Atmospheir for iPhone reimagines your address book for the social era

There’s no shortage of third-party address book apps for the iPhone, but that isn’t stopping Atmospheir from throwing its hat into the crowded ring as it looks to re-imagine what your address book should look like as we edge closer to 2014.


So what should a modern-day address book look like? Well, it’s more than just telephone numbers and email addresses. And it’s certainly not about postal addresses.

With Atmospheir, you set yourself a unique ID – this could be a random concoction of letters or firstname-lastname – and then this serves as a gateway to all your contact credentials. Connections can only be made using this unique ID – if someone doesn’t know it, they can’t do manual searches for you based on any other criteria.

But it’s more than that. You choose which profile(s) each of your connections can see from a myriad of social accounts. So you can essentially segment your personal and professional data, allowing some folk access to your Instagram and Facebook credentials, while LinkedIn may be dished out to professional contacts.

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From the main screen you can expand a little dial that gives you access to your personal profile, notifications and invites – hit the little cross icon to type in an Atmospheir ID and invite them to connect. Interestingly, there’s also a baked-in ‘nearby’ feature, which lets you share your contact details over Bluetooth with those you just met, but they must also have Atmospheir Nearby switched on, and be within 50 meters of you.

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Armed with your unique ID, you can swap sets of contact details and social network usernames, gradually building your network up over time. Atmospheir essentially evolves with you, with each of your contacts always having up-to-date information from the networks you’ve chosen to share with them.

 Atmospheir for iPhone reimagines your address book for the social era     Atmospheir for iPhone reimagines your address book for the social era

There’s also an ‘Introductions’ feature that lets you request intros to others through your own contacts. While ‘Nudge’ lets you send your contacts a short message of up to 70 characters.

 

In terms of real-life use-cases, I guess the idea is that when you meet someone – friends, business colleagues, relatives or whoever – you divulge your Atmospheir ID. This then gives them access to the precise range of personal contact information you wish them to get. You might not want a client to get access to your Facebook, SoundCloud or Pinterest profiles, but you’re happy for them to get LinkedIn, Behance or GitHub.

For all the good ideas and execution in here, it does of course all depend on one thing: There needs to be a critical mass of Atmospheir users for this to be even remotely usable. As things stand, if you turn up at an event and say to a potential client: “yeah, my Atmospheir ID is SurferBoy45, get in touch”, don’t be surprised if you never hear from them again. And it’s probably only partly to do with the questionable pseudonym-choice…

Of course, this is a challenge facing any similar service, such as Addappt – it’s only as useful as the number of people in your social and business circles that are using it. But anything that tries to bring order to the contact-chaos has to be a good thing. Only time will tell if enough people start using it.

Atmospheir is available to download now from the App Store. Meanwhile, check out the official promo video below.

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This Pen Can Draw Every Single Color In The World

Have you ever felt limited by the colors contained inside a box of Crayola?

Imagine, instead of being forced to resort to “Forest Green” for the grass in your next masterpiece, you could take Photoshop’s “eyedropper” tool to extract the color from a single, blade of grass and turn that color into ink.

Scribble is a new device that lets you do just that. The pen matches hues from the world around you and transfers them onto paper or a mobile device. For the latter, the tool works in conjunction with a stylus and a mobile app to sync the colors that attract you onto your phone or tablet. Pretty cool.
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The pen is armed with a 16-bit RGB color sensor that stores the colors you tell it to. Hold the device up to your friend’s gorgeous blonde hair, a vibrant flower or the pizza crust on your plate and Scribble will analyze the color and reproduce it with ink from its refillable cartridges.

Say, for example, you were enticed by the bright, pungent orange sitting on your countertop. You’d start by simply holding your Scribble pen up to the fruit.

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Then, after the pen analyzed the specific orange of this particular orange, you could take the tint to paper.

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Both the ink pen and and the stylus are a little more than six inches, rely on bluetooth wireless technology and have a rechargeable battery.

Until now, the closest you’ve even gotten to this magical resource of color concoction was probably through something similar to Bic’s assorted ball point.
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Scribble, of course, offers more options than Bic’s royal blue for when you want to draw the sky. The only limitation here, it seems, is your imagination.

The pen retails for just under $150 and the stylus — for digital use — under $80. Neither are currently available for purchase, but if you’re eager to start doodling the world, you can sign up for an alert for its availability here.

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Watch: LG G Flex smartphone heals itself after being scratched

The LG G Flex features a curved screen, but that isn’t even the weirdest thing about it. More interesting, I’d argue, is LG’s “self-healing” coating that actually clears up scratches and other damage made to the case. LG has already released a promotional video of the material in action, but how well does it work in a real world situation? You can see in the video below:

YouTube personality Marques Brownlee got his hands on the phone, and put it through a couple of tests to see whether comparing it to the X-Men’s self-healing Wolverine was genuinely accurate, or just really bizarre marketing. Turns out it’s a bit of both.

First Brownlee pulls out a set of keys and scratches the back of the phone, which is something pretty likely to happen at some point in either your pocket or your bag. And surprisingly, the G Flex is able to heal itself after being inflicted with some light marks. It takes a little bit of time, and the scratches don’t completely disappear, but it looks a heck of a lot better than your standard damage.

Next up Brownlee takes a knife to the back of the phone, which is far less likely to happen in the real world. He runs the knife across the back cover, leaving a deeper scratch. After a few hours, the scratch has healed about halfway, which again, is a much better result than you’re likely to see on any other device.

According to Brownlee, the coating LG uses on the phone works better in a warm environment, which is why it worked so well in LG’s promotional video. He demonstrates that the phone’s healing properties work better with the warmth of his hand, which is pretty impressive.

I’m not so sure whether curved smartphones are ever really going to take off. But self-healing phones? After watching this video, that’s a trend I can get behind.

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The Nike Fuel of cycling: Copenhagen Wheel turns your bike into a smart hybrid

A “smart” wheel unit that can be attached to almost any bike, transforming it into an electric hybrid that powers up seamlessly when you need it most, is now available for pre-order. The Copenhagen Wheel is being positioned as the Nike Fuel band for cycling, with an integrated app keeping you and your friends up to date with your urban cycling progress.

Unlike other similar products coming to market — including the FlyKly, which recently smashed its Kickstarter target by $600,000 — Superpedestrian’s unit (which slots on to your back wheel) is not about powering up continually to save your lazy legs. A series of sensors are embedded in the red casing, which track your speed, incline, pedal-pushing prowess and other factors, in order to calculate when you need the power most. As such, the battery-powered 5.5kg pack will save energy, while also recharging every time you brake, powering up to speeds of 32km/h with a range of 48km.

“We wanted something lightweight, that looks great and is seamless to use — it feels like any bike you’ve ridden,” Superpedestrian founder Assaf Biderman told Wired.co.uk. Biderman is also associate director of the MIT SENSEable City Laboratory, where the idea first came about while working with fellow MIT collaborator Carlo Ratti.

There, Biderman and Ratti investigated ways in which “tech can help us address key issues” in the urban environment, with mobility being a significant one.

“We are a team of designers, engineers social scientists and electromechanical engineers working together to find out how can we allow people to move better through the city,” says Biderman. “Cycling is limited to the scale of the city, but we want to help people overcome the city. It’s an engineering challenge.”

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Superpedestrian made a splash when the idea was first touted in 2010, when it won the US leg of the James Dyson award and won applause from mayors at various cities around the world. Then, it had predicted it would be ready to market in 12 months time at a cost of $600 (£365). The price is a little inflated at $699 (£425), and it took longer to develop because of key engineering problems. The system had to be seamless — for anyone that has experienced the clunky shudder of an electric motor kicking into gear on other hybrid bikes, they’ll understand why. If Superpedestrian were to achieve its goal and popularise cycling in urban centres, it was not enough to simply make it easier — it had to be seamless and stylish, “something you’re proud to use”.

“We wanted to retain that pure elegance, with no throttles and no buttons. It’s not about putting a motor on and off when you pedal — that feels like you’re on a rocking chair. It’s more sophisticated and understands the pattern of your motion as you ride to help you tackle challenges, whether that’s long distances or hills.”

Biderman is secretive about the magic formula that goes into making the red unit run, and part of the system will be patented after the first stock ships in 2014. Those cogs and sensors are what makes the power seamless and smart, with all that data being fed to a smartphone app so the user can track their route and progress and share it with other like-minded cycling enthusiasts in real time. He would tell us that it houses the usual inertial sensors you might expect — accelerometers, gyroscopes, rotational and heading sensors — a GPS sensor and a strain guage. In total there are 12.

“There’s lots of clever things you can do — it responds to your ride and take cues from it.”

“It connects with your smartphone if want to get rich information about your ride, and just before you get to your bike — just by presence of your phone — it automatically unlocks.”

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Biderman envisages people strapping their phones to their bike’s handlebars to track the progress, but it’s more likely at the start it will be a post-ride font of information.

The “post-ride Nike Fuel band bit” will give you time elapsed, calories, elevation gait and other “advanced features” says Biderman.

“Effectively, the Copenhagen Wheel puts your bike online — at the centre of your personal Internet of Things,” said Ratti in a statement.


Superpedestrian is releasing a developer’s kit and API in the hope of building a whole ecosystem of apps around the product. There are five ideas for apps in the making that Biderman wouldn’t expand on, but there are plenty of opportunities for a kind of Waze for cycling that could share low traffic shortcuts in real time.

“The most important thing when people get on their bike is that they seamlessly get to their destination via the most efficient, fun or cleanest route. It could help you find that route that many people like you have identified as ideal by gathering information from the environment, whether it’s potholes, how much elevation up and down or by comparing statistics with others.”

There are more opportunities for city planners, but permissions would obviously be more complex here. “Riders could opt in and share information about where everybody moves together — municipalities would love to know.”

“We’ve been invited into plenty of municipal bike sharing systems, and are certainly interested — but first off private ownership is where you want to make a difference and continue onwards.”

You can pre-order the Copenhagen Wheel at Superpedestrian’s website today, with stocks expected to ship at the end of the first quarter next year.

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