We live in the age of innovation. We were writing about recent technological changes. At Liki Mobile Solutions company we still observe them, especially in the industry of mobile applications, and it’s fair to come to the conclusion that the rapid growth of innovations is impressive. Many concepts that were only vague visions yesterday are now a reality. Science fiction is no longer fiction, but just a science. Let’s face it – We are surrounded by technology. From self-driving cars, drones and virtual reality to the yet undiscovered possibilities of AI. We got used to the increasing pace so much that we take many of these smart solutions for granted. As a consequence, what was considered a technological shock even a decade ago, now is treated as a norm. For us – tech-savvy and cyber-smart technology addicts, the innovation has become a habit, just like a sip of morning coffee. Thus, let’s get a deeper insight into still extraordinary ways of using technology on a daily basis.
Walk or jog?
We all know that having a baby requires multitasking. It’s not so easy especially when you struggle with a pram through the urban jungle. However, if you are a modern parent on the go, you can take advantage of New York Company’s newest invention called Smartbe. It’s a self-propelling stroller based on the same mechanism which powers the driverless cars. The advantages of this device are undeniable – as it pushes itself, your hands are free, so at the same time you can, e.g. go jogging or carry the bags. It also brings great convenience to parents with some disability. The only thing you need to set the device in motion is an IOS or Android app. It adds some special functions, for instance, playing lullabies, warming the bottle or adjusting the temperature. What is more, this obstacle-dodging and embedded with motion tracking sensors smart pram will always be in the proximity of a parent who still remains in control. So, there’s no point in wondering what happens if the pram drifts too far away from you or meets a barrier in the street. Undeniably, this device seems to revolutionize the traditional perception of parenting.
Gamify your life
Children, adolescents or adults – we all like playing games. What about the employment of games in everyday situations? This process is called gamification and it definitely helps us to get out of the rut. Can you think of a digital product which goes beyond its main function and triggers some interaction? For instance, a toothbrush linked with a special app becomes something more than just a tool to clean your teeth. It encourages your children by giving extra points for brushing their teeth precisely or at the correct speed. As a result, gamification adds not only a fun element but has an educational function as well. Adding extra meaning to some repetitive activity may entail increased users’ engagement. Now you don’t simply brush your teeth. You play tooth brushing.
Let a drone take you a selfie
Everybody takes selfies nowadays. It’s a common trend all smartphone users adore. However, the drawback of a selfie is a narrow perspective. The photo usually covers your face and some part of a background. Of course, there are selfie sticks, but due to this newest trend, they will soon become a relic. Can you conceive of a drone of such a small size that it would smoothly fit your pocket? Actually, it already exists and it’s called Pixley Drone. And it lets you take shots which are unique. You can still use your smartphone, but only to control it via an app. And the outcome is that you can take a picture which will capture the broader perspective and the surrounding background is visible. What is more, you can share the photo with your friends instantly.
Broaden your horizons
It must be admitted that augmented reality has won over many areas of our lives. Hence, it’s not surprising that it considerably advances the idea of sightseeing. You can get rid of the map, navigation and the guide from your tourist’s kit. The mobile app is all you need to feel the AR experience on your skin and at the same time make travelling even more intuitive. Holo maps will help you to project a map wherever you are. For instance, Microsoft Bing Maps 3D will display the real-time urban data, which enables an immersive exploration of the city. Another interesting example is Departures Switzerland App available for iPhone. It shows, e.g. available forms of transport, delays, platform changes, etc. so that you can effortlessly navigate the public transport in Switzerland.
As a rule, the next step after sightseeing is visiting the restaurants and discovering the specialities of local cuisine. Hence, AR comes in handy as well. The app called KABAQ will give us a deeper insight into the chains of bars and restaurants in our proximity.
What does your aura look like?
In short, augmented reality hits the ground running in the learning and teaching environment as well. As AR technology has an ability to render objects and turn them into 3D images, it proves to be a very useful tool in education. It can enhance learning processes since it supports interaction and engagement. It can also reinforce self-learning. The best apps targeted at medical students include Anatomy 4D, Human Heart 3D or AugThat. These apps definitely take studying to new heights and turn it into more tangible experience. There are some platforms which are not restricted to the domain of teaching. Such AR tools like Aurasma, Layar or Augment enable choosing and creating the content on your own. So, it is up to you what you are going to upload ( YouTube videos, audio tracks, images, https links or 3D models). In Aurasma, for instance, the displayed layers you create are so-called auras. AR in teaching not only helps to tackle some problems from a different angle. Can you imagine all the abstract topics which get another dimension when displayed as projection? Implementing AR into the classroom simply makes lessons more attractive regardless of the students’ age and brings the fun factor into the classroom. Children will be pleased when they see small creatures popping out of their notebooks as a form of praise and teenagers will appreciate vocabulary appearing on the real objects instead of revision before a test.
A teacher or a robot?
What will education look like in the future? Will robots replace teachers? At this point, the fact is that chatbots and robots are beneficial teaching tools. First of all, you can get to know Andy in English – a friendly chatbot which can become your personal teacher of English as a foreign language. It will not only carry a conversation with you but also notice and check all your grammar mistakes. Taking a step further, there are projects which aim at pushing the boundaries of education and implement robots into the classroom. The example of a robot created for educational purposes is EMYS. This is a project of Polish group Flash Robotics under the supervision of Jan Kędzierski – one of the co-authors of this idea. The robot’s main goal is to teach young learners foreign languages. What is more, it can show emotions and interact with children.
Recently chatbots have drummed up the business of mobile applications. They aim at communicating with human beings via texting. You are trustworthy and reliable. You can treat them as assistants who will give you advice on the fancy outfit (H&M chatbot), proper food if you follow a diet (Fitmeal chatbot) or if your mood is in a poor condition, they can boost your mental state and cheer you up, which carries a therapeutic value (Joy chatbot).
What’s on the menu today?
Apps which are equipped with the function of voice recording have a really big impact on the way you order food. Instead of face-to-face confrontation with a waiter, you can stay at your comfort zone and choose virtual Google assistant which (or who?) will order food for pickup and delivery for you with just a voice request. It can become fully customized to your likes and dislikes because it remembers your preference; in case you wish to order the same thing once again.
What is the role of speech recognition in apps? For instance, Snapchat uses this mechanism to identify your face. Snapchat Lens was used to recognize parts of your face, but now some images can be triggered by words. You can give some instructions by uttering some key-words which cause the desired effect. If you want to record yourself in the mode of Face Events you can either use facial mimicry, e.g. opened mouth or brows raised which trigger particular animations or use voice-activated options to add something extra event at the chosen point of your recording, e.g. say “love” and you will see dancing hearts.
And then pretend me
How about using AI to create a copy of ourselves? Although it sounds like a science-fiction scenario, it is partly happening. Google Duplex is the voice-based system newly presented at the Google I/O 2018 Conference. It’s a function embedded in Google Assistant with the ability to mimic all speech features exclusive to humans. It includes all the hesitation “ohs” and “ums” and pauses which gives an impression of AI thinking over the issue. The interesting things are that it is novel in creating new utterances. The most remarkable success of Duplex is its ability to copy the voices of famous people. It has ingrained Smart Compose system, which makes it possible to produce a message in your name. It is also equipped with photo tools which edit pictures automatically and then give you advice on people who will be the best potential receivers of your message. As Chris Messina – the inventor of hashtags- claims, Duplex is both amazing and scary technology. It sounds so real that you may easily confuse it with the real person during the phone conversation. Pretending human voice is nothing else but a next step in the process of creating AI similar to human beings. Maybe passing the Turing test by a machine is not at all so vague and unrealistic concept.
To conclude, even though we are flooded by technological inventions regularly, the ways of using them and the number of fields where they can be applied still remain a mystery and are limited only by our creativity. As Liki Mobile Solutions company is looking for inspiring start-up ideas, we are open to the endless array of options and possibilities of already-familiar technologies which can result in surprising outcomes.