Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Travel Back in Time With Timehop

“This day in history” articles are always fun, giving us a look back at the interesting things that happened last year, a few years ago, and even before we were born. Unless you're someone famous, those features are usually about someone else. But you can now have a “this day in history” about you, too, thanks to an app called Timehop.

Timehop is “a time capsule of you” that lets you see your past social media updates and photos. What were you doing today last year? We take so many photos and post so many updates these days that we hardly remember them or give them a second glance. Timehop lets you revisit your first day on your dream job, a fun night out with your BFFs, or that summer traveled across Europe.

The Timehop team believes content becomes more valuable with time. Every morning, you'll be greeted with “a fresh Timehop experience” comprising your old photos and posts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Flickr, and your camera roll. “Timehop's goal is to become the place the world connects around the past,” says co-founder and CEO Jonathan Wegener.

He and Benny Wong founded Timehop in February of 2011 at the first-ever Foursquare Hackathon. Back then it was called 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo, and was originally intended to replay your previous Foursquare check-ins over your present ones in real time. Today, the iOS version of Timehop has seen more than a million downloads and is in the Top 200 in the US App Store. The Android app was launched just recently.

Based in New York, Timehop is backed by OATV, Techstars, Spark Capital, Dennis Crowley, Alex Rainert, Kevin Slavin, Rick Webb, Naveen Selvadurai, Steve Martocci, and Jared Hecht. Timehop has been featured in TechCrunch, USA Today, NY Daily News, and The New York Times.

EasyRead Is a Language-Learning App for Adults

EasyRead is an upcoming app that aims to “take language education to the next level.” Targeted at young adults and professionals looking to learn a new language, EasyRead takes content from real publications and simplifies them so language learners can read topics that interest them at their specific level. EasyRead is a great solution for folks who don't have time or money to attend expensive evening classes or aren't too keen on reading children's books. The Malaysia-based startup has developed an algorithm that helps its international crowdsourced team create simpler versions of various books and magazines.

EasyRead is currently “hatching” at The Nest, a co-working space in Kuala Lumpur operated by Mother Goose Venture Developers. The startup is accepting beta testers, and anyone can sign up to be one on its website. EasyRead is the brainchild of a group of young entrepreneurs from Malaysia, Denmark, and Germany who want to “disrupt the language education sector.”

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Turn Anything Into a Musical Instrument With Mogees

Currently Kickstarting (with just about two days to go): Mogees, a seemingly simple device and mobile app that lets you “play the world” by turning everyday objects into musical instruments. The brainchild of Bruno Zamborlin, Mogees is about everyone, regardless of musical or technical ability, making beautiful music out of ordinary things, expressing themselves, and letting their musical imagination run wild. When you attach the small sensor to a table, a tree branch, a bowl of fruit, a bicycle wheel, or anything you want, it detects and analyzes the vibrations produced when you interact with those objects, then uses a special sound technique to change their acoustic properties and make them musical.

There's no need to install or set up anything. Simply stick the Mogees sensor to your “musical instrument” and you're ready to unleash your inner Beethoven or Mozart. You can play any object anytime, anywhere. The extremely versatile device can be used to create planned or improvised, pro or beginner musical performances.

The Mogees app, which is compatible with certain Android and iOS devices, comes loaded with a host of features to enhance your musical experience. Sound presets are included, but you can make your own. You can improvise using free mode, or reinterpret your favorite tunes using song mode. Step things up a notch by playing with a backing track – use the app's pre-loaded loops or import or record your own. For more goodies, the pro version includes acoustic properties, remote mode, and DMX control.

Mogees has appeared in Yahoo! News, Rolling Stone, Mashable, CNET, Wired, Engadget, Digital Trends, This Morning, ABC News, USA Today, and more. It won first prize in the Interfaces and Materials category at Laval Virtual 2012, was an ICT Spring Europe Innovation of the Year 2012 nominee, and received the Young Researcher award in Science and Music at IRISA's Day of Science and Music 2012.

HereO : A GPS Watch for Children

HereO is the world's smallest and most advanced GPS watched designed especially for kids. It looks cool and tells the time, but its most important feature is that it lets parents know where their children are in real time. The HereO watch connects to the HereO Family app, where mom and dad can view their little ones' whereabouts, as well as the location of all family members who have the app. Other useful features of the HereO Family app are group messaging and location alerts. With the latter, parents can create virtual fences around any area such as home, school, or work and receive notifications when a specific family member arrives or leaves that place.

The HereO team worked on the HereO watch for more than three years, creating several prototypes before arriving at the final trendy design. Built from the ground up with active children in mind, the watch is comfortable, water-resistant, and lasts up to 50 hours between charges. It also houses an accelerometer that sends an alert when shaken horizontally five times.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

23snaps: Private Photo Sharing for Families

Called a “Facebook for families” by TechCrunch, 23snaps is a free app that lets you share your most precious memories privately with the people who matter the most. Not your online friends, not your co-workers, and definitely not strangers – but your family members and close friends. Based in London, 23snaps is a private photo-sharing app created by parents, for parents. It provides a completely safe and secure way to record the special moments in your life and share them with your loved ones, wherever they are in the world. The startup was founded in early 2012 by Ivailo Jordanov and Yury Tereschenko. With their wives both pregnant, they wanted their families to be a part of their children's lives even if they lived far away. Privacy was one of Jordanov and Tereschenko's top priorities – they needed a simple yet beautiful way to store and share photos, videos, and updates with just their families and closest friends.

The mission of 23snaps is to make it “incredibly easy” to create digital photo albums and help families feel closer to each other. Available on Android, iOS, Windows, and the web, 23snaps is accessible via smartphone, tablet, and computer. You can even invite not-so-techie family members to receive updates by email. And if you'd like to have physical copies of your digital memories, you can order photo books from 23snaps as well.

Recently, 23snaps added a “stories” feature that lets you combine photos, videos, and text in a single update. This was added after the startup noticed that 20 percent of posts contained multiple photos and 40 percent had detailed descriptions.

With over 500,000 users in almost 180 countries, 23snaps has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, CNET, The Marilyn Denis Show, The Next Web, and more. The company is named after the 23 pairs of human chromosomes.

Know Yourself Better With Reporter

Reporter is a new iPhone app that helps you keep track of your daily activities and better understand yourself. Each day, Reporter will present a few randomly timed surveys that will collectively shed light on aspects of your life that are otherwise immeasurable. The app includes a pre-defined set of questions, but you are encouraged to customize your Reporter experience by adding your own questions and editing or deleting the existing ones. You an also control how frequently and when they will appear. Question types include multiple choice, numbers, yes/no, notes, locations, tokens, and people.

Reporter is designed to capture the most information with the least friction. Surveys are lightweight and smart suggestions make completing them a piece of cake. The more you use Reporter, the faster the answering process becomes. As you complete reports, Reporter aggregates your answers into visualizations on the home screen, allowing you to see your life patterns. You can export your reports as CSV or JSON files or save them to Dropbox.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Find Cool Stuff to Do With Wingit

Bored and got nothing do? Use Wingit to discover cool stuff to do nearby right now. With just a few taps on your phone, you can see what's currently happening around you, whether it's a fun live performance a few blocks away, free cocktails in the bar next door, or a secret gig by one of your favorite bands. The app also lets you share your discoveries with your friends and make last-minute plans together.

Wingit is powered by a proprietary algorithm that continuously scans billions of pieces of information shared on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It then filters these posts to present only the coolest things to do based on your location, so you never see things such as your neighbor walking his dog.

In addition, you can create your own community on Wingit to share plans with your friends – tell them what you're doing, see what they're about to do, and never be bored again.

Little Pim Teaches Young Children a Second Language

Little Pim is an award-winning children's language program that makes it fun and easy for children to learn a second language. Scientific research has found that children learn best when they start early, and Little Pim is specifically designed for tots ages 0 to 6. During this period, kids' brains are hardwired to learn up to three languages with ease. Research also shows that bilinguals have superior reading and writing skills, especially if they learned a second language before the age of 6.

Little Pim is available in 11 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Children are guided through the videos, flashcards, books, and CDs by Little Pim, an adorable cartoon panda who serves as the “teacher.” Kids can learn over 360 words and phrases, giving them tools for future success – one only needs 500 words to be considered “conversational” in a language.

To help children naturally acquire a language, Little Pim uses its proprietary Entertainment Immersion Method to keep them fully engaged as they learn a second language. Each lesson has a child-friendly theme such as eating, colors, playtime, and feelings, and videos are kept short to accommodate a youngster's attention span. Little Pim has received over 25 accolades for its unique program including the Mom's Best Award, iParenting Media Award, The Toy Man Award of Excellence, Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award, National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, and more.

Little Pim was founded by award-winning filmmaker and language teacher Julia Pimsleur Levine, whose father, Dr. Paul Pimsleur, created the Pimsleur Method. Inspired by her own bilingual childhood, she wanted to give her young son the same opportunity to learn a second language. Little Pim was born when she couldn't find any high-quality language programs for toddlers. Pimsleur Levine spent several years developing Little Pim alongside leading neuroscientist Dr. April Benasich, educators, and native language experts.