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It’s a morning ritual: The alarm goes off, we groggily open our eyes, and promptly forget everything that passed through our brains during the night. It’s estimated that we forget 95 percent of our dreams within five minutes of waking up, meaning we lose the bulk of the the weird and potentially insightful stuff we think about while asleep. There are ways to abate that, but none are ideal. Dream journals are high-maintenance and just a little too new age, and the apps available leave much to be desired from an interaction and design standpoint. But Shadow, a new app recently launched on Kickstarter for funding, could be a convenient and beautifully designed solution to the problem of forgetting our dreams.
Created by designers Hunter Lee Soik and Jason Carvalho, Shadow is an app that makes recording and remembering your dreams extremely simple. On its most basic level, Shadow is an alarm clock/digital dream journal, but the designers ultimately hope to create the largest dream database in the world. Users set the clock before they go to sleep at night, and in the morning, gradually escalating volume and vibration gently rouses you awake. Most of the time, alarm clocks abruptly blast through your consciousness, ripping you from the depths of sleep. In contrast, Shadow’s alarm system gradually transitions users through their hypnopompic state, that not-quite-asleep, not-quite-awake phase, which has be proven to help you better remember your dreams.
In an age when data is our most abundant resource, wearable technology offers new opportunities to interact with the urban landscape. frogs across the globe created eight concepts exploring the potential of wearable technology to create a more resilient and responsive urban experience by transforming the raw data of our daily lives.
Mnemo is an interactive friendship bracelet that enables you to record, relive, and share a memory reel of all your friends’ pictures, songs, and locations from a single event. Mnemo bracelets are collectible and customizeable. When two or more are linked together, common moments are combined to create collective memories of shared experiences.
Check out more design from FrogDesign Wearable Technology contest here.
08 Jan / GRID. The spreadsheet for the iPad
Popular wisdom has it that tablets are great for consuming content but aren’t that useful for creating it. Don’t tell that to Josh Leong, though. His Y Combinator-backed startup, Grid, is based around the idea that a tablet should be a great place for spreadsheets. Indeed, as Leong told me earlier this week, his idea is to reinvent the spreadsheet around touch, all the tools and sensors available on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, and the way normal people (as opposed to Excel power users) actually use them.
The fact that Leong, Grid’s CEO and designer, is interested in spreadsheets and knows a lot about how people use them is no coincidence. He was the designer of Microsoft’s upcoming Excel 2013, after all. Most people, Leong told me, use spreadsheets like Excel for just about everything, whether that’s to keep track of their investment accounts or their wedding plans. The tools in Excel are built around power users, however, who write their own VBA scripts and juggle massive spreadsheets. The fact that people can do all of these different things using the same tool, Leong said, is a testament to the flexibility of the original idea of the spreadsheet.
Once you get to a mobile device, spreadsheets can be about a lot more than just numbers. By using a mobile device, after all, you now have access to location data, can add photos and movies and access contacts from your phone (or Facebook) with just a few clicks. This allows you, as the company puts it, “to organize and work with them in a whole new intuitive way.” By giving Grid local access to your contacts, for example, you can add so-called “people tiles” to your spreadsheets (useful when you’re using it to organize your wedding party, for example) and using its location feature allows you to quickly add an annotated map to your spreadsheets. Grid also allows you to draw sketches and put them into a cell. In addition, you can also invite others to work on a project with you in real time.
One feature that’s still missing, though, is actually running spreadsheet-style calculations on your numbers in Grid. The Grid team promises that this feature is coming in one of the next versions.
One feature that really stands out here is Grid’s Maestro input system (“simply the best way to put things into the Grid”). Just touch a square and swipe left to bring up Grid’s input options and right to bring up more advanced options. While Microsoft is moving toward radial menus for its new Office apps, Leong believes that using his system based on swipe gestures makes you feel more connected with your data and is a more natural way to interact with the app. This system also scales very well and, for example, allows you to select multiple cells at the same time.
We’re playing Spaceteam, a new iOS game by Henry Smith, who recently left Bioware to create indie games. Spaceteam is his first release, and its premise is borderline genius. You know how you’ve watched shows like Star Trek and all the characters on the bridge shout techno mumbo jumbo while punching fake displays? Spaceteam takes that scenario and, through a fantastic UI/mechanic, puts you right in the captain’s chair of nonsense.
Each player (up to four) has a control pad–a series of levers, switches, dials, and buttons. Different commands appear simultaneously on each player’s screen, and generally, these commands are for the other person. So I shout at my partner to adjust teleroboto settings while he’s purely concerned with me closing that omegapipe. Because if we’re both not fast enough, our controls take damage, begin falling apart, and will eventually explode along with our ship.
So how is this possibly fun, you’re wondering. Well, it’s downright hilarious to babble five-syllable nonsense in a life or death situation. “I had loads of fun just coming up with random technobabble, so I figured that was a good sign,” Smith tells me. “And I could tell from the first prototype (which only took a couple of weeks to build) that the basic concept worked.”
It just takes such a ridiculous amount of concentration to speak so much silliness while looking for the right switch to save the day–a switch that might be dangling from your console after hitting an asteroid–and so you’re laughing at yourself the entire time.
Companies from Google to Comcast to Electric Imp are trying to connect home devices and appliances to the web, but the internet of things remains more of a complicated, distant dream than a reality. Spark Devices wants to start off simple, with one of the most used items in your house — the light bulb.
Spark Devices launched on Kickstarter with a working prototype of what it calls the Spark Socket. All a user needs to do to get their lights on the web is screw a regular light bulb into the Spark Socket and screw that into a regular light fixture. They can then control their lighting — on, off, and dimming — through an iOS or Android app, which opens up entirely new avenues for home lighting. Users can schedule their lights when they’re away, set them to slowly turn on in the morning, and even set them to flash when someone calls their phone.
“[The Spark Socket] was inspired by my dad, who’s deaf and uses lights for notification,” Founder Zach Supalla told Wired. “At first I wanted to solve a specific problem he has. Now that he uses a cellphone for text messaging, he’s very difficult to get a hold of when he’s at home and takes his phone out of his pocket. However, once I started working on it I realized that there was a lot of potential for broader uses by providing an open API.”
Backers can pre-order Spark Sockets for $60 apiece, and the company is trying to reach $250,000 on Kickstarter.
Before Instagram, we had no simple way to share photos from our phones. And by this logic, is there a simple, addictive solution to sharing video from our phones that no one has yet imagined?
Cloudee is an iPhone app with a simple, primary object: to help you actually share those video clips you take with your device rather than let them sit and waste away in your camera roll. It does this by letting you quickly upload any video on your iPhone to the cloud and share it in a few clicks. It’s really easy to use, and you can check out the beta at the LFW Shop.
The iPhone makes it easier than ever to capture videos, but in most cases these videos just sit on your phone until you run out of space.. Your videos deserve better. Cloudee gives you unlimited storage for all of those memories where you’ll never have to worry about running out of space or losing them.
How Cloudee Works:
You get your videos onto Cloudee in one of two ways: you take a new one with the app and upload it or you choose an existing video to upload. Uploading existing videos with other video apps I’ve used has always been a bit tedious, but Cloudee’s taken measures to avoid that. You simply tap the up arrow in a list of videos, add a name, and add it to a collection. Once you do this it’ll start to upload in the background and you can continue queuing up more videos. I was able to go through my entire collection of long lost iPhone videos and set the ones I wanted to upload in about 20 minutes. It was really nice to be able to breeze through what is, generally, a pretty annoying process.
Cloudee essentially provides you with an online video stream, much like Instagram does for photos, but with a little more organization. When you upload a video you create collections that are viewable by other users of the iPhone app or on the web. You can also set collections to be private if you don’t want to share them with anybody. Collections are just a simple stream of videos with likes and comments from others who have viewed them. Everything is easily viewable and organized by date. You can email the URL to anybody (including yourself) so they can view, or you can share it directly to Facebook and/or Twitter directly from the app.
Cloudee also helps you keep track of what your friends are doing. You can add other Cloudee users as friends and you’ll be able to browse their videos directly on your phone in the Friends section. Additionally, you can go over to the Activity section to see what everyone in your friends list has posted, whether it’s a new video or collection they’ve shared with you or a comment or like on something you uploaded. If you want to watch any of these videos later, when you don’t have internet access, you can download them to your suitcase for offline viewing.
Japanese startup company L Is B has developed a Twitter client that is able to turn your tweets into cute Japanese comics.
“Feel on!” is a Twitter Client App that analyzes your tweet, and emphasizes your feelings. It is a fun and intuitive application program that allows you to feel the “Warm” in words, which can not be felt by only using text. Moreover, you can chose the most suitable illustration to your feeling. Enjoy Twitter more by using “Feel on!” which makes “Tweets” “Communication”.
Feel On uses a a technology called ”Social Emotion Engine(SEE)”, that analyzes your tweets automatically. SEE clasifies your tweets into “Love”,”Pleasure”,”Interest”,”Expectation”,”Sorrow”,”Surprise”,”Angry”, and “Others”, displaying different colors and illustrations that the user can add to his tweet. Once you have added a color and illustration to your comic, it will appear on your Twitter feed as a picture.
The Japanese version of Feel On! is currently available, while the English version will be released in June, at the LFW Shop.
Ray Ban Bright Light is a funny mobile app that will help you finding the sunny spots in your city, the places where you can enjoy the sun without the visual noise of the buildings. No more shade on your way! This app helps people to get the most out of the sun and their sunglasses, since the app is sponsored by Ray-Ban.
The invention of Evarickardmichal, three students at Berg School of Communication in Stockholm, who imagined the app increasing sociality amongst fans of the sunglasses giant. Using the building height and the sun’s path, Bright Light calculates where the sun will be shining at certain times during the day. The trio developed an algorithm that takes GPS and GIS data and identifies the sunniest nearby locations based on building height, season, and sun path. Users choose a destination according to nearby amenities and public spaces, and a Google map leads them to their chosen spot.
Bright Light is a nice little study in brand engagement, it’s also totally theoretical, being a student project and all, but it’s a perfect example of great brands and mobile apps.
- Graphic Design
- Industrial Design