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…

This ring lets blind people read non-Braille books

One of the problems with Braille is that it’s typically printed in specialist books aside from the copies created for sighted people, meaning that those with sight difficulties can’t borrow their friends’ books and need to seek out the bookstores and libraries that cater for them. In the past, we’ve seen projects such as Thailand’s Mr. Light and Mr. Dark — which uses special typography to enable the blind and non-blind to read the same book. Now the FingerReader initiative from MIT provides visually impaired readers with a wearable ring that can scan written text and read it out loud. READ MORE…

Licensed images made free-to-use through embedded attribution

Back in 2012, stock and news photography agency Getty Images embarked on theWatermark Project, which redesigned the way it protected images from being used illegitimately and added a shortlink to make them more useful. Now, it’s investing in a new service called IMGembed, which provides an easy and free way for anyone to use a licensed image on their site through HTML embedding, while ensuring creators get credited. 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…

Platform helps digital sports influencers get sponsored by brands

Social media has made the careers of bloggers, YouTube stars and opinion leaders. A major source of revenue for these new influencers is to team up with brands, but finding the right partnership is a hard job for both creators and companies. Focusing on the sports industry, Raynforest is a marketplace that helps fans with social influence get paid for reviewing products and promoting brands. READ MORE…

3D printed kids’ books enable blind readers to visualize the story

We’ve already seen how on-demand 3D printing can turn simple web searches into a tactile experience for the visually impaired through Yahoo! Japan’s Hands On Search. Now the Tactile Picture Books Project is using the technology to help blind readers use their hands to get more from illustrated narratives. READ MORE…

Smart bookmark lets authors tweet at readers who have neglected their novel

Authors writing traditional novels have always had to work hard to attract readers, but the job is made even more difficult in the age of the internet attention span. Smartphones and the web serve as a perennial distraction from reading, contributing to entire shelves of books left abandoned at chapter 3. Argentina-based publisher Eterna Cadencia has in the past printed books with vanishing ink to add a sense of urgency to completing them, and now the Tweet For a Read campaign is using a bookmark that can detect if readers haven’t opened their novel recently and tweets a reminder to pick it back up. READ MORE…

Cell phone radio brings entertainment to media blackspots

The web has enabled more and more people to become better informed about the world thanks to the relatively free and instant sharing of information across national borders. However, there are parts of the world where consumers don’t get to participate in the global conversation due to a lack of such a technological infrastructure. In the past we’ve seen VascoDe provide SMS versions of popular apps such as Twitter and Gmail, and now Kan Khajura Tesan is an always-on radio station that those in electricity-scarce locations can access by calling it on their cell phone. READ MORE…

Site connects brands with individual journalists to help them get press

Not everyone has contacts in the media, which can make it an unfair playing field when it comes to getting press on a new product. While the Winnipeg Free Pressrecently opened its own branded cafe where the public can mingle with the paper’s reporters, a new service called JustReachOut is helping businesses to eschew PR firms by connecting them directly to the most relevant journalists. READ MORE…

Site translates the foreign press into 11 different languages

With the amount of content now being created globally, there’s even more of a demand for translations of foreign language media. While innovations such as Easy Way Subtitles have provided live computer-generated translations of any Brazilian TV show, ReShares is tapping human volunteers to create translations of the day’s most popular news articles into multiple languages. READ MORE…

Kids’ book teaches young girls to code

Books still play a major part in the development of children’s understanding of the world, of which new digital technologies are most definitely now a part. We recently wrote about MakerBot’s LEO the Maker Prince kids’ book, which teaches readers about 3D printing, and now Hello Ruby is another title — this time designed to appeal to girls — that hopes to get them inspired by the web and programming. READ MORE…

Blendle is an iTunes for newspaper articles

Digital publications are still trying to find their feet when it comes to creating a financially successful business model, and in recent times we’ve seen both Offline and Uncoverage try out monthly longform pieces and crowdfunding models respectively. From the Netherlands, Blendle now wants to create a single subscription platform for the country’s multiple newspapers, with users paying for what they read. READ MORE…

Scan a printed article’s headline, instantly get the digital version

Every article that appears in a major magazine today comes in two forms — its printed version and its online counterpart, but they’re both often left unlinked. Peekster is a new app that enables readers to scan the headline of a print article in order to quickly bring up the digital version on their phone, for sharing or saving for later. READ MORE…

Netflix for kids’ books makes reading fun with unlockable achievements

Getting kids to read can sometimes be a difficult task if they don’t have a lot of options to choose from or — what’s more likely — they’d rather play on their phone or tablet. While ideas such as the scannable Smart PJ’s have embraced new technologies to make picking a new story at bedtime more engaging, a new service for kids called Epic! offers a large digital library of children’s titles, complete with rewards for finishing chapters and embarking on reading marathons. READ MORE…

Read a 300-page book in 90 minutes with this app

As online content continues to be increasingly consumed through mobile platforms, it’s no wonder we’re seeing new formats to deliver information more quickly and fluidly. In the past, we’ve seen Wibbitz present any news story as a visual and dynamic infographic instead of plain old text. But now Spritz believes that humans can read much faster using its system of ‘streaming’ text at up to 600 words per minute. READ MORE…