Innovation in a Pandemic

Hi all, Nora here. Hope you're faring as well as possible in the circumstances. Cathi and I have been missing our Sniffer sessions, so we decided to record remotely, with Cathi recording herself in the country, and me recording myself at home in Toronto. This time, we look at some examples of the amazing speed of innovation in the midst of the pandemic, and how some people are re-imagining innovations to respond to the crisis we find ourselves in. We look at research into a washable fabric that repels liquid, for potential use in PPE, and an idea for an antimicrobial coating for high touch surfaces.  Cathi talks about innovation from a friend's company, Signifi, which is launching a plan to make disinfectant lockers for workplaces. How are you faring through all this? Are there aspects you're finding particularly tough, or maybe things you're learning that you want to take into your future life? Let us know in the comments. [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/14546885/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Retrofuturism and Jetpacks

On this podcast episode, Nora Young talks about this PSFK article on retrofuturism as a major design trend.

Cathi Bond, who has always wanted her very own jetpack, loves the Jetman personal jetpack (via New Atlas) Watch the full video here. It really 'takes off' around 2:30.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj-Iwv5NJKg&feature=emb_logo

Cool Streetwear Shopping and Harbingers of Failure

On this podcast, we talk marketing strategy. Cathi Bond loves her Stan Smith footwear (like, a lot!) so she was intrigued when she came across Stockx, a streetwear social shopping platform. Read more at PSFK. Meanwhile, Nora read an interesting article on so-called Harbingers of Failure: people who tend to pick products, and even political candidates, that don't succeed (via BoingBoing). Nora thinks they could be seen as niches to target rather than signals of 'failure'. [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/13108130/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Stress-Busting 2020 and Smart Glasses

This time, Nora Young continues the conversation about living smarter in 2020 with this Fast Company article on handling stress better as a key to resiliency. She also refers to Kelly McGonigal's book The Upside of Stress. Meanwhile, Cathi Bond talks about Bosch's upcoming smart glasses, which offer an augmented reality display that aims to be non-intrusive. Use cases include cooking with recipe instructions in front of you, instead of referring to a book, or driving directions. Cathi points out how distracting today's car dashboards are. [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/12809258/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Happy New Year: The Resolutions Edition!

Happy New Year, all! Hope your year is off to a great start, and thanks so much for listening to The Sniffer.

This time on the podcast, Cathi Bond and Nora Young share their resolutions for the year ahead. 

Cathi has decided to try out the Wim Hof method, which combines breathing exercises and fffffreezing cold baths, with an eye to greater health and wellness. Cathi talks about her personal experiences and will report back. You can read more about the method, as well as some of the controversies, reservations, and questions some researchers have in this Discover article. See also Wikipedia's entry for a good overview.

Meanwhile, Nora points out that unlike most years, 2020 has seen very few tech predictions for the year(s) ahead. She talks about this great, short article by Kara Swisher, where she builds a business case for tech innovation.


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Looking Back at the 2010s and Hands-on Shopping

Happy (nearly) holidays!

On this podcast, Nora and Cathi look back at the decade that was. What are your picks for highlights (and lowlights) in your own life and in the culture? Leave a comment!

Nora mentions this New York Times look back at the 2010s.

Meanwhile, Cathi talks about Woondering, a cool pop-up on Brick Lane in London, where you can check out actual physical versions of products with crowdsourcing campaigns at Kickstarter or Indiegogo. It's wrapped up for the year, but there are plans to take it to other cities in the future.

Cathi also mentions Genussee, a Flint-Michigan company that makes glasses from discarded water bottles.

All the best for the season, and we'll be back for a New Year's special!


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Innovations in Solar and Surprising Sources of Traffic Jams

This time, Cathi Bond talks about Heliogen, which seems to have had an early stage breakthrough in using Concentrated Solar Power systems to get to temperatures of >1,000 degrees C, enough to power industrial processes, as opposed to just generating electricity. More details at New Atlas.

Nora Young talks about why the spike in traffic problems may be due to our convenience economy, especially quick delivery of online ordering, and ride hailing. See this well-researched Boston Globe article. 


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Hyperloop and Make your own Vinyl

This time, Cathi Bond talks about the latest concept design for a hyperloop ultra-high speed train, brought to you by MAD Architects and HyperloopTT. Check out the images over at New Atlas.  Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions Wired's article on the Phonocut, described as an "analog vinyl lathe". It's a machine that lets you produce your own custom vinyl! [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/11959055/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Battling Digital Distraction and Brand Experiences

On today's podcast, Nora Young talks about this post on dealing with digital distraction by having a clear idea of what you would do instead of being on your phone. She also mentions Nir Eyal's new book, Indistractable.

Meanwhile, Cathi Bond mentions this PSFK article on a sort of 'loyalty card 2.0' approach some retailers are using. Customer loyalty earns people experiences and makes them 'part of the club'.


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Tracking Health and Design for the Environment

On this podcast, Nora Young talks about a possible future of health tracking technologies, based on this Wired article about Fitbit's recent moves.

Cathi Bond talks about the potential power of art and design to address species diversity. Read Gizmodo's description of the Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial exhibit here.


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