Samsung’s Creative Lab, or C-Lab for short, is somewhat akin to Google’s “moonshot” projects — in other words, the sort of experimental products that stand distinctly apart from the company’s bread-and-butter businesses. Last year’s projects included a “fitness belt” that measures calorie intake by the circumference of your waistline, a “smart shoe” that tracks the precision of your golf swing, and glasses that enable 3D viewing on the go. Now, having successfully guided those ideas through successive rounds of crowdfunding, the company is back with a new crop of contenders.
The first, Hum On!, is musically inclined. Described as a “mobile app designed to help people make their own music [by] humming,” it takes the form of a simple, gradient interface with a round microphone icon. Pressing the button begins a session, during which the tempo and recording duration’s displayed as notes are transcribed in real time. The resulting sheet music can be supplemented with instrumental accompaniments or edited in pitch, point, or duration.
The second, Waffle, is a social network with an emphasis on creativity. You can draw, doodle, or post “other visual content” on friend’s walls, or alternatively start “stories” — grid-like layouts of artwork, pictures, selfies, and other creations to which friends can contribute over time. Waffle supports social network staples like hashtags and comments, too. And unlike Samsung’s other C-Lab projects, it’s available now: The company’s launched a beta on Android devices.
LiCON, in contrast, aims to simplify networks of a more physical nature: smart homes. Using your smartphone’s camera, it can “recognize and control” Internet of Things devices from “toys” to “bottles and appliances” — take a picture of a smart TV, for instance, andLiCON will surface the appropriate volume and channel controls. It’s unclear what work’s required on the part of manufacturers to enable support, but the idea’s a potential game change: Often the most challenging part of setting up smart devices is figuring out how to control them all.
C-Lab’s new projects aren’t strictly relegated to the realm of software. The ItsyWatch, a kid-friendly smartwatch, aims to imbued “good habits” in kids by giving them the opportunity to care for virtual pets. Much like the Tamagachi keychains of yesteryear, ItsyWatch’s digital companions require regular care and attention in order to thrive, and reward adherence to healthy habits like exercise and tooth brushing with virtual gifts. “[It’s] designed to relieve parental stress and strengthen the emotional bond among family members,” Samsung said.
FITT360 and Ahead
Ahead and FITT360 round out C-Lab’s hardware efforts. The former, a “communication device” for bikers, skiers, and motorcyclists, takes the form of a Bluetooth triangular clip-on capable of playing music, receiving voice notifications, and more. The latter’s a hands-free, head-mounted camera that captures “all surrounding scenes — the sort 360-degree clips and movies bound for consumption on virtual reality headsets.
Samsung said the employees of C-Lab, which has been operating for more than four years, have produced “more than 150” projects. “The latest […] are just some of the exciting technologies and products ahead for Samsung Electronics,” the company said in a press release.