job of repurposing social visual content to connect with fans. This band recognizes and rewards their fans by pulling fans’ lyric tweets into the video. It used to be that you recorded an album, released a track, took it radio and prayed that it got played and picked up and became a hit. Not anymore. This band was unsigned when they were featured on Glee this season and featured on the Golf Channel. Their audience is growing with them in large part because of their forward-thinking approach to getting fans excited about their music through social media.

They’re making 30 Videos in 30 Days – with a new performance video every Friday speaking to their fans. Their social media presence isn’t huge across TumblrTwitterFacebookSoundcloudYouTube, etc. but they are building and also had a successful Kickstarter last year. They’re headed on tour with another social media music up and comer this spring – Julia Nunes.

Why I’m Curious
I believe fan engagement – for brands, music, anything with a heartbeat – is ever-evolving. It’s disruptive to have a band become a big deal without a big label and the machine behind them. What can that mean for other forms of entertainment or new brands across industries? What is already happening in other spaces that brands should pay attention to. What comes next?

Portable Speaker Lets You Listen to Emojis

An emoji is worth a thousand words and now sounds, too!

Telesound, a portable speaker, allows emoji fans to send more than 1,000 audio emojis from a smartphone or tablet.  The “portable sound’ messenger connects via Bluetooth and uses a free iPhone or Android app to send emojis.

How it works: Each emoji is linked to a corresponding sound. Once sent, it automatically plays on your friend’s TeleSound. If he or she doesn’t want to hear a sound, the user can turn the device over to go offline. The TeleSound is available on Kickstarter for $34.

Why I’m Curious:

This device is indicative of a trend in which people are bringing traditionally mobile, digital and social things into “real-life” and underscores how people are always looking to get more out of their smartphones.  It’s also interesting to observe how the emoticon has evolved from 😉 to a primary communication tool.




Dodge Dart Registry

Kickstart your new car with Dodge Dart’s newly launched crowdfunding platform – Dodge Dart Registry.

The campaign launches with a TV spot detailing the pitch…

Build your car, set your funding amount, share your story…and hope for the best.

Why I’m Curious?

Crowdfunding is a trend we’ve been observing for a while (with Kickstarter of course being its most well-known outgrowth), but this is the first time I can recall ever having seen a brand take the idea and run with it.

From a perceptual standpoint, it’s cool…the website is well put together, seems to function pretty seamlessly, and reinforces all of the branding elements that the TV spots have been drilling into us for the past several months.

That aside…do we see this actually working? Outside of family and perhaps close friends, who cares enough about a stranger’s car predicament to buy him leather upholstery? The great thing about Kickstarter is that it makes use of the web’s expansive reach to connect people to projects/ideas they care about or want to be a part of. Here the idea (i.e. Stranger X’s new car) has become far too limited and uninteresting to appeal to anyone outside of a close network of friends/family…And you don’t even get prizes for donating! Granted the TV ad acknowledges two examples of the types of donations one might receive (birthday gift from Dad, graduation gift from Grandma), but it seems to negate the whole crowdfunding premise if donations are going to come solely from those you know.

Ultimately, it would seem that the success of the campaign will rely on whether or not the perceptual benefits gained will be enough to spur people to buy more Darts.

On another note, I wonder how this campaign might’ve fared if Dodge had, in a more behind-the-scenes manner, arranged to fund people’s Kickstarter projects for Darts.

Dress Shirt Adapts to Body Temp


No one likes the look of sweat stains, and with 2012 temperatures much higher than average, people are not only sweating on their way to work, but also freezing once in the office from the drastic changes in temperatures. Four former MIT athletes related to this cycle, and came up with a solution, the Apollo dress shirt.

From PSFK,

Using the same technology used by NASA in space suits, the Apollo dress shirt uses phase-change materials to pull moisture and heat away from the wearer’s body when it’s warm, meaning no more embarrassing sweat stains. The shirt then stores the captured heat and releases it back to the wearer when the temperature cools down- perfect for someone moving from the outdoors on a hot summer day to an overly air conditioned office.

The Future of Business Wear

Why I’m Curious

As I was sitting in the office freezing, but knowing once I hit 10th Ave, I’ll most likely be sweating (and potentially cursing), I’m interested to see if this will actually take off. There are currently over 1,000 backers and over $230k on Kickstarter, so it’s not off to a bad start.

Work out gear ranging from Nike to Gap Body to LuluLemon utilize fabrics for sweating, but it hasn’t crossed the line into the office. The technology of the shirt is innovative, but I’m unsure how retailers will respond to it.

Are Independent Game Developers the New Counter-Culture?

Independent game developer company Double Fine recently rocked the gaming landscape by raising over $3.3 million for the production and distribution of a game that promises to return fans to the classic point-and-click adventure genre.

This effort was led by gaming legend Tim Schafer, who is known by fans for creating such classic games as Day of the Tentacle and Secret of Monkey Island. The campaign originally requested $400,000 but blew through that goal in under twelve hours. When all was said and done, this is the highest grossing Kickstarter campaign to date, not just in monetary value, but also in the number of backers. In fact, the campaign garnered so much attention that Schafer and Double Fine created a Ustream of the venture’s progress to keep the Kickstarter page from crashing as users refreshed toward the closing bell.

Why I’m Curious

This is at the intersection of two very interesting movements currently underway. One, this is perhaps the finest example of crowd-sourced funding the web has seen to date. However, it’s interesting to note that it’s not for philanthropy or politics or business. It’s for pure creativity. Which leads us to the second point of the intersection, which is that something is happening in the gaming community. Not so quietly, independent studios and even lone developers are creating games that are taking a completely different tack than your blockbuster, shoot ’em up, big budget releases. Similar to the movie industry, smaller, independent thinkers are pushing the boundaries of the genre and creating experiences that are unlike anything else.

The new documentary film, Us and the Game Industry, produced by New Zealand filmmaker Stephanie Beth, explores this movement toward a more reflective, creative and personal approach to gaming. Beth saw in the indie sector something very similar to the creative counter-culture in the 1960s. In her words:

“I wanted another big project for myself, I wanted to spend my sixties productively,” she tells me via a Skype connection from her home in Christchurch, New Zealand. “I wanted to make a film that touched some of the grand themes. I do think there’s a wonderfully rich and soulful layer to game production. I wanted to be part of telling that story with a documentary that has a life outside of the games industry hype. I could see that indie developers were slowing down to more reflective work in the face of this huge mainstream assault. I saw that as my point of entry.” via PSFK

Beth posits that games are much more than throwaway entertainment – they have the opportunity to be about personal journeys, creative or otherwise. The fact that Double Fine was so well supported by an early-adopting and arguably tech-savvy community on Kickstarter supports the notion that there’s a real desire for this next frontier in digital gaming experiences.

+Pool: A Floating Pool in the River, Funded by Kickstarter

– Kate

+Pool, a proposal to build a floating pool in the hudson river, is the latest genius, “why didn’t I think of that,” idea to find support through Kickstarter.

Check out the video to learn all about it.

The plan for the pool, which is designed in the shape of a cross and connected to the mainland via a walkway, is that it will filter water directly from the river in order to make it safe for swimming. As per the website, “the project was launched with the ambition to improve the use of the city’s natural resources by providing a clean and safe way for the public to swim in New York’s water.”

In just 6 days, they went beyond their goal of $25,000 to fund the initial testing stage of the primary filtration layer, the most crucial layer of the filtration assembly. If they can reach their eventual goal of $100,000, the creators, a group of NY-based designers/architects, will be able to complete all stages of testing to ensure the project’s viability.

Why I’m Curious

Despite (or perhaps inspite of) the relentlessness of digital innovation, this idea is particularly inspiring since it reminds me that opportunities for innovation can be found anywhere and everywhere. By seeing the potential in a dirty river that not even your dog should swim in, these guys may turn unused “white space” into a highly functional and lifestyle-enhancing experience. Fingers crossed!  More about it at their website: