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Stay Connected

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Even on the best, remote desert island away from it all, one thing that we don’t want to escape from is staying connected with loved ones. We do, however, enjoy escaping from our phones and computers as go-to methods of communication. A lovely new project addresses these issues, helping people not in proximity speak with one another in a new, wonderful way. The Good Night Lamp is a wi-fi enabled light which, when turned on or off, communicates with its pair (wherever that may be), by turning it on or off as well. Shaped like a house, the gesture of the small lamp illuminating or going dim can tell loved ones across the country or across the city that you are going to bed, stopping work and heading home, or just saying hello. The Kickstarter campaign to get it going ends soon!

Pinterest Palette

Many of us gaze at Pinterest as a source of inspiration, especially for home and interior design. A new project taps into the site’s ability to show trends, charting the color choice preferences in rooms of Turkish users. The results are displayed in simple, clean color pie charts over each grey room, revealing the popularity of canary yellow in living rooms, and off-white in bedrooms. While the project solely focused on the preferences in Turkish homes, it belies a new, interesting way that Pinterest can be utilized in the future – with a great snapshot of collections of visual trends.

Old is New

For those of us who still have boxes full of film rolls and negatives, you now have the chance to rediscover captured memories.  The folks at Lomography recently greatly surpassed their Kickstarter goal on a genius little Smartphone Film Scanner – an amazingly simple way to scan film negatives using your smartphone. Once scanned and digitized, users can then edit, share, create stitched panoramas, and produce animated movies via the Lomo app.

Put a Fork in it

For those looking for a little extra help to lose weight, we’ve seen plates created to control portion size. Now there’s more active encouragement – right as you take a bite. The Hapifork is a smart utensil, with built-in sensors which detect your eating pace, amount of servings per minute, and how long it took you to finish your meal. If you eat too quickly, the fork sends off little alarms – vibrating and lighting up, to remind you to slow down. When finished, users connect the fork via USB or bluetooth to an online system that tracks eating habits, helping them change their behaviors bite by bite.

Wooded Walls

Drab and dull designs in hospitals don’t help much to ease pain for patients – especially when the patients are kids. In an effort to improve children’s experience in the already-scary situation of surgery, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London contracted lighting designer Jason Bruges Studio to create an installation in a corridor to anesthesia rooms. The result is a fanciful digital forest made up of embedded LED panels, in which animals frolic through trees in response to people walking by. The interactive display, including deer, horses, frogs, hedgehogs and more, has been such a great success that the hospital plans to extend it along remaining walls by 2017.

Buyers Market

New online companies are serving as a virtual conduit between farmers and consumers, to the benefit of all parties. Farmigo recently opened up to New York and San Francisco markets, offering consumers the ability to go online and place orders for farm-fresh goods, to be picked up on a designated day at a nearby participating food community spot. And Good Eggs, currently operating out of the San Francisco area, works similarly – farmers and small-batch producers of local foods are featured online, where consumers can order and time pick-ups. Farmers get 80 cents on their dollar, compared with 20 cents wholesale, and customers get only the food they want.

Building Memory

Cramming all night before a test, and most old forms of studying may soon go by the wayside with new programs like Cerego. Its a new educational online tool, built on the premise that we can’t simultaneously learn loads of new information (studying Japanese, art history, and biology all at once), while keeping track of what we’re actually retaining and maintaining it. Cerego runs courses online, and based on learning algorithms, predicts when you need a refresher on a topic – thereby helping you keep and actually learn the information. Might be a great way to learn a new language – this video helps explain it all.

Energy in Leaves

If you watched leaves wilt on a virtual tree the more energy used, would you change your habits? A new OS concept for a connected home would do just that, in hopes of altering consumption. Artefact’s “Serenity” presents information about your home energy use in clear, beautiful, understandable infographics, all on a tablet. In the future, with the concept, users will see the music playing in any room, appliance energy usage, and more. The concept overall is driving to build a better emotional connection to the home.

Looking for Art

Wandering aimlessly around a museum can be wonderful in itself, but knowing which way to head when you want to see the Egyptian tombs at the Met is another thing. Luckily, Google Maps are going indoors – starting with the floorplans of some of the biggest and most cavernous institutions. The Smithsonian museums and the Hirshhorn in DC are in the works, as is the Art Institute of Chicago and the British Museum.

(Image of Doug Aitken @ the Hirshhorn)

More than a Tweet

The twitterverse is becoming ripe for creative bargaining – we’ve written about tweets being used to compose songs, raising money for an orchestra. Tweets get musical again – and this time, fast and attentive Blu Dot fans win a chair. The furniture company has devised a twitter version of musical chairs, recruiting New York band Doppio to provide the tunes for the classic game. When the music stops, a phrase appears, and the fastest  tweeter wins one of 100 chairs.

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