Reddit is a powerhouse of information, and even though it saw more than 114 million unique visitors from 190 different countries grace the site, it still has a relatively small, but committed team. Reuters recently got a chance to visit their San Francisco office, and snapped some pictures of the surprisingly low-key offices that the original redditors call home.
While the company also has a co-working space based in New York, the office in San Francisco is the main hub of activity. Much like the site’s no-frills design, the offices are a simple affair that prove the team are more interested in placing value on their work, rather than all the trappings of other high-profile tech companies.
If there is one other theme that runs through the pictures, it’s that the team love their mascot, which you can see make a regular appearance in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
[h/t] Business Insider
Even though bathrooms are breeding grounds for germs and other bacteria, only 1 in 3 people wash their hands after using a public toilet. Add to that that only 5% of people wash their hands well enough to kill germs, and Safeguard‘s new Germ Alarm seems like a great idea. It emits an ear-piercing beep that can only be deactivated by pressing the wall-mounted soap dispenser.
The soap dispenser uses pressure sensors that are connected to cubicle stall doors, which once opened, trigger the germ alarm. Each of the dispensers also has a guide alongside it that teaches people how to wash their hands properly.
First introduced during Global Handwashing Day in October 2013, the Safeguard Germ Alarm has also been installed in public restrooms, and even selected McDonalds branches. A school in the Philippines has also made use of the soap dispenser, with a good chance that others will follow suit.
The video below will give you a chance to see (and hear) the alarm in action. While there are plenty of good bacteria roaming around our bodies, the stuff found in public bathrooms is probably best avoided.
Hugh Herr, an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, has been designing prosthetic legs for more than 20 years, the latest of which is a bionic ankle that outperforms conventional technology in almost every way. The customizable prosthesis not only lowers joint stress and the time it takes to acclimatize, but also restores natural gait, balance, and speed.
Battery-powered “bionic propulsion,” two microprocessors and six environmental sensors work together to adjust ankle stiffness, power, position, and damping thousands of times per second. This system operates at two key points during a person’s stride; once when the heel strikes the ground, controlling the ankle’s stiffness to absorb shock and thrust the tibia forward, and then again when power is needed to propel a wearer up and forward.
Herr, who lost both legs after a climbing accident in the 80s, explains how the difference between a conventional prosthetic, and a bionic one, is like night and day.
“It was as profound as when you’re walking through the airport and you hit the moving walkway. When you get off and return to normal walking, you’re like, ‘Walking is really strenuous and slow,’” he says. “That’s what it was like going from our powered system to passive conventional systems. So I knew there was magic there clinically.”
So far, Herr and his startup BiOM have given more than 900 patients worldwide, including some 400 war veterans, access to the bionic body part. Even though the current design has undergone more than 20 iterations, and been funded by roughly $50 million of venture capital and grants, Herr still has more in store for the world of bionic limbs.
“The bionic design approach is grounded in biological science that seeks to fundamentally understand how our bodies and brains work, and translates that knowledge into technology that reflects those principles, leading to a world where technology, because it is so innately human, essentially vanishes.”
Images: Bryce Vickmark
The zombie apocalypse may or may not be on the horizon, but there is a very real battle against gentrification happening all across the country. Brooklyn based artist Coby Kennedy has traveled the world, and has developed an interesting set of tools he believes will help combat both gentrification, and what ever might accompany the apocalypse.
In a narrative that Kennedy envisions taking place 400 years in the future, invaders have come to Earth, and Brooklyn residents must defend themselves from the attackers with the everyday objects found around them. Using street signs from historically significant Brooklyn neighborhoods, Kennedy has created machetes, shields, and swords that have meaning, and are remarkable works of art.
Kennedy’s futuristic weapons collection is titled ‘In The Service Of A Villain.’ ‘A lot of the street signs are from places in Brooklyn that have history and weight, places that are losing that particular culture,’ he told Metro. He believes the signs reflect the heritage and origins of the people of today, and the future.
After acquiring the signs, Kennedy cuts and sharpens them. Then, he attaches blades and distresses the weapons, so that they look more realistic. Having taught himself to weld by watching YouTube videos, Kennedy is also making a film based on this narrative, where the weapons will double as props.
Though the apocalyptic need for survival isn’t real, Kennedy says his narrative is based off contemporary situations, like the gentrification of his Bushwick neighborhood. He purposefully makes his creations both political and provoking, hoping they inspire people the same way he has been inspired by the reality of what is going on in his community.
The Dalai Lama once said, “The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.”
I partially agree with this statement. What the planet really needs is successful people, CEOs, influencers, entrepreneurs, and those in commerce who are peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.
We need for business to merge with beauty, and commerce to collide with compassion. This is the Power of And™. It is integration, and is necessary for us to live meaningful and fulfilling lives.
Just like some spiritualists and yogis should stop judging those with money, a nice house or who those who choose to fly first class, entrepreneurs and professionals could learn a thing or two from striking a child’s pose, doing their downward dog, or meditating once in a while. Both judgments need to be stored away, perhaps even banished, and in their place we need the adoption of integrated living.
We Can Be Rich in Creature Comforts and Rich in Purpose
The reality is we are living in a capitalistic society where most of us are householders. We have mortgage payments, and children to put through college. We need to make sure we have hot water and that we can put gas in the car. Beyond these modern-day necessities, we also want and desire the finer things. We want creature comforts and it is not wrong of us to do so, but we are not meant to put all of our attention there. We are meant to integrate. We are meant to be seekers And crush it in the business world. We are encouraged to enjoy lives of abundance And be soulful and grounded in purpose.
No longer is it enough to simply be a good parent or a successful executive. No longer should we accept being a soulful and centered person or an abundant professional. Commerce, our communities, and the world require us to be both. Living from this place of And is what makes us modern-day heroes.
We are all Heroes
In our current experience, what defines a hero is a curious thing. Many of us grow up thinking that in order to be great, in order to be considered a hero, we need to become a doctor, a lawyer, a professional athlete, a politician, or some other figure our society considers powerful. The truth is, we can be any of these––or we can be something else. We can be the artist, the musician, the maker of shoes, or the mailman. We can be a web developer, creative director, finance guy, a good parent or loving spouse. Being a hero is not defined by what we do, it is defined by how and why we do it, and whether or not we are living in alignment with our true calling.
Entrepreneurs are modern-day heroes. We build products and services from a call inside that tells us we have to. We answer to our impulses, knowing we simply cannot ignore the inspiration to build products and services that move the needle on the greater good and that will make an impact and serve others.
Steve Jobs was a modern-day hero. He embraced And. He built products that united design And technology. He created personal computers and handheld devices that are not only sleek and beautiful, but that also imbues ease in life through advanced technology.
Similarly, Blake Mycoskie of TOMS® is a modern-day hero. Yes, he operates a successful business that is killing it in the shoe category. Yes, he pays homage to the bottom line. And he provides a service to humanity through his One-for-One movement, where he gifts one pair of shoes to those in need for each pair of shoes purchased.
Certainly these are A-List examples of modern-day heroism, of how executives and entrepreneurs have merged purpose with precision and meaning with financial abundance. But, becoming a hero does not have to look like any one thing. We do not need to become high-power executives, or the Steve Jobs or Richard Bransons of the world. We also do not need to commit ourselves to a meditation pillow; or give up the luxuries of life. There is no need to join a chant circle, believe in a particular god, or move to an ashram. Being a hero simply requires us to be open-minded, to heed our unique calls––whatever they may be, and to embrace the Power of And™.
I am living proof that we can be empathetic and own successful businesses, have a consistent meditation and spiritual practice and kill it in the boardroom, be loving and attentive parents and make a ton of dough. I am an executive, a CEO and a storyteller and healer. You too can be both. You too can be a modern-day hero.
Heed Your Call is available for purchase through Amazon.
DAVID M. HOWITT is the founder & CEO of Meriwether Group. He is an inspiring thought leader and accomplished entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience providing financial, strategic, and brand counsel to early stage and Fortune 100 companies. He has the unique ability to integrate vision and growth strategies with mission and purpose, and has provided guidance to Oregon Chai, Stumptown Coffee, Pendleton, adidas, Voodoo Doughnut, Salomon, yogitoes, Klim, Bloch, Dave’s Killer Bread, ABC Carpet & Home, Living Harvest, and many others.
Imagine a world where thousands of drones cruise the sky, waiting for you to summon them and request assistance. With the help of an app, you could have one come to you and perform a multitude of tasks, including taking a super selfie for you, scouting out and holding a parking place, and providing surveillance as you walk down sketchy streets. Imagine Gofor, a concept startup drone on demand service that one day could be a reality.
Thinking it would be an interesting idea and experiment, graphic artist Alex Cornell designed and pitched a startup drone on demand service, even though current technology wouldn’t allow this kind of service to be possible yet. The service is called Gofor, and though it’s not real, he created a website, promotional video, and entire press kit to accompany it.
Cornell has long been a fan of drones, and has created interesting and complex features for these personal assistant drones. Gofor can go anywhere. It has an object based tracking system, links to social networks, and is capable of audio monitoring. It comes with five pre-programmed tasks, but can also obey your voice commands. It can be used for home security, to scout locations, monitor events, follow your car, and even protect you.
According to Motherboard, Cornell says that since launching the Gofor website, he has been contacted by people at Google and Texas Instruments asking if he needed any help with the project. He is now considering simplifying the technology so that a similar but more achievable version might actually be produced.
Back in the 19th century, Charles Caleb Colton coined the phrase ‘Imitation is the highest form of flattery,’ but he never touched on what is actually gained by the imitator. Presumably, the person being copied achieved something worth knowing. But with Ghost Glasses, you get to avoid misinterpretations and ensure that whatever it is you are trying to learn is being taught by a pro.
Created by Winyu Chinthammit and a group of researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia, Ghost Glasses are a pair of glasses worn by both a teacher and a student, allowing the student to learn a new skill. The glasses contain tiny cameras that track the teacher’s hand movements as they complete a task, then the feed is sent to the student.The student sees the teacher’s movements in a projected image, and can place his hands right on top of his teacher’s, making sure his technique is perfected.
So far, the research team has managed to teach six people to use chopsticks. The average time and general progress was comparable to that of a person learning to use chopsticks on their own, but the team believes the future will allow for increased opportunities, particularly for those in remote areas- who don’t have the proper resources to consult an expert.
Ghost Glasses operates on an augmented reality system called Ghostman. Mark Bolas, an expert in virtual reality, video games and 3D technology, says it is an ‘exciting first step in quantifying the promise of augmented reality.’ To find out more, check out the video below.
Coming back to your bike when it’s been knocked over is the same as getting a nasty ding when you’re away from your car, but Scorpio, who designs and produces motorcycle tracking and alarm solutions, has come up with a solution. Their “Ride” system alerts you when someone is tampering with your bike, and in the event it’s stolen, can even help the police get it back.
Ride consists of a GoPro-sized module that’s fitted inside your bike, and plugs directly into the battery. It relays information to an iOS or Android app that can monitor location, tire pressure, battery charge remaining, and people who are a little bit too hands-on with your bike.
Should someone make off with your prized possession, you can switch on the app’s Emergency Mode. It will generate a pin code that police can use to access the bike’s live location feed, which is accurate to between 10 and 20 feet. If the module is unhooked from the battery, there’s a secret supply of energy that will give the police enough time to track down the bike before it’s gone forever.
The system can also keep track of performance, which includes information such as the top speed on a particular ride, along with distance and time. If you’re the sharing type, you can also upload the data, complete with a map, to Twitter or Facebook. If the journey is a roundtrip, the system can even alert your friends when you’re about to arrive back at your starting destination.
All of this will set you back $219, not including accessories, and you have to take into consideration a $10.95 monthly fee for the data package. When you take into consideration customizations and the total outlay on your bike, it might actually start to sound like a good deal.
Where is the next Howard Stern going to emerge? I don’t think it will be terrestrial or satellite radio. I think its more likely that he or she will emerge from a place like our portfolio company SoundCloud. There is a ton of comedy on SoundCloud and its growing very fast. But discovery has been a problem.
In the most recent Android release, SoundCloud has introduced some very nice discovery features. These features also exist on the web and will be coming to iOS soon. Since the way we most likely want to listen to the next Howard Stern is by bluetoothing our phone to our car when we are driving to and from work, I will show you how to listen to comedy on SoundCloud using the Android app flow. It is very similar on the web.
First, you open up the app menu by tapping on the upper left of the app and get this:
Next you click on Explore to get this:
Then you select Comedy to get this:
Each of these “cards” represents a potential new Howard Stern show. You select one and start listening. If you find one you really like, you can follow in SoundCloud and get the next show right in your feed.
If you are driving to and from work and are looking for something good to listen to, I’d strongly recommend checking out some of these comedy shows on SoundCloud. They are great.
iBeacon technology might be helping retail entities gather more information about their customers, but how could it be put to use outside of that environment?
Fabergé‘s Big Egg Hunt, which will benefit two nonprofits, Studio in a School and Elephant Family, is a fun event brightening up the streets of New York for Easter and an experiment in using iBeacon technology in public non-retail spaces. Over 275 egg sculptures, each about 2.5 feet tall, have been scattered around New York City, and each has been decorated by a well-known artist, photographer or designer: participants include Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, Warby Parker and Naeem Khan.
Each egg is up for sale, and those who ‘check in’ at the egg can bid on it using the egg-hunt app. The location of a specific egg will remain a secret until 10 people have checked in by that egg. After that, the egg’s location will appear on a public interactive map. The intensified bidding that will ensue will benefit the two above-named organizations, which brings arts education to public schools and helps protect the Asian elephant, respectively. Users of the app are also entered to win more than $30,000 worth of Fabergé jewelry.
The organizations will no doubt appreciate the boost they’ll get from the event, but the real fun was for Nomi, a startup organization that works with iBeacons, which helped put the technical aspect of the project together. As they told Fashionista, it was an opportunity for them to prove to their other clients that the iBeacon platform can withstand unusual deployments.
“If you know they’re going to work in that scenario, then they’ll definitely work in a traditional retail environment,” said Nomi co-founder Wesley Barrow. The fact that the iBeacon device, which sends out a unique signal every few seconds, is supposed to seek out a smartphone with the app installed, instead of the other way around, added a variety of security challenges. “It’s not just as easy as plugging it in. You have to make sure someone else couldn’t come in to reverse engineer and build another app using our devices,” Barrow said.
The eggs will be gathered together in a free exhibit at Rockefeller Center on April 18-25, and they will be auctioned off on the 22nd, with the egg hunt ending on April 26th. See which eggs have been discovered on the project’s website.
For those of us conditioned by the ease and convenience of online shopping, heading to an actual mall can be a nightmare. We become quickly overwhelmed by not only the sheer amount of products and stores, but the idea of having to track our ideal item down without the help of bookmarks, tabs, or G-chat advice. Well, worry no more. A new installation attempts to merge the online and offline gap, helping bring more foot traffic to physical stores.
Created by DigitasLBi Paris and real estate investment company Klépierre, the Inspiration Corridor is a large booth that offers users a personalized digital shopping experience. Shoppers step into the booth and undergo a complete body scan, with the Inspiration Corridor taking note of their age, sex, and current ensembles. From there, it brings up digital displays of items located in that mall that you might be interested in, and could potentially buy on the spot.
Customers can use a touchscreen to mark tops and jeans they like and add them to their shopping bag, giving the technology a better idea of other products that might be right for them. And if you already purchased something earlier in the day, you can scan the item and have the Inspiration Corridor suggest complimentary clothing or accessories currently in stock at the mall. When you’ve found what you are looking for, the Klépierre mobile app will use the Apple iBeacon technology to pull up a floor plan of the mall and direct you to your selected items.
Though still a prototype, the Inspiration Corridor brings the best part of online shopping into the physical world. Check out the demo below to see the installation in action.
[h/t] Business Insider
You’re at the airport already when your sister calls to say you’re joining her at a party tonight – only you haven’t packed a dress. Or, while traveling to New York on a business trip, you realize you didn’t bring any ties. For all these reasons and more, London Heathrow Airport has just launched a personal shopping service – and no, you don’t have to be a celebrity to use it.
Heathrow’s retail director Muriel Zingraff-Shariff announced the airport’s personal shopping service in late 2013, which will be free of cost and available to all flyers. Spokeswoman and model Erin O’Connor spoke highly of the service, saying that the shoppers have great insight and have pulled items for her before she even arrived at the airport. Each one of the personal shoppers is multilingual and an accredited stylist, and their service is available 24 hours a day.
Customers can book appointments for a bespoke consultation ahead of time or upon arrival at the Heathrow Airport, saving themselves the effort of browsing in the crowded duty-free stores. The service works in collaboration with over 300 retailers at the airport, including Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Gucci, Burberry, and Prada. This first-of-its-kind service allows travelers to make the most of their time and ensures a relaxing trip.
In order to create a more tailored experience, the Metropolitan Opera recently launched a new Ticket Finder service that employs quick questionnaires to match you with the perfect performance. Not only will the quizzes make the theater more accessible for people with limited knowledge of the opera, but it will also help to attract a younger audience to the performing arts and eradicate the notion of opera being stuffy and intimidating.
“This is a platform that is specifically designed for new audiences – people who are still trying to figure out their individual preferences for operas and opera productions,” explains Associate Director of Marketing Meghan Goria. “We know that it’s important for people to have a wonderful experience with opera and a huge part of that is making sure that what’s on stage matches their individual aesthetic.
Designed to help narrow down the choices between the season’s 24-28 operas, the questions range from “What type of story do you prefer?” to “What factors are most important to you when choosing an opera?” Different answers will return different answers until you find the perfect opera for you – which could be a comedic story with lavish productions, great music, and star singers, for example.
On top of that, the Met Opera has also made it possible to create your own subscription series. Just select five operas, along with the dates you want to attend and your seating preferences, which will give you access to tickets ahead of the general public. It’s also a great way to ensure you have a consistent dose of cultural entertainment lined up for the next few months.
Toyota to launch hydrogen-powered car. Autocar
Google algorithm cracks the CAPTCHA. The Verge
Twitter to launch app promotion advertising platform. Twitter
AT&T to release a new smartwatch. TechHive
Walmart unveils money transferring service. Forbes
Apple to partner with Shazam for iOS 8. Apple Insider
Weibo IPO gains after low pricing. Bloomberg
General Assembly offers new diversity scholarship fund. General Assembly
Anonymity is all the rage these days, and so we bring our attention to Whisper.
This week, we’re joined by Leena Rao, who has some mixed feelings about the craze around anonymous social sharing apps, like Whisper and competitor Secret.
Whisper, based out of LA, launched back in 2012 to be the PostSecret of mobile. All the drama and intrigue was there. Most of the artistry still remained as well.
Users could publish their secrets, anonymously, in meme form for others to engage with. When a post is shared, it’s shared with the entire Whisper community and Whispers with the most likes are filtered into the popular page. The entire network is navigable through an intense web of tags on each post.
It’s pretty slick.5 Ways Youth Are Critical to Tech Companies Today? * How youth influences the adult consumer market
The app has seem competition in a world where ephemerality and anonymity are so hot right now, but Whisper may have an edge in the fight against Secret. The issue of bullying will take center stage during the battle.
Where Secret shares your anonymous post with your circle of friends, Whisper makes no distinction between people who know each other and people who are perfect strangers, inviting what seems to be a more positive and humorous user base.
Time will be the real test, as more social ideas are being tested and launched as we speak. After all, no one remains on top forever.
Medical tech for older consumers is getting much smarter. Two hearing-aid manufacturers, Starkey and GN ReSound, have created devices that link with iPhones, turning hearing aids into de facto Bluetooth headsets on which users can also take calls and listen to music. ReSound is marketing the LiNX as “the world’s smartest hearing aid.” For instance, users can geo-tag locations so that it switches automatically to custom settings in various locales (movie theater, café, etc.). Starkey’s Halo is a similar device.
Other wearable tech targeting older people includes a wristband from CarePredict that communicates with beacons placed around the wearer’s home. The system learns the user’s patterns, then alerts family and other caregivers of any deviation. Meanwhile, technology that monitors vital signs is getting increasingly futuristic. A team of researchers has developed a Band-Aid-like patch that can monitor vital signs, among other things; the bioelectronics startup MC10 is working to bring it to market. And the smart pill—ingestible sensors, like the ones that Proteus is developing—will monitor health data and transmit it to a smartphone or other device. Proteus’ offering could be on the market within the year.