News Around The Mobile Metaverse – September 14-18, 2015

Every day the Sourcebits team internally shares links to our favorite mobile industry news and stories. Many are related to mobile app design and development — others are just plain fun. Here’s a roundup of interesting stories we uncovered this week from around the mobile metaverse.

We’re on the Brink of a Revolution in Crazy-Smart Digital Assistants
By David Pierce, Wired

Do you speak computer? If you are reading this, you must, since in order to get to this page you would have to silently command your machine to take you here. The graphical user interface has dominated computer design for decades and the design has carried over to mobile devices. But, what if there was another way? What if a computer could speak your language? Turns out, those are the same questions that developers were asking in the 70’s, but only now is computer technology ready to communicate with humans via the spoken word. All the major tech companies plus dozens of startups are in an arms race to create the smartest voice activated computer ever. One that makes Siri sound dumb.

Virtual Reality in Healthcare: Where’s the Innovation?
By Alex Senson, TechCrunch

Virtual reality headsets are coming to a store near you in 2016. At least, Mr. Senson thinks so. But virtual reality has been used for decades in the healthcare sector and promises to expand greatly in the near future. Computer simulations have been used to train surgeons, treat soldiers with PTSD, and now it is time for the VR industry to take the next step. Senson predicts that VR will change healthcare for good because it will adapt to each individual patient and deliver customized treatment. He lists a number of fitness-oriented mobile apps as the first generation of virtual healthcare while also explain that countless afflictions can and will be treated with VR in the future.

iOS 9 Tells You Who That Unknown Caller Is
By Mark Sullivan, Venture Beat

It almost seems like caller ID is way behind the times. People have to be in your address book in order to be identified onscreen when they call. Well, iOS 9 is ready to end the ambiguity of calls from unknown sources by scanning emails for matching phone numbers if the person isn’t in your address book. Not exactly an original idea considering the TrueCaller mobile app already does the same thing, but hey, Apple is bringing the idea to the big stage. Of course, iOS 9 includes a bunch of other goodies, but this one is especially convenient.

Harvard Launches Design Engineering Master’s Program to Tackle Multi-Scale Problems
By Alexandra Alexa, Core 77

Design is the confluence of science, art, business, and psychology. That is true across an array of industries from healthcare to mobile app design to manufacturing and beyond. With that in mind, Harvard University is establishing a program that will grant Masters Degrees in Design Engineering. The new program is a hybrid between the School of Engineering and the School of Design and includes classes within both disciplines. As a general outline, students will attempt to answer tough questions with real world applications that balance cost, technology, and social benefits. Harvard hopes this new degree will generate dozens of new and innovative thinkers every year.

Like or Dislike? Facebook should take a lesson from Pixar’s Inside Out and let you express emotions
By Dean Takahashi, Venture Beat

Disney made a film this summer called Inside Out in which the emotions of a young girl were analyzed. Low and behold she has more than two emotions! She went through periods of fear, anger, joy, and disgust throughout the plot of the film, kind of like a real person. Too bad Facebook hasn’t got the message. For years, Facebookers have been limited to one emotion, “Liking.” But Mr. Zuckerberg seems to be suggesting that a “Dislike” button may be coming to the FB in the near future. There are obvious reasons that a dislike button could cause FB problems but come on, give the people emotional freedom. You might just get a few million Likes from it.

3 Trends in Mobile Payments You Need To Know About
By Ilya Pozin, Forbes

The day will come when credit cards and cash become obsolete. Instead, people will pay with their mobile devices instantly and simply. Pozin outlines three trends in mobile payment tech that he believes will give rise to the mobile payment revolution. First is the tech giants like Apple and Android trying to develop a mobile payment platform for their phones. Second are companies who are trying to change the way customers buy goods by offering special mobile-specific deals. Third are the mobile apps that streamline the payment process by allowing individuals to directly send payments to each other through the app. The only questions that remain are when and how mobile payment takes over the world.

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Piotr Gajos, Chief Innovation Officer

Piotr is Sourcebits Chief Innovation Officer. A 2006 Apple Design Award winner, Piotr draws much of his inspiration from film and music, and focuses on leading our Innovation Strategy Workshops, generating new ideas for Sourcebits, and consulting on projects.