Hula is also hoping that it can help to reduce the risk of sex with people met through the proliferating location-based dating apps. Last month it announced that it was partnering with the gay dating app MISTER, which has a geolocator that helps men find other men by location. MISTER is currently publicizing the Hula service on its app and encouraging users to tap it to find local testing centers and obtain test results. MISTER is also encouraging users to link to Hula from within their profiles, making their test results available to online “friends.” Verified test results on gay sex apps would be a big change from current approaches, where it is common for individuals to self-report that they are HIV-free on their profiles. “In the not too distant future you’ll be able to see a badge on someone’s dating profile showing they’ve verified STD status by Hula,” says Hula founder and CEO, Ramin Bastani. “That can help you make better decisions about how you want to connect.”
For several years, technology has been moving away from skeuomorphism, the concept that the digital devices and technologies we interact with should mirror their real-life, physical analogues. The relative rigidity of hardware has given way to the flexibility of software--think of the decline of BlackBerry, with its many-buttoned devices, and the rise of the iPhone, an homage to the power of software idealized in a single pane of glass.
For Sean Follmer of the MIT Media Lab, that's a problem. "As humans, we have evolved to interact physically with our environments, but in the 21st century, we're missing out on all of this tactile sensation that is meant to guide us, limit us, and make us feel more connected," he told Fast Company. "In the transition to purely digital interfaces, something profound has been lost."
This week, Follmer, along with his colleague Daniel Leithinger and under the supervision of Professor Hiroshi Ishii, unveiled inFORM, a so-called 'scrying pool' that allows its user to interact with digital information in a tactile, three-dimensional way. Fast Company has the details:
The technology behind the inFORM isn't that hard to understand. It's basically a fancy Pinscreen, one of those executive desk toys that allows you to create a rough 3-D model of an object by pressing it into a bed of flattened pins. With inFORM, each of those "pins" is connected to a motor controlled by a nearby laptop, which can not only move the pins to render digital content physically, but can also register real-life objects interacting with its surface thanks to the sensors of a hacked Microsoft Kinect.
To put it in the simplest terms, the inFORM is a self-aware computer monitor that doesn't just display light, but shape as well. Remotely, two people Skyping could physically interact by playing catch, for example, or manipulating an object together, or even slapping high five from across the planet. Another use is to physically manipulate purely digital objects. A 3-D model, for example, can be brought to life with the inFORM, and then manipulated with your hands to adjust, tweak, or even radically transform the digital blueprint.
For now, inFORM might seem like mostly an academic novelty: cool to look at and think about but limited in its real-world applications. But as Follmer points out, the ingenuity of today often becomes the technology of tomorrow--and it can do so much more quickly than imagined:
"Ten years ago, we had people at Media Lab working on gestural interactions, and now they're everywhere, from the Microsoft Kinect to the Nintendo Wiimote. Whatever it ends up looking like, the UI of the future won't be made of just pixels, but time and form as well. And that future is only five or ten years away. It's time for designers to start thinking about what that means now."
inFORM really is one of those see-it-to-believe-it innovations--check out a video of MIT's demonstration of the new technology, AFTER THE JUMP...
Meet the Wildcat, a four-legged robot that can gallop, run backwards, bound, turn and run on flat terrain. One day developers hope to get it running quickly on all types of terrain.
The group behind the Wildcat — Boston Dynamics — is also the group that developed the 28 mile per hour Cheetah. But unlike the Cheetah, the Wildcat runs only 16 miles per hours and it is wirelessly controlled using a large powerful engine instead of an electrical plug to fuel its movements. In comparison, the fastest man in the world — Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt — can run a top speed of 23.7 mph and even then only in short bursts. Over long distances, the Wildcat would likely overtake Bolt.
The Wildcat is being developed under the U.S. Military Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program, a program dedicated to designing robots to "assist in the execution of military operations far more effectively across a far greater range of missions" than what present technology currently allows.
You can add this to the list of super-bots that will one day rule humanity including the cinder-block tossing robot dog, the robot sand fleas, the creepy robo-spider and the sneaky bots that cheats at rock, paper, scissors.
See the Wildcat in action AFTER THE JUMP...
There has been a lot of talk about Elon Musk's Hyperloop public transportation concept that would shuttle folks from NYC to LA in under an hour. The folks at 3-D printing company showed off the amazing stuff 3-D printing can do by building a scale model based on images released by Musk.
In related news, 3-D printing company MakerBoy has just opened up pre-orders for the first consumer Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner, a laser-equipped 3D scanner that allows you to easily convert real-life objects into 3D models. It retails for $1,400 and ships in mid-October.
Check both out, AFTER THE JUMP...
But now the company Robugtix has created a 3D-printable robot spider with 26 motors and a kinematics engine that help it move in eerily life-like ways with only simple remote commands. With this, the great robo-animal revolt against humankind crawls ever nearer.
The T8 robo-spider is only $1,350 — cheap! Plus, Robugtix also has a crab-like hexapod for you crustacean lovers out there.
See the T8 bust some moves, AFTER THE JUMP...