Using Semi-Autonomous Car Technology to Assist Visually Impaired

I’ve committed myself to writing and talking around the concepts of Micro-Interactions and Anticipatory computing and using a SmartWatches app as a vehicle to deliver the content such that it has particular relevance. The challenge is actually coming up with a compelling use-case (apart from the obvious), initially it was a Water Consumption Monitor, then a Pace Setter (i.e. allow the user to set a pace and nudge them when the user is slowing down), but then settled for a way for the user to navigate to a destination with less reliance on their SmartPhone (more on this on a later post).

This idea sparked a thought of how Smart devices (Phone/Watch/Earpiece/…) could help navigate the visually impaired around urban areas using similar techniques used by semi-autonomous cars.

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Social App Discovery (prototype)

The app ecosystem has exploded over the last few years; creating inefficiencies for app discovery. Great for the platform vendors but not for the developers (or users), there have been numerous attempts to improve this, some of the obvious ones listed below (ignoring marketing tactics such as free-app-a-day):

  • Vertical and specialised app stores (Amazon, Samsung, Sony, …)
  • Cross promotional networks
  • Review sites
  • Increased categories
  • Improved recommendations
  • Third party apps (e.g. AppFlow, Appreciate, …)

This inefficiency is one major reason why Just-in-Time Interactions makes sense, especially as the app model extends to other platforms (desktop, TV, SmartWatchers, …).

Haven been faced this with question many times (how to market a mobile app) I thought I would have an attempt in making app discovery more relevant.

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Augmented Reality Engine

In late 2010 we spotted a potential trend for Augmented Reality as a marketing tool – not a new idea as it had been done before but wasn’t a mainstream technique for marketing purposes yet. At this stage I spent a fair amount of time researching the topic but being a bootstrapped service business it wasn’t long this project was parked to gather dust. Around mid-2011 it was discovered again and the initiative was relaunched, Augmented Reality solutions existed now but given our unique relationship as a production partner for a few agencies we saw value of us being able to offer a solution that wouldn’t have the additional cost. So as a company we decided I would be given a couple of months dedicated to build a prototype to be used to promote the service to agencies. Thankfully OpenCV made it possible to build a fully functional prototype (with rendering engine) within this time. The result was a lot of long nights and a fairly responsive marker (template) detection engine.

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