iStrategyBlabs

Meet Dorothy: Click Your Heels To Summon An Uber, Call Your Phone, Or Text Your Friends!

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Have you ever been stuck in an awkward situation, praying your phone would ring so you could politely extract yourself?  Of course you have.  That’s why we made Dorothy, a physical trigger that makes any dumb shoe smart. Dorothy consists of the “Ruby” (a small connected device that slips into your shoe) and a mobile App that allows you to trigger a call to your phone from a fake contact (your “boss”) whenever you tap your heels together 3 times. Dorothy can also send text messages to your contacts with a custom message and your current location, letting them know exactly where you are. Soon, we’ll be working toward summoning an Uber. What else can Dorothy do?  You tell us… we’re just getting started! See it in action here:

Check out Dorothy on Good Morning America!

How It Works:

Dorothy is powered by the LightBlue Bean, an Arduino micro-controller with a built in Bluetooth chip, accelerometer, and coin cell battery. Simply clip the “Ruby” into your shoe, connect it to the Dorothy iPhone App, and select your desired action after a successful trigger (3 heel clicks). The onboard accelerometer sends a signal to your phone via Bluetooth (listening for spikes in the data over a short period of time).

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The App: The iOS application was built in Objective-C and uses the Bean iOS SDK. Using AFNetworking we contact a small Node server that hits the Twilio API to trigger the appropriate action (a call to your phone or a text to your friends).

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Components: The Ruby consists of three main components, the 3D printed housing, a laser cut acrylic faceplate, and the LightBlue Bean. The Ruby’s housing was modeled using a CAD program and designed to mimic the naturally occurring facets of a gemstone, while maintaining a compact form factor (currently measuring 1.35” x 0.88” x 0.35”).

(NOTE: While this is our initial prototype — we’re currently exploring models as small as 1/3rd of its current size, potentially built into an insole…).

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Fabrication: The Ruby’s housing was 3D printed and carefully finished to remove any ridges and imperfections. Self-setting rubber (Sugru) was then pressed through the stenciled logo on the front face of the enclosure, adding additional color and tactility. The LightBlue Bean was placed inside the housing and covered with a thin laser-etched acrylic faceplate, and finally, a flexible clip was attached.

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What’s next? While in the near future we’ll be able to trigger actions like ordering an Uber to your geo-coordinates, or automatically order your favorite pizza — we’d love to hear your ideas. Let us know the most exciting actions/outputs and we just might make you a custom Dorothy of your very own… HOLLER AT US!

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UPDATE as of 11/10/14:

Since its release, Dorothy has been featured on some of the biggest news shows including: NPR, Good Morning America, Ellen, The Today Show, and The Meredith Vieria Show.  You can view those clips below.

 

ELLEN from iStrategyLabs on Vimeo.


 

The Facebook “Mentions Box” Goes Live At The Emmy Awards

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Facebook, already the biggest brand in social media, was looking for a better way to bridge the gap between celebrities and fans, specifically at live events. Behold: The Facebook “Mentions Box” which just debuted at the 2014 Emmy’s — allowing celebrities to “shake” the device to surface a fan question (pulling directly from the event’s Facebook Page) and immediately record a video response back.

At the Emmys, the Mentions Box was used by everyone from Jimmy Fallon, to Matthew McConaughey, to Ty Burrell and Jason Biggs — to stars from Game of Thrones, Orange Is the New Black, and HBO’s Silicon Valley (see below!).

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After many discussions, brainstorms, and rapid prototyping efforts focused on how to best represent the Facebook platform in physical space, we landed on a simple concept drawing inspiration from mediums people already know and enjoy (landing on something between a Magic 8-Ball in function and an Etch-A-Sketch in form).

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Ultimately, we settled on a tablet encased in a polycarbonate form factor, with a luxury car finish.

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We started the process by concepting potential types of physical devices that talent would be able to easily (and quickly) interact with — using cardboard and simple materials to play around with various form factors.

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The admin console (primarily a question moderation tool) sources questions from specific Facebook posts and then pushes approved questions straight to The Facebook Mentions Box.

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Leading up to the Emmy’s, The Mentions Box was featured on Access Hollywood by hosts Billy Bush and Shaun Robinson:

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More pics of the Mentions Box in action, straight from the Access Hollywood Facebook Page!

 

 

 

 


Update
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On September 5th, Facebook teamed up with Stand Up To Cancer to utilize the Mentions Box to connect celebrities with donors supporting the live charity event.

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Meet Transit, The Latest In Commuter Technology

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Lately, I have been obsessing over the Electric Imp, a small internet connected device that allows makers to do some pretty awesome things. Where it truly excels is pulling in live data from APIs.

With our office located in Dupont Circle, we have easy access to the Metro and Capital Bikeshare Stations.  Since our team is constantly on the go, I thought it would be helpful to manipulate this travel data in a fun way, easily digestible way.  Thus Transit was born.

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The first step in building Transit was choosing the hardware. I decided to go with six LED matrices that provided a similar aesthetic to the real metro signs, one Arduino Mega to power the LEDs, and an Electric Imp to collect the desired data. Next I brainstormed how much information I would like to show. I decided to display the next four trains arriving at the Dupont Circle metro, how many Capital Bikeshare bikes were available at the Dupont station, and the current temperature for Washington, DC.

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The final unit is mounted on the wall between our two elevators, making it easy for people to see the information they need before they head out of the office. The sign pulls in new data from each of the APIs every 30 seconds.

P.S. I must commend the WMATA’s API for this project. Everything from signing up to embedding their data was extremely well done and easy to use.

Take An Instant Selfie With This Magical Mirror

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Meet S.E.L.F.I.E., the “The Self Enhancing Live Feed Image Engine”. Triggered by simply standing in front of the mirror and holding a smile, hidden LED’s indicate a countdown, then simulate a “flash” as your photo is taken. The photo is then automatically posted to Twitter (with a watermark/logo).

Find out how it works and see it in action:

A MacMini powers the facial recognition software:

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The LEDs (controlled by an Arduino) visualize the countdown timer:

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All components are hidden behind the 2-way mirror:

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A custom vinyl graphic on the floor let’s you know exactly where to stand:

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Want one for yourself? Have some ideas for our next experiment?  Hit us up!

Introducing “Hypermind” — A Quarterly Publication by iStrategyLabs

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Say hello to Hypermind: our very own in-house publication created entirely on iBooks Author.

Whether you’re a marketer, maker or designer, Hypermind is your guide for exploring the possibilities of creative technology. Each edition includes interviews, insights, and experiments gathered from innovators across the globe, helping you discover secret weapons for conquering your next big adventure.

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This inaugural edition of Hypermind seeks to explore “The Internet of Things” — investigating how brands/startups/marketers have leveraged readily accessible technology to create innovative products & experiences. We’ve tapped some big names (from Budweiser to GE) and spoke with some stars in the making in order to provide a rapid fire snapshot of trends we’ve seen, and to illuminate a path for projects to come.

Download your copy of Hypermind from the iBooks store HERE. (Keep in mind: it’s an iBook, so you do need to have iBooks installed!).