The Unbreakable Smartphone

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Despite the rapid progress made to smartphones in the past few years, these devices are still some of the most fragile pieces of technology we own. Small amounts of water and one tiny slip out of the hand can wreck them permanently. But wouldn’t these smart devices be even smarter if we could use them in almost any situation? With the invention of the Cicret wristband, we might just be one step closer.

Cicret, designed by a group of French entrepreneurs, is a smart wristband created to allow smartphone users more convenience. In it’s first prototype form, Cicret works by projecting a screen onto your arm, and using sensors to detect where you are tapping. The designers also aim to incorporate a waterproof design before the product goes to market. This means that it might be a lot more convenient to text in the bathtub or check the weather without fishing through your purse, in the future.

The Cicret team is still looking for investors, but aims to have the product ready for market by early 2016. Their ambitious concept video has virally spread across the internet, and even prompted questions of it’s viability from some tech bloggers. After releasing a video showing the prototype’s capabilities, many have started to believe that this technology is possible.

Take a look for yourself and learn more on the Cicret website.

What Sparks Our Fire: Wildly ambitious technology that makes life more convenient

Chevy <3’s Millennials

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Visual mediums have taken a larger role in consumers’ lives and has started to trickle into brand storytelling and communication. We’ve written about the latest trend of brands creating their own emoji keyboards, and now Chevrolet has gone one step further and released a press release for the 2016 Cruze, written entirely in emoji. Released this morning, Chevy will give consumers a chance to decipher the statement written in modern glyphs before releasing the translated version this afternoon.

Chevy, not traditionally known for their ground breaking marketing initiatives, is taking a big step in the right direction. No other company has released a formal press release written almost entirely in emoji, though Domino’s did write hundreds of Tweets using just a pizza emoji a few weeks back. By embracing the “emoji” trend and adding an element of social media driven gamification to the sometimes stale press release ritual, Chevy is taking great strides in effectively engaging with the target millennial audience.

Take a look at the full press release, and see if you can piece together the full story.

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What Sparks Our Fire: A unique integrated campaign targeted at millennials.

Tracking Each Drop

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With the announcement of some very cool updates to Apple‘s Healthkit for iOS 9, everyone’s buzzing about the new ways that health apps are helping us keep track of our bodies. Beginning with step counters, health apps now use smartphone metadata to track a range of fitness, sleep and nutritional factors, as well as the body’s vitals. However, until now, it has always been fairly difficult to track the body’s water intake with accuracy. All of this is set to change with the release of the HidrateMe water bottle and app this Winter.

The HidrateMe water bottle is a geometrically designed water bottle with a sensor in the lid that measures how much water a user has had to drink throughout the day. This sensor syncs up with the HidrateMe app to track this information and relay it to the user. The HidrateMe app takes the user’s age, gender, and weight to create a daily target water intake, and adjusts based on the humidity and elevation of his or her location. Additionally, the water bottle uses a gentle light to remind the user to drink more water throughout the day.

With just over a month to go on it’s Kickstarter, HidrateMe has raised over $214,000 in funding–six times what it was initially looking for. And with up to 75% of Americans estimated to be chronically dehydrated, the HidrateMe water bottle and app is poised to tackle this widespread health issue.

What Sparks Our Fire: Sleek design and creative technology pairing up to tackle one large health problem

Ready, Set, Call-To-Action

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Since its purchase by Facebook in 2012, Instagram has slowly and precisely begun to build out it’s advertising program. Designed to make the free app profitable, advertisements were introduced to users’ feeds almost two years ago, but were limited to a few core brands. Today, Instagram has announced that it will expand its advertising program, allowing all brands to participate in advertising on users’ feeds.

In addition to this expansion, Instagram is testing new call-to-action buttons on some sponsored content. These will include buttons that say, “Learn More,” “Shop Now,” and “Sign Up.” The addition of CTA buttons allows Instagram to remain hyperlink-free, as it has been since it’s outset. As with past adjustments to their advertising program, Instagram remains dedicated to disrupting the flow of users’ feeds as little as possible.

This expansion of their advertising program provides a new opportunity for all brands to tell a visual story on Instagram and target it to Instagram’s younger demographic. And while some critics will remain skeptical until the program’s roll-out, we see this as an opportunity. Brands will be able to share a deeper connection with consumers based on a creative visual story, and consumers will be able to take action when they enjoy sponsored content.

What Sparks Our Fire: Enhancing offerings to advertisers, without compromising the user experience.

Google Results In 140-Characters Or Less

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If you’ve made a Google search on your phone in the past week, you might have noticed a some interesting new results pop up. The “Popular on twitter” section debuted last week and is the first project to come from Google and Twitter‘s new partnership. Google will now show relevant tweets on some of it’s most popular mobile search results.

Displayed just below Google’s own “In the news” section, this new feature will allow searchers to see the most up-to-date information on the subject they are searching for, and help them gauge the public conversation around that subject. The prominent placement of the tweets on the search results page highlights the relevance and importance of social media by prioritizing it second only to “news.”

This innovation is just one of a few that Google has introduced this year to help make their mobile search tool as user-friendly as possible. Earlier this year, Google changed it’s mobile search algorithm to prioritize mobile and responsive websites. They’ve also created new ad experience options for brands advertising via mobile search.

Google and Twitter’s partnership enables social media commentary to become an even larger part of the information-gathering process for search users. And while tweets will only appear on certain search results with enough popularity, it is easy to see how this integration of facts and commentary could potentially help brands. By seeing non-affiliated tweeters talking about a brand, consumers can get a better, more organic sense of the brand’s personality and benefits to them.

What Sparks Our Fire:  Elevating the credibility of tweets as a source of real time information