​Analogue Living

Device turns playgrounds into a controller for video games

From Spain, HYBRIDPLAY has developed a smart clip that connects any playground to smartphone games, requiring kids to be physically active to complete each level.

One of the main complaints parents have about today’s kids is that, rather than going outside to play with their friends, they’d rather sit and play computer games. As well as annoying the older generation, it’s also not all that healthy. Unfortunately, kids’ love for video games is something that’s here to stay. In the past, we’ve seen Loop use smart sensors and audio feedback to make outdoors play more like an Xbox game. Now Spain-based HYBRIDPLAY has developed a smart clip that connects any playground to smartphone games, requiring kids to be physically active to complete each level.

The system consists of two parts — the smart clip and the HYBRIDPLAY app. Designed to work out of the box, the clip can simply be placed on any piece of playground equipment, such as a see-saw, slide or swing. The device has a built-in accelerometer and an infra-red sensor that can detect the activities being performed. The app features a catalog of different games, ranging from classic titles like Pong and Pacman to the company’s own Space Kids adventure game and various puzzles. For each one, kids’ activity in the playground determines what happens in the game. For example, one requires players to swing in sync with the game in order to help the character collect pieces of a puzzle. Another gets kids to work together on a spring rocker to direct a rocket through space and avoid asteroids.

Watch the video below to learn more about HYBRIDPLAY:

HYBRIDPLAY matches the physical exertion of outdoors play with the mental challenges of video games to ensure kids are exercising both at the same time. The developers are currently seeking funding through Indiegogo, where backers can get the full Hybrid Play kit for USD 99. The campaign runs until 28 November. Are there other ways to leverage the popularity of video games to get kids outdoors?

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Site challenges users to put money where their mouth is

Go Fucking Do It is a platform that motivates people to achieve life goals and deadlines by forcing them to pay up if they miss their targets.

Procrastination can turn those with optimistic big ideas into a ball of self-hate when it stops them realizing their dreams. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of negative reinforcement to scare people into bettering themselves. That’s the premise of Go Fucking Do It, a platform that motivates people to achieve life goals and deadlines by forcing them to pay up if they miss their targets.

The site is the brainchild of blogger Pieter Levels, who calls himself a digital nomad and aims to launch 12 startups in 12 months while on the road. Go Fucking Do It is the second, and aims to motivate people to complete tasks or achieve life goals. This could be finishing a college paper, starting a blog or running a marathon. The catch is that if they don’t do what they said they would, they pay a fine. Users log their target and deadline, and set the fee they’re willing to pay — up to USD 1000 if they wish — along with their bank details. They then choose a friend or family member to act as a referee. On the deadline date, the referee is contacted by Go Fucking Do It and asked to confirm if the goal has been completed. If not, the money is delivered to the startup to spend as they wish — the site says that sending the money to charity gives users an easy pass if they don’t reach their target. 

Although we’ve also already seen the Pavlok wristband deliver electric shocks whenever wearers fail to meet their goals, it’s open to debate whether penalties such as these actually achieve results. Are there other ways to prompt people into positive action?


Marketplace for event spaces offers islands and yachts for rent

Japanese startup SpaceMarket is aiming to be Airbnb for events and corporate functions, hoping to open up any space for any purpose.

Airbnb has turned asset sharing into a mainstream concept, and it boasts around 800,000 private rooms that are now open for the public to rent out. As well as making money for property owners, its key differential in the marketplace is providing a unique experience for travelers. Following its lead, Japanese startup SpaceMarket now wants to do the same thing for events and corporate functions, aiming to open up any space for any purpose.

Much like its travel accommodation forebear, Spacemarket enables those with any kind of venue to list it on the site in order to let others rent it out for their own events. With a focus on luxury and unusual spaces, it currently provides more than 775 spaces for business to use for anything from meetings, training courses or creative getaways. These include an array of unique settings, such as unused sailing vessels, heliports, baseball grounds, old Japanese-style houses in an historic village, and even an uninhabited island.

The company recently secured JPY 100 million in funding, which it plans to use to develop apps and acquire more venues, in addition to providing a concierge service. Are there other ways to leverage unique goods that the average consumer or business would otherwise not have access to?


Camera-embedded sports kits bring first person POV to all sports

Spanish tech company First V1sion has created sportswear that features an integrated camera to show real-time action from the athlete’s point of view.

Newly affordable tech such as the GoPro camera or HEXO+ autonomous sports drone has changed what we expect from action footage. Yet coverage of sports such as soccer, tennis and basketball often still use the same distant shots to show fans what’s going on. Spanish tech company First V1sion is aiming to change this, with sportswear that features an integrated camera to show real-time action from the athlete’s point of view.

While competitors in motor racing or extreme sports are able to attach a camera to their cars or gear to offer interesting viewpoints to bring the audience into the action, the same isn’t true for individual and team-based sports where extra equipment would be detrimental to their game. First V1sion’s sports gear integrates a lightweight camera located at chest height. This allows those in athletics, soccer, basketball, tennis, and almost any other sport to capture high definition footage and have it instantly broadcasted. The kit also includes pulsemeter and accelerometer to provide more real-time statistics that can be delivered through broadcasts. These combined technologies make the broadcasts more engaging for the viewer, dragging them into the action. For instance, rather the audience could see exactly what Messi sees before he takes a World Cup penalty, or be used to confirm refereeing decisions for foul play.

The system makes sports broadcasts more engaging for the audience by capturing footage never available before. Are there other technologies that could bring audiences at home closer to the action on the sports field or at other live events?



Device lets gyms offer fitness tracking as a service

Gymtrack is a system that lets venues provide wearable trackers and virtual personal training for members each time they workout.

The wearable health-tracking market is bigger than ever and consumers can now even take advantage of apps such as FitStar, that lets them get personalized fitness training at home. However, not everyone can afford their own gadgets and the gym is still a popular meeting place for likeminded exercise enthusiasts. Gymtrack is a system that lets venues provide wearable trackers and virtual personal training for members each time they workout.

When gym members arrive at the venue, the Gymtrack wristband can be handed over and synced with the customer’s smartphone. The NFC-enabled wearable features sensors to track activity, much like other fitness wristbands, and also communicated with smart modules located on weights and other gym equipment. The system detects the type of exercise that’s being performed and notifies members of their performance at their last attempt through their headphones. The audio feedback also guides users through exercises and creates personalized workout plans based on their abilities.

Gymtrack offers its app as both an iOS or Android download and website to check up on their progress over time. While pricing isn’t public yet, according to the company there’s a per user, per week fee, plus an initial setup fee. Motion-tracking bracelets are sold to gyms for USD 50, and can be retailed by gyms to members for USD 100 for those who want to keep theirs. Gymtrack gives gyms a new service to offer to their customers while at the same time tapping the existing wearable health-tracking market. Can you think of any other services gyms can offer to improve the experience of working out?


In Brazil, soccer pitch floodlights are powered by players’ energy on the field

Shell’s Morro da Mineira Project has opened a soccer pitch in the favelas that captures the energy of players and uses it to sustainably power floodlights at nighttime.

Community sports facilities are vital to provide a space for communities to come together and keep fit, but they cost money to run and the resources aren’t always there to keep them in good shape. This is especially the case in Brazil, where the country’s disconnected communities where public spaces aren’t lit up at night, rendering them unusable. In Rio de Janeiro, soccer legend Pelé recently helped launch Shell’s Morro da Mineira Project has opened a soccer pitch in the favelas that captures the energy of players and uses it to sustainably power floodlights at nighttime.

Located in the Morro da Mineira favela, the pitch has long been a popular practice space for kids in the neighborhood. It’s now been renovated with tiles located underneath the surface that become charged when a force is placed upon them. Throughout the day, the energy of the players using the field is captured and stored as electricity, while solar panels also collect the sun’s energy. Previously, kids had to stop playing when night fell, but the new system is now used to power floodlights that make the space safe even when it’s dark. The community benefits from extended access to the resource, keeping kids healthy and out of trouble, while avoiding the high bills that typically come from non-renewable power.

We’ve already written about Cablean Sportveld, a sports pitch in the Netherlands that turns into a giant solar panel when not in use. Are there other ways to sustainably power community spaces?


Live yoga instruction streamed into the home

Finland’s Yoogaia is enabling anyone with a webcam to join in yoga classes and receive guidance from the comfort of their own living room.

Gym memberships are often prohibitively expensive, and those wanting some instruction can find themselves paying even more money. However, online video platforms are now making it easier — and cheaper — to connect with experts remotely. We’ve already written about Peloton, an exercise bike for the home that streams live spinning sessions. Now Finland’s Yoogaia is enabling anyone with a webcam to join in yoga classes and receive guidance from the comfort of their own living room.

Yoogaia offers a number of interactive classes led by expert instructors, ranging from yoga, pilates, core and kettle bell sessions. Members can pay EUR 10 a week or EUR 70 a year’s membership, which grants them access to as many live classes as they like. Users can browse the online schedule to see when live classes are taking place, and if they miss one they can watch the recording. When in a live session, members have the option of sharing their webcam with the instructor, who can then offer real-time feedback. Available in Finland, Hong Kong, the US and UK, most classes are currently in Finnish but the company is working hard to increase its English offerings.

Bringing gym sessions into the home means that people can more easily fit yoga classes into their lives while also saving money. Are there other kinds of teaching and advice that could be streamed into the home in this way?


Virtual customer service uses AI to detect human emotion

IPsoft’s Amelia is an AI customer service agent that can accurately detect the mood of the customer to better deal with their request.

Dealing with the customer support department of many companies can be an infuriating task — as a recent viral recording of a Comcast call demonstrated pretty perfectly. But can digital alternatives offer an improvement? IPsoft’s Amelia is an AI customer service agent that can accurately detect the mood of the customer to better deal with their request.

While many businesses have already experimented with artificial intelligence for online web support, it can soon become very obvious when the ‘agent’ doesn’t respond in an appropriately emotional way, especially if the request is an angry one. Amelia is able to process the natural language of both business manuals and the customer in need of support. Not only can it search those business guides and the web for information to help each customer, but it also tracks their mood and other contextual data. This way, if a customer is unhappy, Amelia tailors its support to offer greater reassurance and works to ensure customers end the call in a better mood. If in any case the issue isn’t resolved, Amelia passes the call or chat onto a human. All communication is stored so Amelia can pick up each case with reference to any previous contact.

Detecting customers’ feelings and responding appropriately could make online helpdesks even more like face-to-face support, while helping reduce the burden of customer service teams on businesses. Are there other ways this type of mood-detecting technology could help digitize human responsibilities?


Service taps communities’ unused storage space

For homeowners who can’t afford to use self storage services, Roost is a peer-to-peer platform that lets them find and rent storage space from others in their neighborhood.

In financially unstable times, more people are looking to take advantage of the sharing economy to save money on goods and services they only use occasionally. We recently wrote about Canada’s Kitchen Library, which gives consumers low-cost access to otherwise expensive cooking equipment. For homeowners who can’t afford to use self storage services, there’s now Roost, a peer-to-peer platform that lets them find and rent storage space from others in their neighborhood.

The service provides a marketplace for homeowners to advertise any extra space they have at their property, connecting them to local residents in need of storage. Through the Roost web app, user can search by size and storage type, as well as check profile information, ratings and reviews. With Roost Guarantee, items have basic insurance but the company recommends that users check with homeowners or insure their goods. In the future, the company is also planning to include background checks using SterlingBackcheck. Space can be rented at a minimum payment of USD 5 a day, of which Roost takes 15 percent of the transaction.

Watch the video below to learn more about Roost:

Roost helps neighborhoods open up private space for community purposes, enabling residents to take advantage of cheaper storage facilities close to home, as well as meet their neighbors. Although these types of businesses must be careful to ensure that shared assets are insured against damage, are there other commodities that could be pooled to benefit the community?


App offers travel recommendations based on time of year

What’s It Like is an app that aims to let users simply choose the time they’re looking to get away in order to receive a suggestion that’s perfect for the time of year.


Travelers are always looking for suggestions as to where in the world they should visit next. We previously wrote about the Hitlist app which even makes the decision for them based on their social media profile. However, recommendations for any location may be better at one time of the year but not so good at others. What’s It Like is an app that aims to let users simply choose the time they’re looking to get away in order to receive a suggestion that’s perfect for the time of year.

For those with holiday time availble in early September, it may be no use trying to catch the Northern Lights in Norway as they’re best in late December. However, they might be just in time to catch the famous New England fall or the Whale Festival in South Africa. Users of What’s It Like will be able to enter in their dates of travel and receive a number of recommendations for destinations where they’ll be right on time to witness a natural phemonenon or annual activity. Still in beta at the moment, the startup is currently collecting information to drive its suggestions, as well as travel experts to advise travelers. 

The app aims to make the limited time workers have off for exploring the globe more fruitful by ensuring they don’t miss out on what the world has to offer in limited timeframes. Are there other aspects of trips abroad that comparison sites can use to recommend the best options for travelers?


Visual recognition app acts like Shazam for furniture

LikeThat Decor is a visual search app that will present consumers with items similar to those featured in photos they upload

With thousands of furniture catalogs being pushed into mailboxes everyday, alongside endless images of aspirational lifestyle apartments in the media, it’s perhaps inevitable that today’s consumer is more paticular than ever when it comes to interior design. In an effort to help them source exactly the right item, LikeThat Decor is a visual search app that will present consumers with items similar to those featured in photos they upload.

To get started consumers can either select an item of furniture from the app’s built in gallery, or upload their own picture — either a photo they have taken themselves or an image from the web (most likely Pinterest or Tumblr). The app then analyses the image and presents the user with similar and complementary items — drawn from the app’s extensive database of millions of products from thousands of top furniture brands. After the consumer has found an item they like, they can click to make a purchase directly from the retailer. 

Both the website and iOS app are free of charge and an Android version will be released later this year. Are there any other departments where visual recognition could aid search in a meaningful way?


Smart power adaptors track seniors’ daily routines to make sure they’re ok

Evermind is a new system which tracks the seniors’ use of home devices so that relatives can be alerted to breaks in routine.

The population of the elderly is growing, and along with it the strain on nursing homes. Even if some seniors value the independence of living in their own home, they can still worry about the lack of help if an accident happens. We’ve previously written about Amulyte, a wearable emergency assistance button that helps seniors let family and caregivers know if they’re in trouble, wherever they are. While this could help the elderly lead more active lives, it comes with the price of having to wear it constantly. Evermind is a new system which tracks the seniors’ use of home devices so that relatives can be alerted to breaks in routine.

The system works through the use of power adaptors equipped with sensors that can be plugged in to any home socket. The devices detect when an appliance — whether it’s a microwave, coffee maker, TV, or electronic garage door — is operated. The data is then sent to relatives or caregivers over the home’s wifi network in the form of SMS or email notifications. The alerts give carers an indication of the daily routines of the homeowners. If there’s any activity that doesn’t fit the routine — for example, the garage door is still open at night, or the coffee maker hasn’t been activated in the morning — seniors can be contacted or visited to make sure they’re ok. They can also track longer usage trends through the Evermind website.

The basic Evermind package includes 3 sensors and comes at a price of USD 199, along with a monthly subscription fee of USD 29. Are there other ways to help people keep track of loved ones without encroaching on their independence?


Sleeping bag is a portable incubator for premature babies

Stanford University graduates have developed Embrace Warmer, a temperature-controlling sleeping bag that can prevent hypothermia in premature babies.

Millions of prematurely born babies in developing countries die each year because of a lack of access to hospital incubators that the western world takes for granted. By providing adequate warmth in the first few days after birth, the rate of survival could be much higher. A group of Stanford University graduates is hoping to tackle this problem with the Embrace Warmer, a temperature-controlling sleeping bag that can prevent hypothermia in premature babies. 

The device essentially takes the form of synthetic swaddling for babies, complete with velcro fasteners to keep it securely wrapped around the newborn baby. Each kit also comes with an AccuTemp heater and a WarmPak warming pad. After babies are strapped into the Warmer, it emits heat at the optimum temperature to keep them warm. It monitors their temperature to adjust the heat, cooling the baby when they’re too hot and warming them up if their temperature drops.

Since the Warmer is much like a sleeping bag rather than a bulky incubator, the device enables mothers to hold their baby immediately after they’ve been born instead of waiting for them to improve their health. Another advantage over an normal incubator is that it costs significantly less. All of the components together cost around USD 200.

Alongside the technology, the creators of the Embrace Warmer also support women in developing countries through partnerships with clinics, governments, and nonprofits, helping to train mothers in using the device and looking after their premature child.

Are there other medical devices that could be redesigned for the particular environments and challenges of the developing world?


Mini lab-in-a-box tracks health at the molecular level

Cue allows anyone to monitor their health at a molecular level through a small at-home lab that analyzes samples for various health metrics.

It’s inevitable that as health tracking becomes more mainstream, businesses will need to set themselves apart in order to win over consumers. We recently wrote about Bitbite the in-ear tracker that monitors jaw movements and tells diners when they’re eating too fast. Now Cue allows anyone to monitor their health at a molecular level through a small at-home lab that analyzes samples for various health metrics.

Taking the form of a small box that can fit onto a desktop, the device is able to track 5 different health metrics — inflammation, vitamin D levels, fertility, influenza and testosterone levels. Users take a tiny sample of blood, saliva or a nostril swab and place it inside the Cue box. It then analyzes the sample and produces data within minutes by sending the results to the user’s smartphone. The information is presented as easy-to-understand inforgraphics and also offers diet and lifestyle recommendations based on how the results differ from their usual stats.

Watch the video below for more information about Cue:

Cue can be pre-ordered for USD 199, and customers will be able to monitor their health using similar technology as their GP, enabling them to self-diagnose illnesses or work out the cause of their symptoms. The portability and relative inexpensiveness of the device could also mean it has use as a healthcare tool in remote or poverty-stricken locations. Are there other ways to redesign professional-level equipment as a consumer product?


Living packaging lets consumers pick fresh fruit at home

Nurture is food packaging that incorporates the living roots of fruit and vegetables to allow them to continue ripening until they’re ready to eat.

t’s rare that the fruit and veg bought at the local supermarket is truly fresh. There’s a long journey — through picking, transporting, sorting, artifical ripening, checking, packaging and storing — that each item can go through before it arrives on the shelves. It’s a far stretch from the most nutritious form of consuming fruit and veg, which is to wait until it’s fully ripe before picking and eating. For those who can’t enjoy such pleasure, Nurture is food packaging that incorporates the living roots of fruit and vegetables to allow them to continue ripening until they’re ready to eat.

Created by UK design graduate Hyunhee Hwang, the packaging takes the form of a bowl made of organic material, that’s woven with the roots of plants bearing fruits such as tomatoes, cherries or figs. By keeping the bowl moist, the plants can continue to live even while they’re being transported. Although part of a Masters degree project at the University of Arts London, Hwang envisions a weekly delivery that sends the living fruits directly from growers to the customer’s home. The packaging includes extra tools and equipment, such as a holder for the basket, a spritzer for watering the fruits, and forceps and scissors for ‘harvesting’ that apparently prevent nutrition loss while collecting the fruit. 

With consumers always looking for more authentic produce — whether organic or freshly picked — Nurture packaging goes one step further to connect city dwellers with fruit fresh from the vine. Are there other ways to deliver food straight from the farm to the table?


In-ear nutritionist tells diners when they’re eating too fast

There are already a slew of smart fitness trackers and daily diet log apps that help anyone keep track of what they’re eating. There are even devices such as the Prep Pad, which can detect the food placed upon it and deliver nutritional information. Currently seeking funding through Indiegogo, Bitbite is an in-ear tracker that’s able to quantify eating behaviors — down to chewing speed — and offer health recommendations.

Worn in the ear much like a wireless earbud, the small device features an array of sensors that can detect both sound and motion. When the user eats, Bitbite tracks the time of eating, how fast they’re chewing, and even they type of food they’re eating based on noises they make. Alternatively, diners can simply say the name of the food they’re eating to log it. BitBite then offers real-time audio advice to help users improve their health, such as slow down, chew more or eat less or more regularly. All of the data is also available through the BitBite app, which displays calorie intake and eating habits over time. 

Watch the video below to learn more about the device:

BitBite tracks metrics that diners don’t always take into account when trying to lose weight. Backers can pre-order BitBite from USD 119 through the Indiegogo campaign, which ends on 11 November. With the fitness tech market quickly becoming saturated, are there ways to combine all of these existing features into a single platform?


AI restaurant guide makes friendly recommendations

Finding a new place to eat with a friend or that special someone often requires a trawl throughGoogle search results or Yelp reviews, but they're not very good at knowing the types of restaurants you already like. Adding a touch of natural language recognition and artificial intelligence, Russia's IO is an app that learns users' preferences and chats with them to help them find restaurants nearby. Users simply start by typing questions into IO, without having to fill out any preferences up front. IO will then begin to reply with an easy-to-understand answer in a friendly tone. Users can type as if they were speaking to a friend over text and IO will understand what they're saying. When recommending a restaurant, the app brings up all of the relevent details -- location, description, menu, prices, opening times and contact details. Users can also ask what's good on the menu, what the atmosphere's like and if it's good for a date, along with other questions they might have. For each response, users can let IO know if they think it looks good, if they want to know more info or a different suggestion. This way, the app learns their preferences and can make better recommendations in the future. The more they use it, the smarter it becomes. Over time, users can save information about their favorite restaurants to create their own unique collection.

Recently launched in New York City and with plans to expand to major European cities, IO is part of a trend for presenting data in a more friendly way using AI and machine learning, and at times it feels close to the vision of the future presented in Spike Jonze's Her. Are there other ways to make tech user interfaces feel less like working with a computer and more like speaking with a human?

No More Water Waste - Nike Colordry Technology

While in earlier posts the waste of water in the fashion industry came up. I came across something interesting called Colordry. In layman terms it means that in the proces of dyeing clothes no water is used. Which will result in a lot less wasted water and a dramatically decrease in the use of harmful chemicals. Nike estimated an 100-150 liters of water is needed to process one kg of textiles today. Industry analysts estimate that over 39 million tons of polyester will be dyed annually by 2015.

Executive Vice President Kuenlin Ho said:

Compared to traditional dyeing methods, the ColorDry process reduces dyeing time by 40%, energy use by around 60% and the required factory footprint by a quarter. It’s also the most saturated, intense and consistent color we’ve seen.

A Dutch start-up, DyeCoo Textile Systems B.V., invented a technology to replace water, normally used for dyeing, with recyclable CO2, reducing energy use and eliminating the need for added chemicals in the process. This innovative technology has a great positive impact on the environment and the world we all live in. 

Signals like Nike Colordry and RAW for the oceans show that big fashion brands are changing their old ways and adopting new technologies for the better. This sets new eco-friendly standards which hopefully spreads onto other industries. 

Rooftop Socialite or Moonlight Gypsy ?!

Ever wondered why and how you chose a certain perfume? Was it promoted by a famous A- list celebrity, you just liked the looks or did you actually liked the smell? I guess It's personal and there's a difference between men and women, there's that.

Nevertheless fragrancy startup Pinrose took another approach with it's “scent finder”. Answer a couple of questions and based on an algorithm a top 3 dazzling scents pop out. The scents have names like Camp Rebel, Ballroom Philosopher, Rooftop Socialite, Moonlight Gypsy and sell for around $50.


According to the founders Erika Shumate and Christine Luby it works around 75% of the time.  The fragrances work appealing because they match the wearers mood and fit their personalities given the answers from the questionnaire. Although the proces of finding the right scent becomes so simple it would definitely speak to men - Like.Buy.Done.  It's only available for women, for now.

It's a clear signal that companies are using different business models and techniques to reach customers nowadays. In the future they are planning to combine with Big Data to their advantages as well, for defining preferences based on a person’s Instagram or Pinterest profiles.

It's interesting to see how people will react with technology being used in new way and predicting what will appeal to them. And with the privacy issue intensely burning, will the collected data about you, also be used for example when you shop for groceries? Because my mood and eating tendencies are quite the happy bunch. A lot of our behavior is based on emotion. Basic marketing; Finding out what people want and give it to hem. Making a businessmodel work based on moods is therefore more personalized and that's they way we're heading.  

Wondering if a algorithm beats your girlfriend's advice on cologne, check it out and take the test here!

Why I have a 'Goldfish like' attention span

Jip, guilty as charged ! When I look around distraction is everywhere, but take a step back, why would you look around in the first place, what could be possibly be more interest...PING! MESSAGE? MAIL? Facebook !? Or did you notice that I made the word "everywhere" clickable and were tempted? Well people, those things are called distractions and some are more powerful than others. In science terms they call it "Supernormal stimuli". It's your brain reacting from primal hard wired instinct. It happens to me all the time and don't be afraid you're likely to do it too.  Stuart Mcmillen has this explained fairly easily in a short but stunning comic.

 Stuart Mcmillen - A reptile brain sits deep within us. How much behavior comes from primal instinct? 

 Stuart Mcmillen - A reptile brain sits deep within us. How much behavior comes from primal instinct? 

Nikolaas Tinbergen a nobel prize winning ethologist is an expert on supernormal stimuli. He conducted experimental research on the instinct and behavior of animals. He concluded in several cases that the 'Artificial stimuli' were stronger than the original instinct. In laymen term they'd prefer the fake over the real thing. Tinsbergen did this by exaggerating special aspects and making them more pronounced. Here are a couple examples :

  • He constructed plaster eggs to see which one a bird preferred to sit on, finding that they would select those that were larger, had more defined markings, or more saturated color—a dayglo-bright egg with black polka dots would be selected over the bird's own pale, dappled eggs.
  • He found that territorial male stickleback fish would attack a wooden fish model more vigorously than a real male if its underside was redder.
  • He constructed cardboard dummy butterflies with more defined markings that male butterflies would try to mate with in preference to real females.

Oh No, it's in my DNA ! Well your brain actually, it's this ancient lizard part within where primal thinking takes over rational thought. This is where several things become questionable or at least interesting looking at the amazing speed of improving technology, can our brains keep up?

There are multiple examples of supernormal stimuli, a really relevant one in today's society is Food. Looking for example at Obesitas ratings in Mexico, The United States and the UK. Their appetite didn't grow all of sudden they were just triggered more. In case of material wellbeing there is more fastfood available and sometimes even cheaper than the healthy substitute. Fast food is engineered to be more appealing and our primal instincts react. Knowing this information creates essential awareness and that doesn't mean abondoning all supernormal stimuli from your life, that would be impossible. But I do think that by knowing why and how your brain works in the case of temptation, gives freedom and creates better substantiated actions in your life which supports overall quality of life. So get focus back in your life by starting to thinking about how you think. Seems like a circle but sometimes it's in trying.

C.S. Lewis has some insightful thoughts on this:

Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.

After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of the wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.

A man who gives into temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.

 If you recognize feeling like an eight year old having severe ADHD while you are on the internet, be sure to check out the video below.

if you want to know more and are interested in the mechanics of your mental and physical wellbeing check out the following blogs, were these topics were originally posted, for more in-depth information. 

Lifehacker - Supernormal Stimuli: Your Brain On Porn, Junk Food, and the Internet

Stuart Mcmillen - Supernormal Stimuli Comic 

A book by Deirdre Barret - Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose