iStrategyBlabs

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!).

 

The LED Cave Sign: Powered By Electric Imp & Arduino

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As our company has continued to grow our desire for common work space has increased.  We recently decided to turn our “Dev Cave” into a multipurpose meeting area — allowing for our team to take client calls, have project check-ins, and work together productively in an enclosed space.  We initially mounted an “On Air” sign above the  Cave’s door that was activated via a button on the wall. The system worked, but there was room for improvement.  Enter: “The LED Cave Sign”.

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The LED Cave Sign is powered by an Electric Imp and an Arduino, with a simple webpage acting as the control center. An iPad inside the Cave runs the webpage and has a multiple buttons that allow people to control the display. When the user taps one of the buttons on the iPad, a signal is sent to the Electric Imp, which then sends a signal to an Arduino Mega. The Arduino then relays the information to the LED array, and there you have it!

 

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Your Business Card Fishbowl Sucks. This One Doesn’t.

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Gone are the days of simply placing your business card into the plastic bowl aka a black hole.  No longer will you be wait anxiously to see if you are in fact the winner of that free sandwich or t-shirt.

Say hello to the Superbowl, the latest twist on the boring business card fish bowl. Put it out on your counter or at your tradeshow booth, and a simple LED matrix instantly tells you whether you have won. We even created a push-button admin interface to pre-determine the chances of winning. Check it out:

Here is how it works:

The Superbowl detects cards much in the same way that a laser trip wire works. On one side of the slot is a photoresistor that detects the light intensity and on the other is an ultra bright focused LED. When the photoresistor detects a noticeable decrease in light output, the Superbowl triggers the prize selection algorithm.

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Pretty slick, we know.  Please note that there’s a 0% chance we’ll actually be able to call this thing the “Superbowl”.