Create the Future. Today

We’ve already seen how biometric technologies can help bring banking to illiterate users with NCR’s Pillar ATMs, and now we’re seeing how that same technology can be put to use in a different scenario. Specifically, in times of disaster, cardless banking ensures consumers can still access their accounts. Inspired by just that need, Japan’s Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank will soon roll out a line of ATMs that scan users’ palms and require no external form of identification. Whereas most existing biometric ATMs still require authentication using a bank card, Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank’s devices will not. Rather, users of the bank’s new ATMs will register ahead of time at a local branch with their palm print and other key information. Then, to use one of the devices they’ll need only enter their birth date and a four-digit PIN along with having their palm scanned, according to a Nikkei report. The new technology will reportedly be installed at ten banks and a drive-through ATM in September. We’ve also seen cardless banking via mobile phone, of course, but Ogaki Kyoritsu’s initiative goes a step further by completely removing the need for any additional cards or devices. Banking entrepreneurs around the globe: what about you? Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann Hotels today are offering unprecedented services to set themselves apart, and just recently we’ve seen examples including a “soap concierge,” an animal psychic, and in-room perfume service, to name just a few. The latest spotting? At London’s Kensington Hotel, “Petite Etiquette” lessons now aim to teach basic table manners to children. Having run just twice so far, the Petite Etiquette program targets children between five and ten years of age with dinner etiquette instruction. Specifically, the free hour-long classes are designed to help parents by teaching kids a variety of “easy-to-learn tips and tricks,” the hotel says. Manners expert Jean Broke-Smith is the instructor, and she offers pupils guidance on matters including posture, how to hold a knife and fork properly, and the importance of “please” and “thank you,” according to a recent Telegraph report. The Kensington Hotel plans to host its Petite Etiquette classes on a regular basis during school half-terms and holidays subject to demand, it says. Hoteliers around the globe: how about you? Spotted by: Florent Lesauvage We’ve already seen fabrics that purify the air and tags that neutralize body odors, so it seems only natural that the next step should be undergarments made from such materials. Sure enough, new from Japanese firm Goldwin is MXP underwear, a new line of underclothes based on a fabric that uses nanotechnology to combat body odor. MXP, short for “Maxi Fresh Plus,” fabric can eliminate 99 percent of the odor caused by perspiration as well as 88 percent of body odors in general, Goldwin says. Now included in the company’s line of undergarments made from the fabric are men’s underpants that have already been tested in the International Space Station, the company says. Priced at JPY 4,095 is the MX21210, for example, a standard-length pair of boxer-style shorts, while the JPY 4,725 MX21214 features a longer leg. A pillowcase made from MXP fabric is apparently available as well. The video below (in Japanese) explains the MXP premise in more detail: Goldwin’s products are currently available only within Japan, according to its website. One to partner with for distribution in other parts of the world? Spotted by: H.T. If UV light can effectively destroy the viruses and bacteria in unsafe drinking water, it stands to reason that it could be applied to other germ-ridden aspects of life as well. Enter PhoneSoap, a forthcoming new device that sanitizes the user’s cell phone while it charges during the night. Inspired by the fact that one in six phones have been found to have fecal matter on them, PhoneSoap is a small box that can simultaneously charge and sanitize a cell phone using UV-C light. The device consists of a box with UV lights on two sides of its interior for simultaneous cleansing of both the top and bottom of a phone. After plugging the device into the mains, users can use it briefly just to sanitize their phone, or they can plug in their phone using the the micro USB or Apple 30-pin USB cord provided to charge it at the same time. Three to five minutes of UV exposure is enough for complete sanitization, and there’s no heat or liquid involved. With a short wavelength that is 99.9 percent effective at killing bacteria and viruses, UV-C light is completely safe for humans, PhoneSoap’s Utah-based maker says. The video below explains the premise in more detail: PhoneSoap is currently available for preorders on Kickstarter at a price of USD 39, with delivery expected in August. Having already exceeded its pledge goal, the project will be funded early next month. Mobile-minded entrepreneurs: one to get involved in early? Spotted by: Eric Tan It’s always disappointing to head out to warmer climes only to find the weather isn’t quite as expected. Hoping to cater for tourists who aren’t fussy about where they go on holiday provided it’s sunny, Leads2Travel has launched a new website – WaarSchijntdeZonWel.nl – which enables visitors to search for locations based on weather conditions. Similar in concept to Spain’s Spotfav – which uses webcams and crowdsourced reports to show which coastlines are currently experiencing good weather – the Netherlands-based site offers users the option to search for all destinations between their minimum and maximum preferred temperatures. Translated as ‘Where The Sun Shines’, WaarSchijntdeZonWel.nl obviously can’t guarantee great weather, but a search engine based on temprature increases the likelihood of sunshine at the chosen location. The site also offers recommendations based on historical data and gives a monthly ‘Sunfactor’ rating to each area so visitors are able to easily compare and contrast. WaarSchijntdeZonWel.nl has incorporated a feature that taps into an important factor for holidaymakers when deciding on a trip abroad. It is currently only offering travel options from the Netherlands. Perhaps this is one to replicate in your part of the world? Just as sites such as Brayola have used the crowds to help women find recommendations for bras, now a new site is providing hints at the most popular color choices in three European cities. The Pimkie Color Forecast analyzes webcam footage to provide infographics detailing current trends in Paris, Milan and Antwerp. With the help of interactive artist and software developer Pedro Miguel Cruz, France-based fashion retailer Pimkie has set up webcams in the “most fashionable” areas of the three cities, the images from which are then put through a computer program. The program isolates the pixels that represent people by monitoring their motion over time – the environment stays still but people move across the image space. The color of these pixels is then logged and the data is organized and presented in an easy-to-understand way to visitors of the Color Forecast. Users can watch the live feed, see the most popular shades at different times of the day, week or month (in bar chart or pie chart form), or check Pimkie’s clothes recommendations for each city based on its most popular color. These recommendations can then be purchased through the Pimkie store. The video below explains more about the process behind the site: The fashion industry is full of opinions on the latest trends, but the Color Forecast provides digestable information based on actual data from the street, as well as providing a unique way to engage customers for the brand. Retailers, could you take inspiration from Pimkie’s lead? We’ve already seen marketers rewarding the crowds for spreading the word about their product with California-based fashion brand Volga Verdi, which offers its Twitter-using customers discounts based on their number of followers. Taking a different approach to that concept, buzzdoes is a feature that pays smartphone and tablet users to suggest apps to friends. Companies registering with the startup can add a button to their app which makes it easy for existing users to pass on a recommendation to a friend. The button, which can be customised to fit with the style of the app, takes the user to a list of their phone or social network contacts. Once the suggestion has been sent, the user is returned to the app. buzzdoes aims to make the recommendation process as simple as possible to ensure that user experience is not affected. Sharers who succeed in getting their friends to download the app are rewarded with cash, vouchers, free apps and other prizes courtesy of the startup. Developers pay for each new download they gain, meaning that the cost of each campaign reflects its success. Developers can also earn money from downloads of other apps that come about as a result of the buzzdoes button in their app. buzzdoes is currently offering a free package, which allows for up to 100 successful recommendations, alongside three paid options – Basic, at a setup cost of USD 69.90 for 300 recommendations, Pro, at a setup cost of USD 209.90 for 1,000 recommendations, and Enterprise, at a setup cost of USD 1,190 for 7,000 recommendations. As any good marketer knows, there’s nothing quite like a trusted recommendation from a friend to help spread a brand’s name, and buzzdoes’ model helps incentives these recommendations. Could your business harness reliable recommendations between trusted sources in a similar way? Contact: info@buzzdoes.com For years now it’s been common for those travelling abroad to ask friends whether they would like anything brought back from their destination. Hoping to open this system of privately run imports and exports up to a far wider network, citizens can now request that incoming tourists bring hard to get hold of items from outside their own country through PleaseBringMe.com. The Turkey-based site has a simple layout, with two options to click on depending on whether the user would like something brought in or are planning to visit a different country. Those heading abroad can fill in a form explaining where they are travelling from and to, the dates of their trip, and what they will be willing to bring with them. Locals wanting an item from elsewhere can pick their location and requested object, as well as what they are willing to offer in return. This can range from cash to a tour of the area, an item of similar value, or an offer of a meal. Alternatively, tourists can offer to bring something as a gift, with no repayment expected. Each post is then advertised on the site in a similar fashion to a bulletin board. PleaseBringMe.com aims to help users receive items that may be expensive or difficult to import. It could also contribute to reducing carbon emissions through travel by combining tourist and courier journeys. Much like craigslist, Gumtree and similar services, PleaseBringMe.com is an online platform for arranging real-world interactions, but shifts the regional aspect to a more global approach. A supply-demand model that could be adapted specifically for businesses? The advent of mobile technology has lead to a huge increase in the amount of time consumers spend connected to the internet and, as a result, there is an ever growing need to bridge the gap between their online and offline lives. This is why we’ve seen ways to represent consumers’ Facebook interactions in physical, glossy pages, for example. It’s also the reason behind Stitchtagram, a site that creates hand-sewn pillows featuring photos from Instagram. Created by a brother-sister team from Washington, D.C., Stitchtagram hand-sews its 15-inch pillows to feature customers’ best and favorite Instagram photos. Users begin by logging in via Instagram and choosing the photos they’d like included; a layout tool makes arrangement easy. From there, photos are digitally printed on a linen-cotton canvas, with an envelope-style dark navy fabric for the pillow’s backing. The company explains: “It’s a shame when great and memorable photos fall off your Instagram feed, never to be seen again. Our pillows let you keep your photos alive by bringing them out into the real world, to be enjoyed every day. These are going to last longer than your iPhone, and are much more comfortable to take a nap on.” Pricing on Stitchtagram’s pillows is USD 95.50 plus shipping. Consumers may now spend a significant bulk of their time online, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to integrate that online world with their offline lives. What can your brand do to help? New technologies are constantly being developed with the aim of improving mobility for those with paralysis and we’ve already seen add-ons for the traditional wheelchair such as Japan’s standard-to-electric converter, WHILL. Arriving with an entirely new concept however is Turkey-based AMS Mekatronic with the Tek RMD, a ‘Robotic Mobilization Device’ which enables paraplegic people to sit or stand with no outside help. The Tek RMD is a motorized vehicle that is mounted from the back. This is to avoid the user having to throw their body weight in order to transfer themselves into a chair, which can be dangerous and uncomfortable. The user can remain seated while they strap themselves into the new device and easily pull themselves onto it with the help of gas spring balances. Although this is not the first invention to help disabled people stand, it has made some vital improvements in terms of posture and economy of size, according to the company. Existing technologies require the use of canes or walkers, meaning that the user cannot use their hands easily while standing, whereas the Tek RMD frees the hands completely. The body is also kept in a fully upright position and balance is maintained. Once in a standing position, users can move around much like they would on a Segway. The device measures 36 cm wide and 62 cm long, making it slimmer than the traditional wheelchair at 60 cm wide. No hints have been given as to when the product will be hitting the market, or how much it will cost, but the video below shows the machine in action: The Tek RMD gives disabled people scope for independence — hoping to provide ease-of-use and an improved lifestyle. Perhaps a partnership could ensure that AMS Mekatronic can get their invention to market? Spotted by: Kate Permut