​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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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?


Who really needs technology?

Look around, besides the screen you're staring at I bet there are at least two more item around you that are considered as ''Modern Technology''. Ever wondered why you bought it ? The answer might be might be that you need it for work, it's very usable or you simply like it. What I know for sure, is that the reason you were able to buy it is basic economics of supply and demand. I like my toast Sunday mornings but if I was the only one, a toaster wouldn't be accessible and normal thing to buy. For a person who suffered a physical trauma and because of it lost an arm or leg, amazing progress is made in the area of prosthetics, It's called Bionics.

''The Stuff of life meets machine - Todd Kuiken''

One of the people leading the way is Hugh Herr who gave a amazing Ted talk and is head of the Biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab. Inspired by nature's own designs he designs Bionic limbs that are stronger, faster and more efficient. ''Towards the end of disability'' .

These new architectural innovations in the field of Bionics creates possibilities and has enormous impact in the lives of disabled people, who get the ability back of normal movement. This is a huge step in gaining acces in and contributing is in todays society. It even opens up possibilities for non disabled people whereas sometimes Bionics are more capable of doing thing instead of our natural limbs.   

What I especially like about this new technology finally reaching smaller groups, is the happiness and joy it brings to people. Another example is David Sengeh's way of enhancing prosthetic attachment using a 3D printer. They both got in common that these technological innovations feel useful and empower Quality of life, while it fulfills the gap in physical disability and provides more ways to social wellbeing, activities and development. Instead of having a new smartphone or tablet every year this technology makes wishes and dreams of the less fortunate people come true. It has profound impact in their lives as they are able to do more and be independent. The thought I want to leave behind is that we should also promote innovation in areas where it's not always commercial viable but where happiness and usefulness can be guaranteed. 

Let's get you healthy!

Imagine measuring everything about yourself during you daily life. Now try to imagine future of health, that of yourself and generations to come. It isn't that big a stretch to see the symbiose between the two and where it's heading in case of technological possibilities. That is if, the ''sharing is caring'' policy of privacy stays alive. That aside, one of these advantages is the Application 'RevUp!, Health Accelerated'. A digital platform started by Samir Damani from a company called MD Revolution. Their mission is to control your health through connecting all kinds of services and tools for example Nike+ and Fitbit. There's also an option to link 23andme. In this way they gather personal data and with all the knowledge of your daily exercise and food intake, experts and certified professionals are keeping track and making sure that you keep healthy by giving you the right advice when needed. They simply measure, monitor and motivate.

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All health, food and sports related data stuffed into one digital platform. It Sounds easy and logical. Together with expertise and personal help based on your own data  I say YES!  I'm in. It makes sense to not have all kinds different apps to work individual. Let's connect them and take advantage of the internet of things. It makes data more measurable and visual of your daily life and therefore it could affect your food, work and leisure choices for the better. 

But there is a price tag, although the app is free we put a lot of personal data in the hands of commercial companies we don't actually now. Will it be sold or shared, are they bound by the Patriot act? It raises many questions. This new initiative is definitely a step towards better personal health (tracking) but it's married to the raising privacy issue of the way companies are collecting and using our data. It's a side note to keep in mind because simply put losing your privacy is not a good thing for your mental health in the long run.

Good form is everything

In this era of technology everyone is spending a lot of time behind a computer, smartphone or tablet. While you are not always noticing the effects right away your body may disagree on the longterm. All these ours combined cause a lot problems like back pain. Roughly 80% of the older population has these physical concerns. A big part is developed by having a wrong posture while sitting, walking or sleeping. Designer Neda Naef from Upclothing based in Paris made a T-shirt that helps keeping your posture. 


While it not only helps keeping good form it also boosts your charisma, having your shoulders in the right position and not hanging to the front, it opens up your body which might lead to more people noticing you and eventually conversation. In a society where individualism is still a big factor this shirt can symbolize as a smal counter reaction There’s been a lot of research how posture effects communication. While this is not everybody’s goal you are sure helping out your spine. The shirt aims for a ‘Friendly effect’ for it’s wearer according to the designer, but with a price around the fortune area (€127,-) it sure is an assault to your wallet.    


Somewhere around the line everything changes and I think clothes are evolving too. You see it in sports with Nike’s Hyperstrong gear, meant for better sport performances. Clothes health and sport are becoming more attached and can really improve a persons way of living and With nanotechnology around the corner this could be a golden duo for future clothing.