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What is the industrial internet of things & how will it change business?

What is the industrial internet of things & how will it change business?

The industrial internet of things is a term that we’re getting more used to seeing.  But do we really know what it means and the effect it will have on business?

It’s been called the fourth industrial revolution and promises to disrupt and ultimately improve the way we as humans interact with machines and big data.

Google tells us that:

The IIoT is part of a larger concept known as the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is a network of intelligent computers, devices, and objects that collect and share huge amounts of data.

The Internet of Things

The internet of things connects machines, product diagnostics, software and analytics so the businesses can operate more efficiently.

The best example of this is with smart heating systems. 

Companies like Nest give consumers control over their heating through linking up via mobile devices.  We can turn them up, down, on and off from our mobile phones away from our homes.

Some devices can even tell if you and your smartphone have left the house and will turn the heating off automatically, or set it to turn off when it’s a sunny day.

The benefits of these types of systems in our home are obvious, we are becoming more economical with our resources and have more control over our lives and our homes.

Wearable tech is also becoming mainstream with people exercising; wearing smartwatches of wrist bands to monitor their heart and distance travelled.

And it’s not stopping at our home, there is talk of smart cities, where traffic signals monitor use and bins signal when they need emptying.

The Industrial Internet of Things

The Industrial internet of things (IIOT) is where industry starts to utilise this technology to increase efficiency, eliminate waste and improve health.

·       Manufacturing is furthest ahead with the organisation of tools, people & machines; tracking stages and process.

·       Farming is starting to use sensors to manage crops and cattle to boost production and the health of their animals.

·       Healthcare is also expanding with smart pills and monitoring patients health through wearable tech. Intel created a smart band which tracks how much a person shakes with Parkinsons and Sonamba monitors activities of older and ill people.

The driving force behind all this tech is that ultimately smart machines are better able to consistently and accurately capture and communicate data.

The downside could be that as we become more reliant on tech, breaches of security become more of an issue. And some companies have been accused of treating staff like machines, monitoring toilet breaks with workers being squeezed for more productivity.

Here are 5 facts you need to know about the IIOT from The Manufacturer

1 – This growth in the Industrial Internet will increase manufacturing profitability by 21%

2 – There are 1.5 trillion objects on this planet. Only 0.6% of them are connected.

3 – In 1822, Charles Babbage designed the first automatic computing engine and Ada Lovelace created the first computer programme in 1843. By 2022, there will be over 50 billion objects connected to the internet.

4 – The biggest impact of the Industrial internet will be in manufacturing.

5 – The digital transformation will boost business. GE estimates the Industrial Internet could be a £174bn market by 2020.

Industrial Internet of Things at G2 Innovation

The IOT is not new to G2, we’ve developed our own products and worked with clients to develop theirs.  We’ve produced hardware, software and the packaging and enclosures to make products user friendly and accessible. 

When we’re not developing IOT tech, we’re also teaching it.  Tom and James both teach Arduino programming at our local HackSpace.

We'd love to hear from you if you've got a project you're working on that we could support you with. Feel free to get in touch.

IOT resources:

https://www.themanufacturer.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Industrial-internet-1.pdf

http://www.techadvisor.co.uk/test-centre/digital-home/12-best-smart-heating-systems-2017-uk-best-smart-thermostats-3583499/

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/06/what-is-the-internet-of-things-google

http://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/opinion/Manufacturing-embraces-the-Industrial-Internet-of-Things

http://www.alphr.com/news/390259/parkinsons-disease-to-be-tracked-by-wearables

http://sonamba.com/features-for-caregivers/daily-monitoring/

New technology releases 2016

New technology releases 2016

As we have crossed the half way line of the year (yes I know, where did the last 6 months go?) it’s time to look at what technology we’ve got to look forward to.

 

iPhone 7

It’s hard to know if what we’ve seen so far of the iPhone 7 is going to be a reality, because we never really know for certain until it is released. So far, we can speculate about what we are likely to expect from rumours and blurry images which have been leaked. So, what do we think we know so far? Well, the new iPhone is likely to be thinner, which would be achieved by ditching the headphone jack. It is likely that there will be a new colour option (which is highly speculated to be blue), a larger camera lens, a bigger minimum storage choice and it's possible that it will be waterproof too. The iPhone has some camera catching up to do when compared with other brands of a similar spec, yet the lens change isn’t likely to signify an increase in megapixels. With a release likely in September to coincide with iOS 10 and every other previous iPhone release, we won’t really know what expect for a couple more months, but let’s face it, no matter what it has, it’s likely to be a success.

 

Google Home

Google Home was announced in May at Google’s keynote event and didn’t have a specific date for release, yet rumours are that we will see it before the end of the year. Operated entirely by voice, Google Home will carry out services such as setting timers, alarms and sending messages. It will work in harmony with other Google services such as Google Play Music, Google Cast and Google Assistant. Google have worked hard to ensure that this voice assistant works in real life situations in the home, so that when there are other sounds, the far field voice recognition will still work effortlessly.

 

Nintendo NX

Before the years out, we can also expect details on the Nintendo NX. Though release isn’t due until March 2017, we do expect that the new Nintendo console will marry together the home and handheld markets. Some speculate that it will be a console for use at home, which will also allow you to take part of it away to continue your progress elsewhere. Likely to be as powerful as a PS4, it is set to be a major rival on the gaming market.

 

Pokémon Go

It's already been released, but with huge growth I think it would be naïve of me not to include the huge new Pokémon Go, because although this might not be technology like you’ve just read about above, it is a big part of popular digital culture at the moment and is changing the way people are interacting with their tech. 

For those of you who aren’t aware of this new/old craze sweeping the world, it is a free-to-play, GPS based, augmented reality version of Pokémon, which was once played with trading cards. Pokémon Go is worth talking about, because unlike other games, this game forces you to go to the outside world to play.

Pokémon Go had added $9 billion to Nintendo’s market value, taking it to a total of £22 billion...though this took a drastic plummet when it was revealed that Nintendo don't actually develop the game! 

 

So that's just a preview of what to expect for the coming months, check back after the iPhone 7 release where i'll be picking apart the new features. 

 

Written by 

Katherine Thomson 

10 beautiful designs - June

10 beautiful designs - June

Hi!!! 🙌🏻 It's that time again, enjoy! My personal fave is the TWELVE lamp series! Tweet us your faves @g2innovation 

Elmer

Designed by Guillaume Delvigne, in partnership with French design studio Bellila, this lovely lamp, Elmer, is inspired by Elephant ears. The metal ears, combined with a sturdy oak base make for a soft and soothing design, which looks great in an array of playful colours. This clever and contemporary design means that the lamp can sit on it’s own, or be grafted to a shelf. I absolutely love the orange one!

 

Lagoon

Customizable and fun, this outdoors chair from Baldessari e Baldessari for Lagoon is inspired by lagoon colours from all around the world. Polypropylene-molded to give the impression that it’s comprised of two pieces, although the stitching doesn’t hold the chair together, it does fasten the cover into place which is removable and available in different fabrics, allowing you to customize the look.

 

Woolsey Ping Pong table

Designed by Sean Woolsey, this sleek and multifunctional Ping Pong table is perfect for design enthusiasts. Featuring a solid black walnut top sitting on solid walnut legs and paddles made from walnut and maple, this table is one that screams to be shown off. Perfect for an office environment, the powder-coated steel net can be easily removed, effortlessly turning this gorgeous table into a dining or conference table.

 

Mushroom Lamp

Versatile and functional, this fungus shaped LED lamp also acts as a charger and stand for your phone. A nod towards nature, particularly the varieties of mushroom that illuminate at night using bioluminescence, this lovely little glass lamp emits a soft and welcoming glow. When flipped over to reveal the maple base, this lamp is able to charge your phone at the same time as working as a lamp. Able either to illuminate a space for 8 hours or to charge an iPhone twice over before needing a little recharge itself.

 

Lift-Bit

The world’s first internet-of-things sofa has been unveiled and it looks lovely! The ‘Lift-bit’ designed by Carlo Ratti Associati with help from Vitra is a modular furniture system which can transform from sofa to bed to chair through gestures or a mobile app. Consisting of a cluster of upholstered stools, motorized using a linear actuator, the user has complete control over the form they want their seating to take, though the shape-shifting configuration will re-adjust when it gets ‘bored’ to keep users on their toes.

 

Solid wool

Solidwool is a British company that has joined the green revolution. The material, Solidwood, is made from two components- bio-resin and wool. Bio-resin is eco-friendly and without harmful chemicals, and wool is sustainable, renewable and natural and forms the base of this design. The sustainable ash wood legs offset the black powder coasted steel frame and would fit beautifully into any contemporary setting.

 

TWELVE

This lovely lighting system from Plato design is fully customizable thanks to its magnetic connections and modular design. The TWELVE collection consists of three different models, each with different finishes, and made from different materials. My personal favorite is the Basic TWELVE because it’s made from concrete and I’m sure my love of concrete is no shock to anyone who reads this blog regularly! The dodecahedrons with built in magnets let you join together up to seven lamps with only the need for one to be plugged in.

 

Concretus

Designed by second year product design student, Gražina Bočkutė, this gorgeous speaker is striking. Clean crisp lines, highlighted by the rough texture of the concrete and complimented by the metal accents, this contrast of materials makes it both contemporary and industrial. With Bluetooth integration and four control buttons on the side, this speaker turns traditional speakers on their heads. 

 

Molekule

Air pollution is a big problem, and indoor air is 5 times more polluted than outdoor as chemicals and pollutants accumulate and multiply over time. Designed by Dr Yogi Goswami, a scientist who has developed the Molekule, a system, which doesn’t just capture harmful bacteria, mold and viruses, but converts them into clean air. The contemporary design and clean cylindrical shape make this an elegant piece, which wouldn’t look, out of place in the home.

 

Louis

Sometimes you just can’t beat the grainy retro warmth of a vinyl record. The problems occur when you want that sound, but don’t want the heap of records stacked up next to your deck.  This beautiful little speaker, inspired by the iconic gramophone shape, is the answer to all of life’s vinyl problems. Designed by Paolo Cappello, this wooden analogue speaker mimics the sound of records when playing music off your smartphone. Available in neutral, graphite and yellow, what’s not to love? 

Enjoyed this months design blog? Why not check out the previous posts here

Written by

Katherine Thomson

What can we expect to see in 2016?

What can we expect to see in 2016?

1 – Mobile Shopping via TV and connected devices

 

This year, we saw Amazons Dash buttons capable of ordering household favourites at the touch of a button when connected to the users Prime account through an app. The device works by instantly placing an order and sending an order confirmation to your phone so that you don’t have to go to the hassle of logging in, finding your product and ordering it. Some would argue this is sheer laziness, and others would argue that it has been made with convenience in mind. Which ever is closer to your view, this kind of shopping shows no slowing down in 2016 and in fact, it seems like it will increase! Programmatic video is probably going to bring mobile shopping to TV, from customised ad experiences to being able to watch your shows and purchase outfits that the characters are wearing or products that they’re using.

 

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2 – Hyperloop

 

Elon Musk unveiled in 2013 that he had been working on a design for a Hyperloop solar-powered supersonic pod-train, capable of accelerating to 335mph in as little as 2 seconds. In Summer2013, it seemed like some sort of futuristic dream, but fast-forward a mere 2 and a half years and Musk has announced plans to start work on an open-air test site in Nevada. The aim for 2016 is that the 2-mile long tube track will levitate a pod and accelerate it to over 700mph.

 

3 – Batteries

 

This might not sound like the most exciting development, but when you take in to consideration that we use batteries in some form every day, this could have a big impact! In particular I want to talk about Sodium-ion batteries and foam batteries. Sodium-ion batteries that use salt have been used in laptops following the creation of a prototype by French network, RS2E. The battery is one that would be suitable for use in electric cars as well as laptops and the 6.5cm battery can manage 90 watt-hours per kilogram. The other exciting development comes from Prieto who is the first company to develop a battery, which uses a copper foam substrate. There are multiple benefits to these batteries including their longer battery life, faster charging ability and safety, which is due to having no flammable electrolytes. There’s a good chance we will see these developments in 2016, but if not, they’re not far away!

 

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4 – Drone Delivery


Amazon have already announced ‘Amazon Prime Air’, which is a new delivery system designed to get packages to customers within 30 minutes using unmanned aerial drones. This form of delivery has not been done before and if implemented will change our expectations of ordering online forever. This isn’t something, which is going to happen overnight. The testing for Amazon Air has already begun in the UK, USA and Israel, but more development is required and this will not launch until all safety features are 100% complete. Amazon is not the only company interested in developing this feature; Google, Alibaba and others including a burrito company are also experimenting with this form of delivery. The initial deliveries to be made via this method will be of low value due to the delivery from the drone to the ground…


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5 – Smart Clothes

 

Yep, that’s right, Smart clothes. Let’s look at Project Jacquard for instance; this is an exciting and rapidly developing project. We live in an increasingly interactive world, and there are many items, which have remained the same for hundreds of years, such as clothing. Sure, the styles change, the colours vary and the materials fall out of fashion, but the overall principle stays the same. Project Jacquard changes that and makes it possible to weave interactivity into any textile using standard industrial looms. These new conductive yarns have been created in collaboration with industry partners and combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns. The end result of doing this is to create garments, which have gesture sensitive areas or sensor grids, which can create interactive surfaces. The electronic components are engineered to be as discreet as possible, and intend to be no larger than a button and make it possible to capture the gesture data to wirelessly transmit to mobile phones or other devices. This is a very exciting step for developers, designers, and consumers and adds a whole new level to the connected world. 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

5 Christmas Gadget Gift Ideas

5 Christmas Gadget Gift Ideas

There’s nothing wrong with being prepared right? 🎄

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1.     Parrot Hydrofoil Drone

This is the ultimate big kids toy! A propeller driven unit sits on top of the body and travels at speeds up to 5.4 knots (6mph), lifting it clean out of the water by about 2 inches! Not only is it water based, the structures can be separated allowing the structure to fly through the air.

2.     Bowsers & Wilkins P5 Wireless Headphones

If this isn’t a good gift, then I don’t know what is, though on the pricier end of the Christmas gifts list scale, I’d save this item for someone you really want to buy for, and not a Secret Santa or something! With no wires, this set of Bluetooth headphones keeps the great sound quality that you’d expect but with the convenience of not getting tangled in cables. The headphones have a 17-hour battery life and are supplied with a USB cable so you can conveniently charge them through your laptop.

 

3.     Classic Blutune DAB /Bluetooth sound system

This gorgeous classic looking radio allows you to surf the airwaves as well as streaming from your own device using Bluetooth! Roberts Radio has a great selection of vintage looking DAB radios, which look effortlessly cool and are beautifully designed. This is the perfect gift for someone who wants a slice of the modern world but loves traditional looking items.

4.     Gameband

This is the ultimate gift for Minecraft players, enabling them all of their created worlds in one place, playable off Mac, Pc or other Linux-based computers. Wherever the wearer goes, they have all of their data with them, ready to play whenever they like. Not only is this a storage band, it also works as a watch and comes in several variations.

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5.     Happy Plugs Sound Piece

Swedish brand, Happy Plugs, have delivered a sleek looking speaker with changeable grills to suit your style and mood. This Bluetooth speaker has two 20W speakers as well as bass vents for when you really want to kick out some bass. This speaker looks absolutely amazing in so many different colours and patterns. I am pleasantly surprised by what a lovely shade the mint green grill is.

 

Written by 

Katherine Thomson

The world of Virtual Reality

The world of Virtual Reality

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Google gave a glimpse into virtual reality when they gave away ‘Cardboard’ at a conference in 2014. Stunned by the simplicity of the giveaway, people assumed it to be a joke. Were they mocking VR giant 'Oculus', or pulling a prank on attendees who were expecting something more along the lines of a free smartwatch? The reality was that Google had just equipped everyone in that room with a device, which would turn their smartphones into a DIY, low-cost virtual reality headset.

Virtual Reality is meant to be a big game changer, likely to have influence over film, gaming, travel, communication and education. VR technology feels very futuristic currently but the era has already begun developing and shows no sign of slowing down. People who try Google Cardboard are never disappointed, and even such a simplistic device, seems to prove to skeptics that Virtual Reality is on the way, and it really will be as good as it says it is going to be.

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Here in the G2 office, we have a couple of Google Cardboard headsets kicking about; the pretty basic app features are amusing enough when taking a virtual tour of museum artifacts or Google street view but are not overly impressive and the novelty soon wears off. That is, until now. If you were feeling underwhelmed by the Cardboard apps, then fear not, as things have started to get a lot more exciting indeed. 

In early November, Google announced that you won’t only be able to use your phone to view the specific VR content, but also YouTube content in new theatre mode. There are so many new free VR offerings out there, which make Google Cardboard much more exciting, it’s just a case of finding them. Available already, are a selection of apps designed to make you feel like you’re walking with dinosaurs, at a theme park, on a rollercoaster or travelling through space. My personal favorite is the Insidious VR app as it is almost like being in a game where you travel through different levels, however it can get pretty scary when you’re on your own with your headphones in.

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Content developers are taking this technology to new levels, allowing users to get up close and personal with Paul McCartney performing Live and Let die in full immersive 3D sound and a 360 degree camera rig or taking a glimpse into the world of watchable VR with developer VRSE who are offering a growing amount of content ranging from on set experiences to documentary material.

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With Oculus Rift expected to launch in 2016, we’ve had a glimpse into the world of Virtual Reality, and it’s likely to live up to expectations. Google Cardboard has allowed the world to see what can be possible with £10 and a smartphone, so imagine what is going to come next!

 

 

 

 

Written by

Katherine Thomson 

 

Welcome to the Future

Welcome to the Future

It’s the 21st of October 2015, which might just sound like a regular day to most, but I’m here to tell you, that it’s not!

Today is ‘Back to the Future Day’!

In Back to the Future II, the Doc and Marty crash into the future on this very day, (at 4.29pm if we’re being precise).

Let’s take a look at what they got right and what they got very wrong!

 

-       Fashion

Okay, so in BTTF 2015, Marty McFly is wearing a self-drying jacket, self-lacing trainers and jeans with the pockets pulled out, but if you look past those tech features, (10/10 for channeling wearables though), his bomber jacket is actually pretty on trend (if you ignore the fact that it comes with an inbuilt hairdryer). The trainers, although self-lacing, are not dissimilar to a pair of Kanye West’s Adidas high top Yeezy Boosts and Nike filed a patent for the automatic lacing system in 2009.

-       Transport

"Where we're going, we don't need roads..." Well, not quite, we don’t have flying cars just yet. Though there were some predictions, which weren’t too far from our reality. Vertical takeoffs aren’t the norm, and we don’t throw our rubbish into a car’s ‘Mr Fusion Energy Converter’ to create fuel but converting waste into power for vehicles isn’t completely unheard of. In Bristol and Bath, efforts have been made to power busses with treated waste from sewage and food.

Another similarity is when Biff pays for his taxi fare using his thumbprint, which isn’t too dissimilar to how we pay for things now, with cashless touch paying systems like contactless and Apple pay.

We don't have hover boards though, which I personally think is a huge disappointment. But we do have smart balancing electric scooters, so it's swings and roundabouts I guess. 

-       Jaws 19

Thankfully, they’ve not made 19 Jaws films. That’s all there is to say about that, just be happy about that one. 

-       Technology

Throughout the film, almost every character uses some high tech specs, which can take photos, access an information database and magnify objects. Google glass, which is going through a bit of a reinvention right now, has the ability to display data from the Internet to the viewer through natural language voice commands, take photos and record HD video. 

When it comes to home entertainment, BTTF was closer to the mark. The roll-up flat screen shown in McFlys home is similar to the flexible panels LG showed off at CES this year, and voice controlled televisions are a reality thanks to Smart TV’s and Amazon and Apple boxes. 

BTTF didn’t give a fully accurate prediction of the future, there are some similarities and many differences, though non of that really matters when you consider how excited everybody is about it today.

What a time to be alive. 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

 

Tech for Cold Weather

Tech for Cold Weather

Dark, cosy nights, hot chunky soup, jumpers on while sitting in front of a roaring fire. Sounds pretty dreamy right?

What I’m neglecting to tell you, is that getting out of the hot shower in the morning is about to become a vicious test just to make sure you’re awake enough for the day, defrosting the car windscreen means you have to get up 15 minutes earlier than usual (later defrosting your fingers in front of the car heating system which only seems to get to an adequate temperature when it’s time to get out), commitment to after work plans dwindle as the call of the cosy slippers is too difficult to turn down and the transitional period from summer jacket to winter parka almost always means that on certain days, you’ll either be sweating or freezing as the weather decides if it’s getting cold or not yet.

But hey, don’t despair. I’ll admit, I love it, even with all of those negatives I listed above I still live for the colder weather! Though I do understand that some people actually just wait for these months to pass until Summer is back again and so I’m going to offer a helping hand (kinda), the helping hand comes in the form of five pieces of technology/design, which will make the cold life easier, I promise.

 

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1. Hot Rod Heated Travel Mug

Yeah, that’s right, a HEATED travel mug, running off the 12V power outlet in the car. What better way to get through those frosty mornings than to have a beverage which stays warm for the duration of your journey, well, unless you use public transport where this becomes irrelevant (sorry).

2. Nest Thermostat

This smart bit of tech, could save you from those reluctant cold shower departures and instead make getting out of the shower an easy, pain free experience. Nest learns your routine after only a week. If you like being cosy when your alarm goes off, but cooler while you’re sleeping, then Nest will learn. Being able to remotely control your central heating adds another layer of convenience and connectivity to modern day life, and is likely to even save you money.

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3. USB Toast Hand Warmers

If, like me, you always have cold hands, then this might just be the solution for you. Those times that even when the heating is on and the rest of you is toasty, you notice that you’re typing away and you’ve got ‘bath hands’ (the name I like to give to hands which are so cold that they’re wrinkling up like you’ve been in the bath for too long). Those times are the worst, but here is the solution. Voila.

4. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2

This 14MP camera is perfect for getting those snaps on freezing cold winter days. A very durable little camera which is waterproof and freezeproof making it the perfect winter device. This versatile piece of kit may be more willing to brave the elements than you are, but incase you get brave, it’s right there with you.

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5. Cuisinart Soup Maker

Winter just screams soup, and soup is just waiting to comfort us on those days when it’s so cold that we’re frozen to the core. Imagine a world though, where soup making requires no waiting around for the veg to cook, no messy transfer from the pan to the blender and pretty much no effort… this is a world I want to live in. Perfect for smoothies, ice crushing and making chutneys too, this is one multi-purpose blender!

 

 

 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

Designs in the Developing World

Designs in the Developing World

1. D-Rev Brilliance

Newborns are often born with jaundice, as the various systems designed to remove bilirubin from the body are not yet developed. There is often no cause for concern and often resolves itself naturally. However, over 6 million babies require treatment for severe jaundice each year, particularly in the developing world. Without receiving the treatment they need, resulting consequences can include disability or death. D-Rev’s ‘brilliance’ range are all low cost, high quality phototherapy devices, using UV light for treatment. So far, 1,168 units have been installed in 15 countries, 83,388 babies have been treated and 70,288 of those would have otherwise not received effective treatment. It is hoped that these machines will provide accessible treatments, significantly reducing the number of deaths and disabilities resulting from untreated jaundice.

2. Mazzi

Global Good – collaboration between Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures have created Mazzi to help smallholder dairy farmers and other low-income stakeholders in the dairy business to maximize their yield by reducing spillage and spoilage. The container is durable, and is made of food-grade plastic which can be dropped without breaking. The milking funnel attaches to the top of the container to help farmers capture the milk, identify signs of udder infection and reduce contaminants. Thanks to the sieve-like opening on the funnel, spills are limited if the container is kicked over or dropped.

3. Arktek

Vaccines are sensitive and can easily spoil if not kept at a precise temperature from manufacture to use. Preventable deaths are due to life-saving vaccines being hard to come by. Rural areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa are the most difficult to reach with vaccination due to poor infrastructure and unreliable power. Working with Intellectual Ventures Global Good program, scientists and engineers at IV lab have developed a device, which can keep vaccines cold with no need for external energy. The device, Arktek, can keep the vaccine at the appropriate temperature for a month or more by using insulation techniques similar to those used to store cryogenic fluids.

4. Pelican - Newborn Pulse Oximeter

In 2014, a campaign on Indiegogo raised over $20,000 to launch the creation of Pelicans pocket pulse oximeter, a tool to diagnose babies with pneumonia. In 2013, a UNICEF report revealed that the leading cause of child death worldwide is pneumonia. 1 in 4 childhood pneumonia deaths are newborns and newborn technology has been overlooked. A pulse oximeter is the best way to identify newborns in need of oxygen but most pulse oximeters are unsuitable for tiny newborns. Currently in design, here is an opportunity for a durable, affordable pulse oximeter capable of saving many, many newborn lives.

5. SALt – Sustainable Alternative Lighting

The majority of the 7000 islands in the Philippines don’t have access to electricity. SALt wants to eliminate the cost in areas that rely on kerosene/battery lamps and candles as their main sources of light. Powered by 1 glass of water and 2 tablespoons of salt, this product is environmentally friendly and safe to use, as there are no components that risk fire safety. Easy to use and if being used near the coastline, ocean water can also be used to power the lamp. This cost effective light source used for 8 hours a day with give a product life of 6 months, and using this as an alternative light source will increase product lifespan to 12 months or more.

6. Evaptainers

Electricity free mobile refrigeration technology to keep food fresher for longer, using only the sun and water. 45% of produce grown in Africa spoils before it reaches the consumer; the purpose of this product is to provide affordable refrigeration solutions to address the needs in developing markets. As this refrigeration runs only on sun and water, it is dependable without relying on costly infrastructure. The benefit of this product is that it will help small rural farmers to increase the percentage of their crops that get to market, thus improving their living standards.

7. Lifestraw

Using water filters and purifiers, Lifestraw makes contaminated water safe. Ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking and camping, this product requires no electricity or batteries. For every Lifestraw product purchased, one school child in a developing community receives safe drinking water for a school year. The ‘follow the liters’ program began in October 2014 in Kenya and provides students with safe drinking water in their schools by using Lifestraw purifiers.

8. SunSaluter

The SunSaluter is a solar panel, which rotates throughout the day to follow the sun. This method boosts efficiency by 30% and is 30% less expensive than conventional motorized solar panel rotators as well as being more reliable and consumes no electricity. Families without electricity often spend 10-20% of their income just on kerosene gas for light at night, which is both dangerous and inadequate and over 750 million individuals lack access to clean water. Combining solar energy with water purification makes perfect sense. The water acts as weight slowly draining through a filter all day, and collecting as clean, drinkable water in a sealed container. As the bottles get lighter, the solar panel rotates, following the sun and increasing efficiency.

 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

Apples big announcement

Apples big announcement

Was it all that we had hoped for?

My personal opinion is that yes, yes it was.

No, we didn’t get an iPhone 7 that some people thought we would, and we don’t have a screen which stretches from corner to corner or touch sensitive volume controls, or an iCar or an iPad the size of a car door (I digress) but what we do have, is exciting.

We probably got a bit ahead of ourselves with all of that anyway, so let’s put on the brakes and take a peak at what the new announcements actually were.

iPhone 6S & 6S Plus

·      12MP Camera

·      5MP Facetime

·      4K Video

·      Live Photos

·      3D touch (which looks super cool)

·      64 bit A9 chip

·      Advanced fingerprint sensor

·      Faster 4G and WIFI

·      iOS 9

·      A new colour (rose gold – little bit iffy on this, wish they’d just bring back pure black)

 

iPad Pro

·      A9X Chip

·      Two app multitasking

·      Four new high fidelity speakers

·      Smart Keyboard for iPad

·      Apple Pencil (Yeah, a Pencil… I’ll tell you more in a bit)

·      Touch ID

·      12.9 inch screen

 

The Apple pencil is a lot better than it sounds, I promise. So, this is for those of you out there that have been using the iPad and thought, I wish I had more precision. It’s true; sometimes we need the precision that our rounded fingers aren’t capable of. Even if it’s not precision which you’re after, the pencil is capable of so much more – reacting like a regular charcoal pencil would to pressure and tilt. With virtually no lag, you can take creative charge of what you want to create, and with a 12-hour battery life, you can keep creating for hours. 

 

Apple TV

·      Games and apps for TV

·      Redesigned interface

·      Siri Remote

·      Touch Surface Remote

All in all, it was a good, strong announcement from Apple with plenty to look forward to and some fab new tech coming along!

 

iPhone available 25.09

iPad Pro available in November

 

Tweet us, let us know what you think!

Written by

Katherine Thomson

 

Apple Iphone 6S? 7? 7 Plus?...

Apple Iphone 6S? 7? 7 Plus?...

 Oh lets face it, it could be anything...

Ahead of tomorrows announcement, lets take a look at what we know so far.

Apple is pretty good at keeping secrets when it comes to the release dates and specs of their new iPhones. Apple fans around the globe are eagerly waiting to see what the new technology will look like. Apple have a large and dedicated following and it’s not uncommon to hear of long queues forming outside big Apple retail stores or people camping for days to ensure a prime spot in the queue to get their highly anticipated new phone.

Tomorrow at 6pm, we finally get to see what Apple have been hiding from us for so long. So what will it be? Should we expect an iPhone 6S? Or are they skipping straight to a 7?

Rumour has it, that there will only be one iPhone launched. Apple have announced that the new iPhone will be significantly different and better than the iPhone 6 and so it is possible that they will skip straight past the 6S and instead call it the iPhone 7.

Great, an iPhone 7, but what will that actually mean? Well, predictions state that physically there will likely be two different sizes available, a 4.7-inch model and a 5.5 -inch model in space grey, gold, silver and maybe even rose. It is likely that it will be considerably thinner but also stronger than previous models so that there isn’t a repeat of ‘bendgate’. Internally, it is expected that Apple will announce a dual lens, 12Mp camera, capable of DSLR-like picture quality for the rear-facing camera and a hike in the front facing camera quality too. Expected to operate iOS 9, with features like battery saving mode to allow users to get an extra 3 hours out of their handset and a new maps update featuring public transport links. Visually, it’s not expected that the dreams of a curved display, or 3D screen will come true, however, the rumour of an edge-to-edge screen, don’t rule it out!

We can speculate and dream of the lovely new features that they might announce but the truth is, we won’t know until tomorrow at 6pm. Either way, they’re bound to announce something pretty special and rumour has it, that it might not even be the iPhone which is the star of the show.

Check back here on Thursday for a review of the announced product(s). 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

4 reasons to be excited about tech

4 reasons to be excited about tech

1 – Android M – Due for release in October/November on a new Nexus phone and then other Nexus devices. (Though not on other phones and tablets until a few months later). This update will focus heavily on bug fixes but their other announcements are particularly interesting. One of these announcements is ‘Doze’, a very intelligent battery saver that has the potential to double your battery life. This deep sleep state is only for devices running Android M, which uses motion detection to determine when a device is not in use. You will still receive important notifications but with the lengthened battery life, you’ll be able to receive them for longer without worrying about your battery! Android M will also standardise fingerprint sensors used to lock and unlock your phone, which will tie in nicely with the new Android pay system.

 

2 – iOS9 – The final version of iOS9 is expected to launch with the new iPhone (we’ll get on to that in a sec) expected in September and will be available on all devices which can run iOS 8. Siri is expected to be smarter, capable of rivaling Google Now, including being able to understand what you’re talking about in relation to the app you’re using, suggesting appointments to add to your calendar and perhaps the most promising is the location based knowledge. The smarter location knowledge means if you’ve been listening to audio in the car, it will bring up what you were listening to last time. Perhaps the best development for iOS 9 is that it will tell you when to leave for an appointment, rivaling Google’s app. Let down by battery life, iOS 9 will be no rival to Android M with only an extra hour of battery expected with Apples new low power mode.  

 

3 – iPhone 7? 6S? 6S Plus? 6C? – Likely to hit the market in September, the greatly anticipated new iPhone has already got people speculating about what to expect. It is thought that Apple will release two phones, perhaps even three with the potential to have a 6S, 6S plus and maybe even a 7. Chances are that the new iPhones won’t be different dimensions but will be slimmer. Battery life isn’t expected to be enhanced, however the introduction of iOS 9 will improve battery life on all iPhones. The iPhone camera is expected to be offering DSLR like picture quality. This will be a huge step as Apple continues to rival camera manufacturers and the iPhone Photography awards enter their 9th year.  The truth is, no one except Apple knows the full details just yet, but what is rumored is very exciting indeed!

 

4 – Oculus Rift – Okay so there’s no release date yet, and it is likely to be next year, but the prototypes are out and the reviews are more than positive. The Oculus Rift takes gaming to a whole new level and virtual reality is something which has baffled developers for the last 30 years. Virtual Reality has previously left users with motion sickness and headaches, which is something that had to be confronted when making a consumer product. Oculus, so far, seem to have achieved it with the Rift, which is a lightweight headset, with Velcro straps and soft materials, comfortable to wear. 

The general consensus is that Oculus Rift is going to be well worth the wait, and as creator Palmer Luckey stated during the Oculus conference, ‘this is only the beginning’.


Written by

Katherine Thomson

Animal Technology

Animal Technology

We make amazing advancements using technology. These technologies are not just for human benefits though, I’m going to look at how these advancements are used to save and enhance lives, everyday in our World.

Derby the dog is a heartwarming example showing that it’s not just humans reaping the benefits of 3D printing. Derby was born with two shorter, under-developed legs, which impacted his mobility. After being taken to the Peace and Paws Dog Rescue by his previous owners who could no longer care for him, Derby was fostered by Tara Anderson, director at 3D systems, a 3D printing company. After trialing a wheeled cart to aid his mobility, Anderson suspected her team of designers could do better. The designers at 3D systems began crafting a set of custom prosthetic legs that would help Derby to move more naturally and freely. After a few different trials, Derby was ready to try his finished set of prosthetics! Derby now runs freely using this technology and has newfound freedom of movement, the ability to run on concrete and the ability to play with other dogs too.

Bionics and prosthetics are changing the way we treat our best furry friends, with pioneering work-becoming mainstream and with shows like ‘Supervet’, we’re hearing about these procedures more and more.

It’s not just our pets that are benefiting from life-changing and life-saving treatments. Technology is helping to protect and save wild animals too.

Buttercup the duck was born with his foot turned backwards, which left him struggling to waddle. After being adopted by the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary, they enlisted the help of a 3D modeling company. Due to the flexibility needed in a ducks foot, 3D printing wasn’t an ideal way of making a foot for Buttercup, however it was possible to make a 3D printed mold in order to create a foot made from flexible Silicone instead. Buttercup waddled around fantastically with this foot, but struggled to swim, which is when a special swim foot was created for him. After some uncertainty, Buttercup began swimming effortlessly through the water, navigating no differently than the other ducks.  

In the wild, technology is helping to protect endangered species and is providing research about how we interact with them, in the hope of reducing human-animal conflicts. Smart Collars are a great development for endangered species as they use GPS and accelerometer technology to not only track the animals location, but to see how it is moving, when it is hunting and indeed, what it is hunting too. It is hoped that by using this technology we can better understand the animals and predict their behavior, and will hopefully be a complete game changer for how we interact with animals in the wild.

As technology gets smarter, humanities capabilities increase and with it our ability to help other species in the most unique way.


Written by

Katherine Thomson

Top ten Fathers Day gadget gifts

Top ten Fathers Day gadget gifts

Top ten gadget gifts to buy your dear papa for Fathers day.

(Or for anyone really, because I can assure you, they’re all super cool gift ideas!)

Father’s day has come hurtling around again and so the mission for a great present begins! With less than one week to go, I’m going to help all of you panicking people out there, who, like me, haven’t a clue what to buy.

1.    MiP

MiP is your very own little robot buddy; its motion is completely controlled by you and can even be controlled using GestureSense, meaning that you can control your robot remotely using your hand. MiP is balanced in the same way as a Segway is and is equipped with a carry tray, which can carry twice its weight. This is the ultimate gadget for those who want the ease of travelling the TV remote across the room or passing a fresh drink to their friend without needing to get up. This robot has its own built in emotions and personality so you need to be nice to it, or you’ll have to deal with one grumpy robot! For £89.99, you get a robot friend and carrying device all in one!

2.    Retro Touch Speaker 

You can never go wrong with a stylish retro gadget. At £29.99, this nostalgia-inducing speaker combines old and new seamlessly. Although it looks like it’s out of the 1970’s it is actually full of the latest tech. Not only is this cool little gadget only a speaker, it also acts as a stand for watching films on your phone or reading from recipes in the kitchen! (Just make sure to stand it in a safe place.) This Bluetooth free speaker won’t drain your phones battery. Instead using the latest near field audio technology, this speaker instantly amplifies your sounds so you can enjoy your music with a boost.

3.    Cycle Speaker 

Wires, wires, wires! They’re annoying aren’t they! Especially when trying to do something else, like cycling. With limbs and wheels flailing around, the last thing needed is a pesky wire getting caught up in the mix! That is where the Cycle Speaker steps in! This convenient speaker from Mayhem UK provides excellent sound quality in an innovative bottle shaped design, which fits securely onto the bikes drinks holder. For £11.99, this is the perfect Fathers day solution for all the outdoorsy dads out there who like to cycle to a beat! 

4.    SMART Rotating Stone Bake Pizza Oven

Is your Dad a Pizza fiend? Perhaps a man who knows a good pizza base when he see's one? Or just a man who is always searching for tasty, high quality, delicious baked goods?

This rotating pizza oven might just be the gift you’re looking for. With adjustable temperature settings, the oven absorbs heat and distributes it evenly to produce a perfectly crispy base and thoroughly cooked toppings. This brilliant little oven has an analogue timer and a viewing panel, so you can have a sneaky little peak at the pizza progress!

5.     Fitbit Flex

For the fitness fanatic dads, or for the dads who want to be. The Fitbit Flex is a great gadget, which can help transform fitness into a lifestyle. This sleek, stylish looking device, tracks movement throughout the day and counts your burnt calories. Wirelessly working with the Fitbit app, the user is in control of the personal fitness goal they want to set and achieve throughout the day. The light up display keeps motivation on track and helps to encourage movement.

6.    Star Theatre Planetarium

For £109.99, this planetarium is full to the brim of beautiful constellations and celestial movements, well, kind of anyway. The discs included with this planetarium display both stars and constellations so you can get a full picture of the night sky across your walls. You could hardly get a better view of the glorious night sky on your ceiling without ripping of the roof of your house, and this is arguably cheaper and easier.

Perfect for the stargazing dad!

7.    Arcane Arcade Table 

If you really want to splash out on your dad this fathers day, then why not get one of the coolest gifts ever, a huge gaming table with over 100 amazing games. At £4000 it doesn’t come cheap, but it would probably mean you would only need to worry about fathers day this year and then not have to think about it for the next 20 or so years!

Games are not all you get for your money though, take advantage of the 500GB hard disk and Ethernet ports and watch films, play music and even browse the internet on the built in LED flat screen. 

8.    M:Tech IMusic Pillow

For the Dad who likes sleeping to the soothing sounds of the ocean or to a bit of Metallica. This pillow for £16.99 offers all the musical solutions for sleep. Equipped with a 3.5mm stereo plug to allow the listener freedom of what device to listen to their music on, whether they want to listen through their phone, iPod, Mp3 player or radio. The removable wire means it’s safe and tidy when not in use. The perfect gift if they’d like a choice of silence when sleeping, or sounds.

9.    Haynes Classic Camera Kit 

A great gift for Photography Dad. This classic camera kit allows you to build your very own camera! Following the simple step by step instructions, you can build a twin lens reflex camera, enabling you use 35mm film to take retro style photos. For £24.99, this camera kit is brilliant for photography but also for the fun to be had by building, and assembling it yourself.

10.  Cheesy Boards – You Talkin’ To Brie?

Okay, sorry, this isn’t a tech gift. But as far as gifts go, if your Dad loves cheese (which a lot of dads seem to) then here is a practical gift. For £8.99, you can’t go wrong. What better way to serve up an assortment of cheese and grapes than on a board with a cheese pun? That’s right, there probably isn’t one.

 

I hope I’ve managed to shine some light on gift ideas for you. Whether you’re seeking a gift for Fathers day or someone else, these are ten gifts you can’t go wrong with!

 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

Which Fitness Tracker is right for me?

Which Fitness Tracker is right for me?

Here in the office we’re on a bit of a health kick. We've got someone using shakes, another working out at the gym, one of us is training for a triathlon, another doing a 5:2 diet and a couple of us are using fitness trackers.

I’m going to talk about Fitness trackers, because with so many wearable tech options out there, it’s hard to decide which one is right for you. So before you go and spend your money on something that might not actually best fit your needs. I’ve compiled a break down of what they can do, in one handy blog.

Lets start with the ever-popular Jawbone range of Fitness trackers. Offering a selection of products, which vary in price, they of course vary in capabilities too. I think that it’s a question of what you actually want to use your tracker for and what benefit you’re hoping to get out of it.  

The lower price end of the Jawbone range is the ‘UP move’.  For just £39.99, this tracker has a battery life of 6 months and comes in a variety of colours. The UP move is the perfect tracker companion if you want basic tracking. I like the options you get with this item as the clips allow you to choose where you want to wear it; on items of clothing or shoes but also with the option of a wristband clip too.

Allowing you to track calories burned, your sleep pattern and your daily activity, the Up move, offers a basic package of fitness tracking suitable for people who want to see how active they already are on a daily basis and also people want to increase their activity levels too.

In comparison the ‘UP24’ is the next model costing more than the Up Move and at £99 only offers slightly more than the move. Although the only additional features consist of Idle alert and the Smart alarm, I feel this product is aimed towards consumers who want something more visually pleasing than the Move but with similar capabilities. The band comes in 5 different colours and looks sleeker and less invasive compared to the Move.

The ‘UP 3’ is the newest member of the Jawbone family. For £149.99 this piece of tech offers a full fitness-tracking package. The design of the band is sleek and stylish, however it is only available in a choice of 2 colours. Along with movement tracking, the UP 3 allows users to also monitor their heart health and is able to automatically identify what exercise the user is doing using a built-in accelerometer and with sensors to identify patterns in movement. The added bonus of this product is that it is also water resistant up to 10metres, making it also suitable for swimmers.

Another swim safe product on the market is the Misfit Flash. This is the fitness tracker that I use, and haven’t taken off since I bought it 4 weeks ago. I adore my Flash and can only think of one critique of the product; that being that it seems to be about 15 minutes out of sync constantly.

At £49.99, the Flash is perfect for frequent swimmers as it is waterproof up to 30 meters and this was a key selling point for me. The device tracks your steps walked, calories burned and your sleep quality and duration with the added benefit of being able to track specific periods of exercise too.

At the higher end of the Misfit product price range, the ‘Misfit Shine’ is very similar to the Flash in terms of ability, however the Shine is the sleeker and slimmer version, waterproof up to 50 meters. The Shine beats the Flash with one stand out feature; how it syncs. The Shine syncs without the need for wires, or pairing with the Misfit app by being placed on your phones screen, which is a pretty unique feature, and also rather cool.

Fitbit have one of the largest ranges of Fitness trackers, with 6 products on offer.

I’m going to start with the ‘Fitbit Flex’, which is available for £79.99. This stylish looking product tracks your daily movement, calories burned and sleep quality while allowing you to check daily progress on the LED screen; each dot representing 20% of your goal. The Flex is perfect for people who are sat down a lot as the band reminds you to keep moving to keep you on track to reaching your daily goal.

Next in line is the ‘Fitbit Charge’, which David here at G2 is wearing. The Charge is available to buy for £99.99 and although the features are similar to the Flex, the Charge has some stand alone features making it a more desirable product for people who want a balance between activity and staying connected. The Charge displays incoming call notifications when your phone is nearby and also acts as a watch.

As well as tracking your movement, the Charge also tracks how many flights of stairs you have climbed daily and rewards you with Badges to celebrate fitness milestones.

 So there you have it, 6 of the most popular fitness trackers on the market right now.  

I think the Misfit Flash was the correct decision for me. I managed without it, but my activity levels have certainly been enhanced with it and I’d be quite lost without it now!

Although, after researching more into the Shine, I think it might be time for an upgrade soon!


Written by

Katherine Thomson