Smart Bra

Ladies, ditch the Fitbit and Apple Watch for this stylish, techy bra. Guys, feel free to do that too.

The OMbra is a smart bra that can measure a woman’s biometrics – heart rate, breathing rate, calories burned, and other metrics. The data is recorded is recorded through a sensor located in the lower band of the bra that runs along the rib cage. That data is then wirelessly transferred to the OmSignal mobile app. That app has a feature called OmRun that measures distance, pace, breathing rhythm, and fatigue levels during cardio workouts. The bra is available for $150.

Microsoft’s Grocery-List Helper

Microsoft and Liebherr are making an internet-connected, smart refrigerator device that reminds people what they need at the market.

The device will be able to recognize milk cartons, ketchup bottles, and other foods and drinks inside the fridge.

It will also keep an inventory list that can be accessed through an app.

Toasteroid

An app-controlled smart toaster

 

When was the last time you were excited to eat breakfast?

Unless you usually change what you eat for breakfast, your breakfasts are most likely boring.

Well, here’s something that’ll make breakfast fun to eat again: Toasteroid – a smart toaster that’s connected to an app.

screen-shot-2016-08-08-at-4-48-16-pm-1139x697.png

You can design your toast to have the weather forecast, messages, emojis, and other images. The images can either be chosen from their collection of templates or doodled on a drawing board.

You can also adjust to your prefered toast darkness.

57333e528b6db4a98a9471408d296577_original.png

Toasteroid has a pretty stylish design. In fact, it doesn’t even look like a toaster.

Whether or not you have smart devices or stainless steel stuff in your kitchen, Toasteroid can add some flair to your kitchen.

ceab6fde1cc1112237113910f568877d_original.png

2273d31f9178161463f5b32cbd0d8c4e_original.png

The Toasteroid team is hoping to sell the toaster for $85. They compared the price tag of the Toasteroid to the price tag of other toasters, hoping to convince people that their price is reasonable.

However, just a quick search on Google helped me find similar and cheaper toasters. So, if you really think the Toasteroid is worth buying, go for it!

 

 


 

Here’s the official website for Toasteroid.

Here’s the Kickstarter page for Toasteroid.

Dear Mr. President,…

In addition to accepting letters via postal mail, people can now send messages to the administration via Facebook Messenger.

In addition to accepting letters via postal mail, people can now send messages to the administration via Facebook Messenger.

messenger-bot-white-house.jpg

When Facebook users click on the “Message” button in the White House’s Facebook page, they will be greeted by a chatbot. After users are finished with writing their message, the chatbot will ask them for their contact information – mailing address, e-mail, and phone number – to minimize spam and threatening messages.

The government has always recognized how citizens play an increasingly large role in communicating messages about public issues and campaigns. According to Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman, President Obama reads 10 messages from citizens every night. He also says that U.S. presidents have been reading messages from the public ever since Thomas Jefferson started doing that.

PHO-10Mar26-214101.jpg
Someone named Jennifer holding a signed message from President Obama

To stay connected with citizens, the government has always strived to keep up with the changing technology. For instance, the White House began to accept phone calls in the 1880’s and online messages on their website in 1994. What makes Obama’s administration unique is that they dramatically improved their social media communication with the public. With the success of barackobama.com and the administration’s presence on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook, President Obama is revered as the first president to have effectively used the Internet for successful politcal outcomes.

Although President Obama’s term is nearing its end, he continues to raise the bar for communications between the government and the public. Hopefully, after he leaves the office, future presidents will go leaps and bounds to better listen and respond to the public.

Too Many Messenger Apps, Google!

Creating more messenger apps instead of enhancing the features of one messenger app won’t help the tech giant succeed in the competition.

All we need is one messenger app, Google. And we certainly don’t want to download too many apps on our cellphones.

On top of Messenger and Hangouts, Google introduced two new messenger apps: Allo and Duo, both of which support text messaging and video calls. The only feature that makes Allo and Duo unique from Messenger and Hangouts is their smart bot.

Google defended their stance on developing multiple messenger apps by saying that consumers use apps for different purposes. For instance, users may choose between Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Duo depending on which group of people they want to talk to and their preferred way of social interaction.

Google may have a point, but if you look at the Facebook Messenger and Skype apps, they offer video-calling, phone, texting, and picture-sharing features.

Nowadays when people love multi-purpose technology, Google’s single-purpose apps won’t compete effectively against other messaging apps. Eventually, at least one (if not all four) of Google’s messenger apps will be discontinued.

For now, it would be wise for Google to focus on promoting and enhancing the features of their original messenger app, Hangouts. That app is notably one of Google’s not-so-popular apps, since it isn’t mobile-friendly, is laggy, and isn’t well-associated with Google+.

 


 

Citation

Jessica Dolcourt. “Allo, Duo, Google Messenger, Hangouts. Google Has Three ‘messenger’ Apps Too Many.” CNET. CNET, 22 May 2016. Web. 29 May 2016. <http://www.cnet.com/news/allo-duo-google-messenger-hangouts-google-has-three-messenger-apps-too-many/&gt;.

Does It Matter If Google’s Messaging App Is “Smart”?

Google’s new messaging app, “Allo”, has a smartbot that “makes messaging easier, more efficient, and more expressive” (Google Research Blog). But does that even matter?

Google’s new messaging app, Allo, has a unique feature called “Photo Reply” that uses machine learning to understand what a shared photo depicts and suggests comments for users to reply back with (Google Research Blog).

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.50.07 PM.png

“Photo Reply” is the only feature that distinguishes the app from other messaging apps, and it only saves users the hassle of typing.

For the most part, Allo‘s interface resembles other messenger apps (especially Facebook’s Messenger,), making the app’s smart feature seem less recognizable.

allosmart-replygoogle.png

So if Google just wanted to add one new messaging feature, wouldn’t it be better for them to integrate this feature across various platforms instead of limiting it to one app?

For instance, this feature would prove to be a great addition to social media platforms that already have a large network of users that share photos.

In particular, integrating “Photo Reply” into Facebook’s comments section and Messenger will give users the opportunity to either choose from sending user-generated text, smartly-generated text, or graphical (GIFS, stickers, emojis, etc.) replies to photos.

 


 

Citation

“Aw, so Cute!”: Allo Helps You Respond to Shared Photos.” Google Research Blog. Google, 18 May 2016. Web. 29 May 2016. <http://googleresearch.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/aw-so-cute-allo-helps-you-respond-to.html&gt;.

BandPage: The New Myspace

A new platform application seeks to accomplish what Myspace once did: to connect musicians to their fans while marketing their music.

Compared to how musicians promoted themselves during the pre-internet years, today’s musicians can easily find and create more opportunities for self-promotion with tremendous help from social networking sites and with the recent addition of a new platform application called BandPage.

BandPage is similar to Myspace in that it allows musicians to create an account for them to manage their music, bio, tour dates, photos, bio, and videos (TechCrunch). But rather than just updating profiles within the website, it connects to and simultaneously updates musicians’ entire online presence.

“BandPage is dedicated to helping musicians build their careers by growing their fan bases and increasing their revenue on the largest digital music services in the world. By joining forces with the team at YouTube, we can help artists reach their fans in more powerful ways than ever before.”

-BandPage

From 2005 to 2008, Myspace was not only the largest social networking site in the world (Cashmore), but it was a significant influence on pop culture and music. Since then, the number of Myspace users has declined despite the website’s redesigns.

Myspace_Logotype_Black

-Myspace’s current logo design

BandPage also experienced a decline in its popularity when Facebook shut down their Page apps, causing their app (which allowed musicians to create a Music tab on their Facebook page) to lose about 90% of its traffic within three months (TechCrunch).

When Facebook banned Page landing tabs in 2012, BandPage lost 90% of its traffic

-BandPage’s former Facebook Page app went from 32 million monthly users to just a few million monthly users

If Myspace wishes to remain faithful to only promoting content within their site, then BandPage’s desire to be versatile across social networks will make the app claim Myspace’s former title as one of the largest sites in the world.

The convergence of musicians’ social networking accounts through this single platform will not only make musicians’ online presence more visible, but it will also achieve everything that Myspace once did and more: encourage fans to be more active and passive; equalize activity across multiple social networking sites for both users and musicians; and help the music industry sell more tickets, products, and services.

Learn more about BandPage on their website.


Citation

“BandPage Has Been Acquired! We’re Joining YouTube!” The BandPage Blog. BandPage, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. <http://blog.bandpage.com/2016/02/12/youtube-bandpage-2016-2-12/&gt;.

Cashmore, Pete. “MySpace, America’s Number One.” Mashable. Mashable, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. <http://mashable.com/2006/07/11/myspace-americas-number-one/#a7mRsopiPgqV&gt;.

Constine, Josh. “YouTube Acquires BandPage For $8M To Attract Musicians With Money-Making Tools.” TechCrunch. TechCrunch, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. <http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/12/youtube-acquires-bandpage/&gt;.