Discovering innovations that matter since 2002

More and more sectors are using the power of predictive technologies. Back in September, we wrote about this startup in the US that uses an algorithm to vet commercial lawsuits, providing finance to those with potential for success. Offering a similar application of big data to the legal services industry is Predictice, a startup that uses machine learning techniques for case law, allowing it to extract a statistical analysis of the outcome of litigation.

The world’s largest law firm, Dentons, has partnered with the French startup to develop software that helps to predict the likely course, cost, length and outcome of litigation based on historical court decisions. It allows advocates to know in advance the probable outcomes and make strategic adjustments accordingly. This can aid decision making such as prioritising certain arguments, or adjusting the compensation claimed.

Marie Bernard, Dentons’ director of innovation, said the system allowed the lawyer to price according to risk. Will this technology be adopted in other countries?

Designed by Dutch company Studio Roosegaarde, the Smog Free Project is intended to clean the air and decrease pollution levels within the surrounding environment. It functions similarly to the air-purifying architectural panels we covered a number of years ago, but with a fashionable twist.

The process begins with the Smog Free Tower. Mostly powered by wind, the Smog Free Tower uses the same amount of electricity as a water boiler and cleans 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour. Part of the studio’s social design focus, the Smog Free Tower was installed in Beijing, China, in September 2016, and is designed to inspire global partnerships for a smog free future.

The Tower “draws in” pollution using an electrical current to distribute positive ions into the air that attract harmful airborne particles. A negative charge inside the Tower then pulls the dirt in, leaving clean air behind.

The smog is then collected and compressed into tiny cubes, which are used in exclusive Smog Free Jewelry designs. The limited edition pieces include rings, cufflinks and cubes. The Smog Free Jewelry collection is available directly from the studio, with rings costing EUR 250.

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Turning pollution into usable items is proving a common creative solution, and we’ve already seen an ink made from car exhaust emissions. What else could smog be “recycled” into to help encourage similar initiatives?

Across the world, over 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, and Springwise has already covered a number of innovative solutions to try and reduce the amount headed to landfill. Regular readers may recall the Canadian enterprise that offered fair wages to employ litter pickers collecting waste plastics, and we’ve also seen transport companies lend a helping hand with metal waste, by offering free travel in exchange for recyclable beer cans. Now looking to apply a similar model to plastics, our Springspotters have recently unearthed Ciclo.

The Colombian enterprise works by offering the opportunity for people to exchange recyclable materials for top ups on their public transport travelcards. Users of the service are incentivised because of the opportunity to save money on their travel. As Medellín-based cofounders, Miguel Uribe and Luis Felip Restrepo explain, “A person who earns a minimum wage spends at least 15 percent of their income on transport.” The idea is that Ciclo drop-off points will be placed in various locations and stations across Medellin.

PET plastic (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is commonly used to make plastic bottles. In Colombia, 180 tonnes of PET are used annually, and only 25 percent is recycled. Could other cities follow suit with a similar system?

Visionect partnered with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Soofa to provide Boston with the latest sustainable, connected service for its citizens. The Soofa bench and sign both use Visionect’s e-ink and paper technology to provide live, local news. Both devices are solar-powered, and the bench provides two charging docks, with enough space for three people to sit. Both screens use 3G to receive information updates, are completely self-powered and quick and easy to install.

City officials now have a near-to-real time method for communicating with the public about a range of topics and events. Earlier in the year, the city installed its first solar powered, e-ink sign outside City Hall. This latest urban smart sign is located outside of Faneuil Hall in Samuel Adams Park. Soofa is a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab. The smart, solar powered device is also available as a stand-alone unit. Information is sent to the units through the Soofa dashboard, which provides analysis, hardware and software updates as needed.

Other spaces getting a sustainable news update include the backs of large trucks in Germany, and smart meeting room signs that sync with office calendars. Where else could e-ink and paper combine with real-time information updates for more efficient and sustainable processes?

Contact: hi@soofa.co

Using deep machine learning, Zebra’s algorithms are continually improving. The Israeli digital healthcare start-up has hundreds of thousands of anonymized medical scans for its artificial intelligence (AI) systems that facilitate learning, and for comparisons with new images. So far, the AI is capable of diagnosing conditions in bones, the heart, liver, lungs and breasts.

With human radiologists already under pressure due to growing demand, the Zebra team sees its service as an essential solution to an increasingly difficult situation. Thousands of mammograms are misread each year because breast tissue can be extremely varied, and when combined with time constraints on already busy healthcare professionals, this consistently adds stress to overstretched systems. Additionally, as the population continues to age, the burden on healthcare provision and providers will also increase. Currently, patients can upload two scans to Zebra for free. The company asks anyone interested in having more than two scans reviewed to contact the team.

At the moment, the service only supports analysis of CT scans. Future plans include developing the AI’s capabilities for handling other types of images. Technology is improving healthcare in a number of ways, including making it more accessible and safer. Using a smartphone, patients can now test for anemia without needing to draw blood. And a research team has developed a method for 3D printing multiple doses of medicine in a single capsule. What other aspects of everyday healthcare could use a technology update?

Researchers from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), and the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute created an efficient, energy converting paint. By utilizing the waste heat generated by a variety of sources, thermoelectric materials create sustainable electricity.

The problem with current thermoelectric devices is their angular shape. When placed on the frequently curved objects that generate waste heat, a considerable amount of resources is wasted. Thermoelectric paint, on the other hand, particularly when brushed on, produced a consistently high output of power. The authors of the study believe that large-scale application of the paint, on structures such buildings, cars and ships, could produce “huge” amounts electricity from what would otherwise be wasted heat. It even has a potential use in wearables.

Scientists working to find new ways to make sustainable energy more powerful have created a method for boiling water using daylight and bubble wrap,and printed photovoltaic ink onto a solar cell to make energy producing photographs. How could these new combinations be made for useful for cities or industries?

As well as eliminating the panicky feeling of not knowing whether an appliance has been turned off or not, Wonder Tech Lab’s Switch Bot helps make life easier in general. Once users download the app, available for both iOS and Android, the Internet of Things capability of the robot means any number of bespoke actions can be created. Lights can be controlled while still in bed, and the coffee pot can be programmed to turn on as soon as the morning alarm goes off.

Switch Bots are attached to switches and buttons using mounting tape, that still allows for manual control. If wireless connectivity is unavailable, users can communicate with the bots using Bluetooth, and each bot is connected to the others in the network. Currently raising funds on Kickstarter, the first shipments of the mini robot are planned for March 2017.

Robots continue to shrink in size while growing in capability. Indoor flying robots help manage warehouse inventory, and a small robotic hand can perform abdominal surgery. Where else could robots help make connectivity even more efficient?

Podcasts have been around for years, but their popularity has recently exploded — listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016, with 64% of podcasts are being listened to on a smartphone or tablet. As listening increases, audiences have become more discerning about the content they choose and a number of innovations have sprung up in response to this. One such example is a service that analyses a user’s tweets to recommend podcasts that match their profile. Now, Pendelpoddar is another recommendation service, but works using a different metric — journey time.

The Swedish construction and civil engineering company PEAB have developed this free service to highlight Stockholm’s proximity to new residential area, Nya Råsunda. Users enter the details of their journey by destination, origin and mode of travel. In response, the site generates a list of podcast episodes that match their journey time.

Although the service currently only operates in Sweden, is this time-based format a trend that will spread to other countries?

The uptake of smart glasses may have been limited by imposing styles and their obvious presence, making others uncomfortable. Following other trends we’ve seen that involve making technology fit seamlessly into a user’s style, such as smart fabrics that could be woven into clothes to turn garments into electricity generators, users can now reap the benefits of smart glasses without incurring any negative fashion points.

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Vue’s smart glasses come in two styles (classic or trendy) plus sunglasses, and can fit prescription lenses. The bluetooth-enabled frames sync up to smartphones via an app so that users can take calls, listen to music and set reminders. Audio is produced via bone conduction, through a ridge that sits against the user’s ear. This allows user’s to listen to music while, for example, cycling safely, and prevents others from overhearing. The side of the frames provide a tactile control surface, for taking/receiving calls and skipping tracks with a tap, and a subtle LED flashes when notifications are received. The Vue glasses, which are charged wirelessly in a case that provides a week of battery life, are currently undergoing a crowdfunding campaign on kickstarter, and will be available in summer 2017.

An open API will enable third party developers to add features onto the Vue glasses — what else could smart glasses offer?

If you’re making a film on a budget, finding the right location can be difficult. Existing location services are often expensive. Now, new startup GETset, encourages anyone and everyone to upload their office, home or studio onto the platform, offering a wider variety of locations at more reasonable prices.

GETset aims to be the Airbnb for film locations. Users can rent out their home, shop, treehouse or shed to music video directors, independent filmmakers, tv companies and even Hollywood, and earn money. Those renting out their space, set their own price, taking into account the size of the location, parking, and whether it’s rare or sought after. The idea was born when founder, Jonny Wright, was looking for a location for a short film he was making, but found what was on offer beyond budget and ‘too shiny and new’.

Sign up is free, and there are hundreds of locations already on the site. As sharing economy platforms explode, Springwise has seen numerous innovations designed to be the Airbnb of something, for billboards and for deliveries. Is there anything that is yet to have the sharing economy model applied to it?