I just came across the Tiles and the Tile smartphone app product (watch video demo here), the product/company that will create the largest lost-and-found in the world.
Below, I’ve highlighted both why I think this is a noteworthy invention and app that we should all download, and two quick ideas for how the value proposition might be further extended.
What I really like about Tiles and the Tile app:
App harnesses the power of mobile and sensor technologies to remember where it last “saw” a given tile. I guess the app is remembering when and where it last was within a certain proximity of a given Tile.
App “surfs the crowd” to locate Tiles/items that have been reported as lost/stolen. Much like the winning MIT team from the DARPA Network Challenge, Tiles and the Tile app harness the fundamental power of mobile technologies and the crowd. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tile app soon becomes a top-downloaded/used app of all time, demonstrating people’s comfort with trusting services that–in theory–could be used to infringe on one’s privacy when when the value they are receiving in return is large enough. Working in the mobile technology field, I know that it is easy enough to design the system and tech such that all personally identifiable information is safeguarded, and so I predict Tiles will be a great success so long as the company (Reveal Labs) addresses customer privacy in an opaque and easy-to-understand manner.
Company makes it easy to recycle Tiles. Since Tiles last one year and electronics are highly toxic to the environment, I like that the company reminds you when it’s time to order new Tiles and also sends you an envelope to recycle your old ones.
The ironic thing now is that Tiles and the Tile app (as a system for locating my most prized possessions) now make my smartphone an even more critical tool in my life, so what do I do to locate my lost/stolen smartphone and the tile I put on it?
Two ideas for further strengthening the value proposition:
1. Integration with police systems
Also, now that Tiles, the Tile app, and cloud can be used to locate stolen items, can a feature be built into the app that enables one share a live feed of a lost/stolen Tile/item location information with police? Or another feature that could enable the owner of a given Tile to request police assistance for retrieving an item at a specific location?
2. Sponsorship by insurance companies
If Tiles and the Tile system can be shown to reduce theft and/or increase recovery of stolen items, will insurance companies be willing to compensate customers who use them? Didn’t car insurance companies reduce premiums for customers who used LowJack?
P.S. The company is currently raising investment funds via Selfstarter, and expects to begin shipping Tiles to customers winter of 2013. You can pre-order Tiles here (limited quantities).
When I watch the Keepon robot respond to the music, I feel like I could learn new dance moves from it; and I am really curious to learn what the design of the controlling software algorithms look like. My Carnegie Mellon University robotics friends and classmates of the inventor tell me the algorithms are not terribly innovative, however, but I digress. The technology is not why I am writing this post.
I am writing this post to share an exquisite piece of storytelling. Not one word is ever spoken in the video, and yet the value proposition and technology’s capabilities, such as the little bit of artificial intelligence built into it to generate human like responses to some situations it encounters, are clearly and amuzingly communicated.
Maybe this technology could take a CADD file and quickly generate an interactive 3D model, which could be sent to colleagues over the internet! …I think it offers a compelling sense for spatial aesthetics of a 3D product design, and then we wouldn’t have to wait for the 3D printer anymore.
The Holga.D is one of the best examples of thoughtful and beautiful ID work I have seen in a long time. I love the concept of a digital camera that forces user to wait to products of their labor, like the old analog film cameras. I think this will allow the user to enjoy, and focus on, more the photo-taking experience (trying to capture the images they are seeing in the real world) rather than worrying too much–in that instant–how the images look. See picture below of camera rear, lacking an LCD display. Amen to a tool that helps the user focus on the craft; not the end result!
What I love about this robot arm design is that part of it’s cleverness lies it’s in it’s simplicity. The robot hand solves a major problem of dexterity, in that it is able to pick up the range of objects other robot arms cannot. So far, the hand-sized version of the gripper has been able to pick up a pair of gallon jugs of water, weighing a total of about 15 pounds [6.8 kilograms]. Amazingly, the technology is scalable, and inventors believe a larger gripper, about 3 feet across [0.9 meters], would be able to lift up a car.
You know how commercials are played at louder volumes than the programming segments between which they are played. I can’t help but think this is done on purpose as a means for trying to make the commercials more affective advertisements. This is just one of the six major reasons I think internet-deployment of programming content will the business model of the future. Frankly, why most all the players in the TV commercial industry are not sprinting towards an internet-deployment model, is beyond me.