Author Archives: Nora

Future of Retail: Digital, Flexible, Trust-Based

This time, Nora Young and Cathi Bond are talking shopping. Cathi Bond looks at this profile of retail design company, The Science Project. It seems to take a page from user experience design to create a shopping experience that's data-driven, supported by digital, and very flexible. Nora mentions Frank and Oak's approach to offering a number of experiences in-store besides shopping. Meanwhile, Nora talks about a convenience store in the isolated Swedish town of Viken, which is unstaffed (via Springwise). It operates through a combination of an app which unlocks the door, monthly billing and trust (plus security measures!). Nora and Cathi chat about the trust economy. [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4305656/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Augmented Reality Holoportation and Cool Urban Planning

On today's podcast, Cathi Bond talks about Microsoft Research's "holoportation" technology, that uses 3D video cameras to capture a moving image of a person in one location and send that image to a person wearing the "Hololens" headset, anywhere in the world. (via Gizmag). Check out the video below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments! Cathi also talks a bit about the legacy of Zaha Hadid, the architect who died this past week. Cathi toured her MAXXI project several years ago. Check out the pictures here. Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about a cool research project which uses data from sources like cell phones, FourSquare, and census info (via Technology Review). The researchers want to test Jane Jacobs' theories of urban vitality. Nora thinks it's cool and smart, but Cathi thinks it's just another example of the surrendering of 'human' approaches to the rule of technology. They are friends in the end, though! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d59O6cfaM0 [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4266741/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Home Monitoring Heart Rate and Stress, a Growing Medical Trend

In this podcast, Cathi Bond talks about this home ECG monitor, the mobilECG. It promises "open source electrocardiography". Nora Young talks about this Spark interview with Joe Cafazzo from the University Health Network in Toronto. Continuing the self-tracking trend, Nora talks about Neumitra, a start-up that aims to help individuals monitor their stress levels (via Kernelmag). The intriguing thing is the potential to use aggregated data to understand the stressful parts of the city. [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4233517/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Urban Farming and Cool Trailers

This time, Nora Young looks at the urban agriculture trend. According to a new study, the majority of people doing small scale urban agriculture (eg, rooftop market gardening) in the U.S. generate less than $10,000 in sales. This calls into question the sustainability of the urban ag trend (via City Lab). In a bit of good news, though, Modern Farmer looks at a really cool idea: mobile urban farm stands that sell fresh food near public transit, for people in "food deserts". Cathi Bond continues her love of tiny, perfectly planned spaces with the Tiger Moth, a really cool trailer designed by a former NASA engineer. There's a neat-o video tour! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeWR2b-jRNw     [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4202253/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Tech for Better Sleep and Understanding Consciousness

This time, Cathi Bond talks about the Neuroon, an instrumented sleep mask that gives you analytics and suggestions for a better night's sleep, or restorative naps during the day. Nora Young mentions a couple of ways to reduce blue light exposure before sleep, including F.lux, and the Night Shift mode in the iPhone. Meanwhile, Nora talks about this intriguing study designed to learn more about how people slip out of consciousness. To do so, they used fMRI tech to observe brain states under the anaesthetic propofol. Read more about the research at Technology Review. Nora also mentions that we still don't really understand how brain activity produces consciousness. For more, listen to this interview over at Nora's show, Spark. [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4163454/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Streaming Music Trends and Autonomous Car Pushback

On this podcast, Nora Young talks about Apple shuttering its iTunes radio service (via Tech Crunch), and Songza being folded into Google Play Music. What does the future hold for streaming music services? Will we start to see artists making exclusive deals with services and distribution platforms as this article suggests we might? On the next edition of Spark, Nora will do two interviews on a related issue: what do new players in the video content world (formerly known as TV and movies) mean for the future of the entertainment biz? Cathi Bond refers to Mixcloud as a source of great curated, streaming music. Here's one of her favourite DJ/curators. Meanwhile, Cathi looks at the growing push for connected cars and autonomous vehicles, including the Obama administrations efforts to get national standards (via PSFK). She is ticked off, and feels that autonomous vehicles are being shoved down our throats. Do you agree? Also, Cathi's first car was a Spitfire; what was yours? Leave us a comment here! [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4131767/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Next Generation Personal Assistants and Cheap, Waterless Toilets

In today's podcast, Cathi Bond talks about the Nano Membrane toilet, designed for use in situations where there are currently no toilets. It's an inexpensive solution that doesn't require water, and yet produces (grey) water and power (via Gizmag). Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions the MyMe camera and personal digital assistant, a sort of Siri-meets-Google-Glass device that you wear unobtrusively around your neck or on your belt (via New York Times). Would you wear something like this? Leave us a comment!   [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4099348/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

New in New York and Zuckerberg’s New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! This time, Nora Young talks about what she observed on a holiday trip to New York, including bathrobe chic (hello Julian Schnabel!), visiting the new Whitney at the foot of the High Line. She also mentions the current obsession with Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up. Cathi Bond discusses Mark Zuckerberg's New Year's Resolution to build an intelligent personal assistant to run his home. What intrigues Cathi the most is Zuck's approach to setting goals. She's going to try to apply it to her life. Nora mentions this article on speech recognition tech, and design approaches to life. [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4076774/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Holiday Special: Fab Prefab and Farm Drones

It's a holiday tradition here at The Sniffer: our picks for super cool Christmas treats we'd love to have. This year, Nora Young picks this fantastic dining pavilion by Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher (via Design Boom). It's one of a series coordinated by a developer named Robbie Antonio. Check out the whole series here. Cathi Bond, meanwhile, has her eye on a special drone which can be used on the farm, in particular, for crop dusting (via PSFK). Have a wonderful holiday, and all the best for 2016. Thanks for listening! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT6x9Aullek   [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4037215/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

360 Cameras, The News, and Mobile Motion

A look at new developments in media this time. Cathi Bond talks about Bublcam, a round, 360 degree camera on a stick. The Toronto-based startup lets you explore spaces immersively. See, for example, this image. In an interview with PSFK, Brendon Montgomery from Buble Technology talks about how VR experiences might change the news. Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about research that looks at motion sickness in virtual reality, and also in HD video with lots of rapid action watched on mobile (via The Guardian). Cathi and Nora reflect on how much of our use of screens is contrary to how our bodies naturally work. Oh, and here's the early Walter Cronkite newscast Nora mentioned: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmQTfYTe044   [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4003418/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3