Innovation Igniter highlights some of the biggest news in high tech and electronics, such as updates on VR and and AR applications. This week, we cover stories about an innovation lab built by GE, the surprising Microsoft-Amazon partnership, a new VR application for language learning and Google’s new ARCore for Android devices.

VR and AR Applications

How GE Appliances Built an Innovation Lab to Rapidly Prototype Products

GE Appliances launched FirstBuild in 2014 to spur innovation and growth, and to marry the benefits of both a large corporation and a nimble, lean startup. FirstBuild is a GE-equipped innovation lab and micro-factory, with separation being a key factor in its success thus far. FirstBuild engages in open source innovation, and acts quickly on ideas. It has already achieved important successes such Opal, an affordable “nugget ice” maker for households, and The Monogram Pizza Oven.

VR and AR Applications

Cortana and Alexa are Coming Together in Surprising Microsoft-Amazon Partnership

Microsoft and Amazon are collaborating to get their voice assistants in communication with one another. Each of the voice assistants individually can reach people in ways the other cannot, with Microsoft’s Cortana actively used by 145 million Windows 10 PC users and Amazon’s Echo successfully making its way into living rooms and bedrooms. Currently, people need to ask one assistant to start up the other before they can use it, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hopes that won’t be necessary in the future. Bezos initially approached Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about a potential collaboration.

VR and AR applications

The New Way to Learn Languages: Virtual Reality

Learn Languages VR by Mondly is a new foreign language teaching app that supports 28 languages and capitalizes on the power of the virtual reality experience. It transports people into situations where they might need to communicate with someone in a different language, such as a cab where you can talk with the driver in a different language or a hotel where you speak to the receptionist in a language of your choice. The realism of VR can benefit language learners, but it will probably not entirely replace apps like Duolingo, Drops or Memrise, since VR can only be used in more limited situations (i.e. not on public transportation for someone’s daily commute).

Apple’s Already Winning the Augmented Reality Wars Against Google

Let the battles begin. Google has now revealed ARCore, its rival to Apple’s ARKit. ARCore is an augmented reality platform made to work with Android devices – currently limited to the Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8. Historically, Google seems to have focused more on VR, while Apple has focused more on AR.


Our Authors: Matt Suits and Andreya Carlson

About The Author: Matt Suits

Matt has always loved interacting with clients to find solutions for their challenges. He was drawn to business development at Kaleidoscope because of the great potential he saw. After graduating from the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati, he worked with two startups, a marketing consultancy, a financial services company and the non-profit 3CDC. He believes that listening is the most important part of sales. In his free time, Matt enjoys movies, trying new foods, traveling and the great outdoors.

About the Author: Andreya Carlson

Andreya has always been fascinated by language and the written word, which drove her to earn a degree in Journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She additionally earned a degree in Psychology, which kindled her interest in the healthcare industry. Her experience in marketing, communications, writing and editing includes work with a prominent human rights organization in England and a Cincinnati-based book publishing company. Andreya’s appetite for knowledge and passion for purposeful creation led her to cover design and healthcare advancement news for Kaleidoscope.

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