5 Cool New Gadgets: Facebook Baby Selfies, Bionic Bird, Ducati Airbag
Ducati wants to make motorcyclists safer, a designer is tired of seeing baby pictures in her Facebook feed, and a man wants help recreating the wind-up bird. These stories and more are on the list of interesting gadgets and innovations talked about this week. Read on to find out more.
1. Selfie toys for your baby
Is your Facebook feed filling up with pictures of babies? Laura Cornet, graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, found her News Feed inundated with baby pictures from friends and friends of friends. She was discouraged by the thought of someone’s life being shared among strangers without their permission. This led Cornet to design the New Born Fame project to start a discussion.
“I thought it was weird to be involved in the life of someone, who doesn’t even know that I have seen everything in his life already,” said Cornet in an interview with Dezeen. “And the baby couldn’t make a choice to maybe not show me.”
She created a mobile toy and set of shoes that would allow babies to “put themselves online.” If the child reaches up to touch one of the soft toys on the mobile, a camera will record a video and upload it to Facebook. Other mobile toys share things like GPS, photos on Twitter, or a random status update depending on what the child touches or squeezes. There’s even a pair of shoes that acts as an activity tracker.
“I’ve positioned it really as a statement to show to those parents who put everything online that the problem isn’t privacy anymore, it is much broader,” she said to Dezeen. “It raises the question: ‘who owns the right to put a baby on the internet like that?’. I question if the mother or father in this case actually should be the ones to decide.
“If you show it like this, people say: ‘the baby doesn’t know what he’s doing, it is awful that it just puts everything online’. But when a mother does the same thing, it is suddenly accepted; while the baby has no say in that.”
2. Bionic Bird
Edwin Van Ruymbeke wants to reinvent the wind-up, rubber-band bird for the future. His Bionic Bird flaps and glides much like the real thing.
The toy utilizes your smartphone’s internal accelerometer to control the direction you want the Bionic Bird to fly. It pairs to your iOS device via Bluetooth 4.0, and so has a limit of 100 meters before the connection is liable to cut out. Android and Windows Phone compatibility are being developed for release and are due out in early 2015 and summer 2015.
Van Ruymbeke is hoping for a commercial release of the Bionic Bird as early as March 2015 — however, his team needs help funding the project. At the time of writing, the Bionic Bird has raised 354% of its goal. Step on over to IndieGoGo, where the campaign is still going on if you’re interested in investing and securing a Bionic Bird for yourself.
3. Jawbone MOVE and UP3
Jawbone has announced its plans to release two new fitness trackers: the UP3 and MOVE. The latter of which will be the company’s cheapest fitness band to date, with a $50 price tag.
Venture Beat’s Mark Sullivan writes that the MOVE could be a response to the dropping prices seen across the wearable market. It does all the basics, like sleep and activity tracking. Plus, it features a coin-cell battery that lasts up to six months. But in order for Jawbone to compete, it’s going to have to follow the industry standard, which is becoming more and more about heart rate monitors. Fitbit and Microsoft’s announcements included fitness bands with a heart rate monitor.
The UP3 has heart rate tracking and promises more in-depth metrics beyond the usual sleep and movement. As for its design, it features a one-size-fits-all clasp and is made of hypoallergenic rubber. However, there are versions with straps finished in fabric and denim. The estimated battery life is similar to past UP models, lasting four to seven days. The UP3 is slated to launch later in the year at $180.
4. Self-healing maps
You’re at a crossroads and you can go either right or left, but your GPS is telling you to go straight.
Nokia’s HERE team is working to develop a self-healing map system for autonomous cars. It’s a tough problem that needs to be solved before self-driving cars are anywhere near ready to transport people. It’s an ambitious project, considering road construction is an ever-evolving project, and something as simple as a new stoplight or a temporary detour could easily stump the smartest car.
Sensors to watch out for pedestrian traffic are not the major concern for self-driving cars — it’s their reliance on pre-configured maps and the hope that they won’t change.
The HERE team thinks they’re on to a solution. “As the number of autonomous cars increases, the sensors on the cars build a view of what they see while driving, which we could cross reference with the HD map,” HERE’s Christopher Lawton explained to SlashGear. “When the two don’t match, the car would send us a signal.”
It will crowdsource GPS data to know where there are traffic jams and congestion. It would only be where “there isn’t enough sensor data on a particular road to see what’s going on, would we dispatch our HERE fleet to remap the stretch,” he said.
5. Ducati inflatable jacket
When riding a motorcycle, you’re completely exposed. Of course, you can protect yourself by wearing proper head and body gear to help lessen the blow in case of an accident, but there’s no cage to absorb the impact.
Ducati knows motorcycles and has expanded its reach into safety. The D|air street jacket/vest inflates in 25ms — it takes you 400ms to blink — when it recognizes “signs of a crash on the road.” However, one can imagine the jacket could cause a crash of its own if its sensors are wrong.