Service lets fans receive phone calls from their favorite popstars

The popstars that offer up a sense of intimacy and fan engagement are the ones that reap the rewards, as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga have demonstrated with their focus on social media. Digital technology is making this connection all the more easy, and previously we’ve seen Egraphs link digital autographs with unique personal audio recordings from sports stars. Now Phonio is enabling celebrities to record mass messages for their fans, pushed to their handsets as a phone call. READ MORE…

Wu Tang’s next album will be released as a handheld boombox

Thanks to the mp3, the physicality of records, cassettes and CDs is being replaced by the intangible and distant specter of the cloud and Spotify. However, a few artists are being creative about their releases in order to put music back into the hands of fans. We’ve already seen DATAROCK embed music into a designer toy with a USB output. Now Wu Tang Clan are releasing a portable boombox that is the only way to play tracks from their forthcoming album A Better Tomorrow. READ MORE…

Smart lightbulb features a HD speaker for music and room-to-room chat

Smart lightbulbs aren’t a new concept — we wrote about the smartphone controlled NXP system back in 2011 — but so far, they’ve mostly been limited to the task of illuminating a space. Recognizing that smart capabilities can enable devices to do much more than their original function, LightFreq has created a bulb that offers intelligent audio features on top of smartphone-controlled lighting. READ MORE…

Tag for micro Bitcoin donations rewards online content creators

The hype around new cryptocurrencies — particularly Bitcoin — has died down somewhat in recent months. However, rather than being the result of a falling out of fashion, it may be because Bitcoin has kept its market price fairly steady since the beginning of the year. It’s also gaining traction as a digital tipping option, with platforms such as Cheers enabling buskers to accept the virtual currency. Now ChangeTip wants to encourage web users to show their appreciation for online content by sending a small Bitcoin donation with a comment tag. READ MORE…

In China, cinemas place live audience comments on the big screen

Most cinema showings come with a warning for the audience to turn off their devices because most people prefer to watch the movie in peace without getting distracted by others texting. However, we have already seen the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island offer free seats at the back of the stage show auditorium for those who agree to live tweet the event, and now some Chinese theaters have introduced cinema texting, where viewers’ comments can be sent directly to the screen for everyone else to see. READ MORE…

Camera-equipped headphones mix Beats, Instagram and GoPro

The prevalence of smartphones means that video can be captured anywhere, but fleeting moments can still be missed in the time it takes to get them out of the pocket and load the camera app. SOUNDSIGHT headphones is aiming to change that, using an on-board camera to instantly capture video and audio of the wearer’s location or activity. READ MORE…

Robots enable web users to virtually roam London’s Tate art gallery at night

Opening up access to art galleries and museums is certainly a good thing, but for some entry can be too expensive, galleries can be located too far away or the experience can be ruined by bustling tourists. While Google’s Street View Art Projecthas already brought brick and mortar institutions into the digital world by allowing users to virtually walk through its rooms, the UK’s Tate Britain has developed the After Dark scheme, which enables anyone to browse the collection through a robot that moves around the gallery when everyone else has gone home. READ MORE…

App translates sports fans’ cheers from the armchair to the stadium

During the height of the Arab Spring, the Tunisian government banned crowds from gathering at games played by the soccer team C.S Hammam-Lif. To enable fans to continue supporting their team, the Mobilizing the 12th Man campaign translated virtual clapping and cheering from an app into real sound played through speakers in the stadium. Although these were special circumstances, the average fan can also be locked out of supporting their teams in person thanks to extortionate ticket prices and the cost of traveling to away games. The UK’s Fanmode is an app that enables stay-at-home sports fans to have their support broadcast at the game venue. READ MORE…

Garden for rent lets urbanites get away from the crowds

It’s hard to get a moment’s peace in the city. While the idea of sitting in a green space and reading a book is a pleasant one, not everyone can afford a home with a garden. In public parks, it’s also more likely to be interrupted by kids, dogs and footballs. While startups such as Breather have aimed to unlock cities’ more peaceful office environments, Plot now aims to rent out mini green spaces to enable anyone to enjoy private relaxation time outdoors. READ MORE…

Wireless earphones designed for running also track fitness

Regular readers of Springwise may remember our recent coverage of OwnPhones, the 3D printed earbuds that don’t fall out even when doing physical activity. Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, Freewavz is another brand of fitness earphones that combine wireless technology with in-built exercise tracking capabilities and audio feedback. READ MORE…

In Australia, opera is designed for kids with autism

Children with autism often experience social settings in a different way to those not on the spectrum and sometimes end up having to avoid them altogether. In the past, we’ve seen Squag, the social network for young people with developmental difficulties. Now Victorian Opera in Melbourne has piloted a series of performances that cater for the needs of young kids with autism. READ MORE…

In Manchester, gym workouts for indie music fans

For many, exercise is more of a chore than something to look forward to, and for others it’s only bearable if there’s a distraction to take their mind off what they’re actually doing. In the past, Blue Goji has successfully tricked people into doing exercise to control games characters. Now The Fit Sessions in the UK is hoping to entice alternative music fans — not typically the most sporty types — to keep fit by bouncing along to the indie genre’s more upbeat tracks. READ MORE…

Stick-on knobs let iPad DJs mix with physical dials

Music consumption has almost completely lost its physicality since the advent of digital, with entire back catalogs available at the click of a button. Musicians and producers themselves are now using virtual instruments and equipment such as DAW software and tablets have given rise to the iPad DJ. Catering to the latter in particular, Tuna Knobs aim to bring the tactile control of mixing desks to tablets, with attachable buttons that work with multiple DJ apps. READ MORE…

Virtual pet can only be fed through walking

Getting children to exercise instead of sitting inside with computer games is becoming an ever more difficult task. We’ve already seen Loop, the outdoor game where young players use tracking sensors to score points and compete with friends. Now Wokamon is a virtual pet app from China that requires kids to walk and exercise in order to keep their creature alive. READ MORE…

Wireless earbuds are custom 3D printed so they won’t fall out

Earbud headphones come as standard with most smartphones, but they’re typically prone to breaking, and their one-size-fits-all design means that they can be uncomfortable and fall out when exercising. In the past, we’ve seen HeadFoams make the devices more durable, especially for young users. Now OwnPhones is enabling consumers to customize their earbuds to their own unique style and ear shape through 3D printing. READ MORE…