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The Most Ambitious In-Store Retail iPad Integration We've Ever Seen

Article by Camilla Grey

Excerpts:
What Control Group built is a socially engineered software experience that delivers lots of high-quality content–images, GIFs, videos, walk-throughs, social network product sharing, product specs–in order to give people a reason to come in and stick around. “It’s about using technology to drive a certain behavior,” said the partner who owned the project for Control Group, Colin O’Donnell.

Co.Labs spoke to O’Donnell, the partner at Control Group, and Kyle Andrew, Kate Spade’s SVP and brand director of the new new brand the company is launching at the Tokyo store, Kate Spade Saturday, about how this adventurous little iPad system is changing retail.

Announcing Judges For Co.Labs & Target Retail Accelerator (And How To Impress Them)

Top engineering minds from Dropbox, Github, Mixpanel, Target, and FastCompany.com want to see how you imagine the retail experience extended by apps and mobile web.

For the first time we’re announcing the judges for the contest. Hailing from Dropbox, Github, Mixpanel, Target, and FastCompany.com, these five minds will engage in a formidable (but friendly!) shouting match about what makes a killer retail app. Then they’ll narrow down the entries to seven in the semi-finals, and narrow again down to one to find the winner.

Without further ado, they are:

Find out more here.

When you concentrate on your inhale or exhale in a yoga posture, or on the sounds of a mantra in meditation, you are fully in the here and now. It’s only by slowing down that you can observe things as they really are, including yourself. Being in the now is hard work, but it also helps to give you some detachment and perspective on the dramas of your daily work and life.

‘I would be interested in seeing studies conducted on the physical and psychological well-being of anyone trying to start up a company,’ says Poikos CEO Nell Watson. 'It’s easy to lose your grip on stuff, physically and mentally. Yoga is a powerful way of re-centering oneself and putting oneself back in the body and also in the current situation that you are in and not in the situation that you are worrying about.’”

Why coders need yoga

How The UN’s New Data Lab In Indonesia Uses Twitter To Preempt Disaster

Predictive disaster relief is the goal, says Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of the UN’s Global Pulse initiative, and Twitter data may be the key. The program uses social network analysis to study living conditions throughout the world and preempt crises. “We found that a combination of food words and mood state was able to predict the consumer price index several weeks ahead,“ says Kirkpatrick.

Read the full article from our new section Co.Labs here.

Meet Co.Labs! Fast Company’s new section dedicated to everything relating to software, software design, and coding! 

This site is a workshop where you, me and everyone else in the coding community can learn, share, collaborate and build.

Click here for a proper introduction.

Co.Labs will be SXSW this week to celebrate–and to launch the Co.Labs & Target Retail Accelerator, where an app you build can get seeded or acquired by Target before summer’s over. Enter the contest or show us what else you’re inventing in a tweet @fastcolabs. Follow along by subscribing for our newsletter.

Get excited!

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After months of work and anticipation, the winner of the Co.Labs and Target Retail Accelerator contest has been announced!

The challenged asked developers and designers tobuild a new kind of retail experience on top of Target’s e-commerce platform, going from a plan to a product in just 90 days. The winner? Social shopping app called Divvy, brought home the $75,000 grand prize.

Built by Team Pilot, Divvy is meant to make shopping more efficient- especially in a group setting. With features that make it easier to split bills, share copies of receipts, maintain shared transaction history, and earn rewards points, Divvy ultimately aims to lead to less trips to the store, less time wasted shopping, and a more transparent budget/expenditure situation for a family, group, or team.

Imagine a family out and about their daily activities. One family member decides to take a trip to Target. She can add other family members or friends to the shopping list, allowing them to contribute items. The family member at Target collects and buys the items, and the other family members or friends can settle up in-app, right away, along with receiving a copy of the itemized receipt and appropriately distributed rewards points.

Team Pilot was able to complete the app to such a degree that work is already underway to release it to the public under the official Target brand. It will be Target’s fourth mobile application.

Read more about Divvy and Team Pilot here

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Meet Fast Company’s new Co.Labs- code+community

“This site is a workshop where you, me, and everyone else can think, share, collaborate, and build.”

Watch on blog.fastcompany.com

Fast Company has launched a brand new site, Co.Labs. We couldn’t be more excited about it–in fact, we’ve been celebrating all weekend in Austin!

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Why Clothing Is The Next Frontier Of Responsive Computing

A Dutch designer believes garments may become our most intimate computing devices.

Talk of an Apple watch has created an intimacy problem for personal technology. “What happens when it jumps outside of the computer screen and becomes part of our body?” says Daan Roosegaarde, who runs the eponymous design studio in the Netherlands. 

Roosegaarde is the creator of the conceptual Intimacy 2.0 dress, the getup that made news in February by initiating a transformation into transparency when the wearer gets hot and bothered. He wants to draw a line in the sand between “interactive” technology–the kind that keeps us glued to screens–and a more passive kind of garment that reflects your state of mind by changing color or shape.

The Intimacy 2.0 dress is activated by proximity and heart rate sensors, respectively, and from their naturally opaque state turn various degrees of transparent when a small electrical current runs through the e-foil.

Usually when garments involve electronics, it’s the beep-boop kind with flashing LEDs and a wired-in 9v battery.

“We’ve always been fascinated with this notion of a second skin, of making things that sort of feel alive,” says Roosegaarde. “One day we decided to actually apply it to fashion, where this notion is already present, but we wanted to move away from the LED, the RGB things.”

Read more here.

Minding The Gap: How Your Company Can Woo Female Coders

The software industry has a gender problem. Men far outnumber women, and while most of those men like (dare we say delight in?) having women around the office, the cool-bro rockstar nerd culture makes it harder to attract, hire, retain and–most importantly–listen to women engineers.

We’ll be tracking successes, conflicts, and visionaries in this vein, and narrate as the status quo changes.

Our promise: We won’t stop tracking this story until there are as many women working in software as men.

Here are some updates:

For those who missed it, “donglegate,” as Wired dubbed it, is the latest blowup after a display of sexism in the coding community.

Bruce Byfield, who has written extensively on all things free & open source, gives an overview of sexism in the FOSS community. 

Ashe Dryden, a Drupal and Rails developer, did the software community a huge favor by starting to answer the question “How can I help tech be less sexist?” 

The headline of this article in Forbes elides individual (and organizational) responsibility by saying that women are “accidentally” excluded from tech. 

Dani Landers, a transgender woman game developer, gives an account of how her identity informs her game design decisionsin Bloom, a game currently vying for funding on Kickstarter.

So, a pretty prime example of women being reduced to sexual objects in the technology world is this article on Complex, “The 40 Hottest Women in Tech”. 

Stay tuned as coverage continues!

[Image: Flickr user Ryan Anger]

How The Rebirth Of The GIF Screws Up Authorship

This MIT-built app creates crowdsourced, time-lapse animations from individual snapshots which aren’t quite still images but aren’t video either. The renaissance of the GIF is also blowing up distinctions between time, place, and creator–all because you want to animate your cat.

Apps like Vine and Cinemagram have blown up what used to be a simple distinction between still images and video. Now an MIT app project has made the line even blurrier by using content created by different authors, officially enabling users to kick off a video-ish experience created by no one in particular, at no particular point in time.

The result of these authorless GIF-like animations is fast-moving “flipbook” animations that show a single location through the eyes of many. Subsequent photos at the location add frames automatically, creating a collaborative record of the spot over time. While playful photography is fun, the project’s larger impact is to demonstrate an interface for collaboratively documenting spaces over time–without much deliberate action on the behalf of anyone.

We caught up with MIT Mobile Experience Lab Systems Designer Steve Pomeroy to talk about the project, which is dubbed FLIPR.

Here’s the story.