Location aware Wi-Fi to send thousands of fans updates during events

The sight of thousands of people holding up their mobile phones as they watch a gig has become a more than familiar occurrence but now these fans could receive exclusive backstage interviews and deals by connecting to a Wi-Fi network at the same time as thousands of others.

At sports events phones could vibrate to give fans at events real-time betting opportunities, allow them to order food and drink to their seats and provide replays and updates from other sporting events using new technology developed by start-up company Mobbra.

The company, based in Manchester, UK, and aims to enable mass connectivity in large venues using their Massivity system.

The system allows 500 devices to connect to a single wireless access point – whereas it claims competitors can only connect up to around 60 devices at once – and provide content that fans can interact with.

Mobbra have only revealed the technology in the last few months and the latest tests show them practicing pushing content to up to 1,000 devices using two access points.

President and founder of the company Will Walters said the idea came from trying to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with a mobile device.

Walters told Factor: “Massivity is a technology that we have been developing for the last couple of years and we have just gone public with it over the last couple of months.

“We took inspiration from the Coldplay wrist band and said ‘what can we do with the power of a smartphones?’

“Smartphones are getting better and better and we looked at how can we create a more engaging fan experience by using a smartphone. We then looked at sports as well as music.

“From there we thought there is a problem with connectivity. The technology enables marketing agencies to be more creative because one of the biggest problems over the last five years has been wireless connectivity. We’re trying to be pioneers in wireless fan engagement.”

The company said by re-writing some of the code it will be have no upper limit to the amount of users that can be connected in one area and that it has been speaking to one event which will have up to 850,000 people attending.

It is currently targeting sports and music events and say they have been speaking to football clubs in the UK and Europe as well as NFL teams in the US but say discussions have also been had about being able to provide crucial information in emergency situations.

Walters said the mobile app Fangage, which is due to be available later this month, will capitalise on location-based software. It will also be able to work away from an event which, means users could receive extra footage if using their device as a second screen while watching television at home.

“The long-term goal is that we are creating almost an app for the wide entertainment industry. Because our technology is quite intelligent if you walk into a different location it knows where you are and you have a customised environment and a customised feel to that location,” he said. “We are trying to create an app that makes your life easier.”


“We are very strict on security and digital rights management.”


The technology will also be able to control the users’ phones in some ways – such as turning a camera’s flash light on – which has raised some concerns over the individual’s privacy.

But addressing potential concerns with allowing the technology to connect to and control people’s mobile phone Walters said the company takes privacy very seriously.

He said: “It all comes down to the app and what you allow us to do. If you don’t allow us to turn your light on then we can’t turn it on.

“We are very strict on security and digital rights management. The user has to give us permission to automatically turn it on. When you download the app there’s certain functionality that we ask for and you have to give us permission to do so.”


Image courtesy of Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com


Robotics’ answer to Raspberry Pi lets you build a robot army on the cheap

This adorable little robot, called LEO, has been designed for hackers, educators and those who want to be able to hone their skills with mobile machines.

The robot kits allow all sorts of adaptations, including the addition of a Raspberry Pi, user controls, quick change wheels and more. Included in the array of options is smartphone control which will help to enable the robot to travel anywhere.

The technology is also controllable with cult open-source prototyping platform Arduino.

It has recently appeared funding website Kickstarter and has already had several backers pledging money to make the project a reality.

Ambitiously, the project is trying to raise a total of £50,000 for the production of the robots, with the hope that the product will help to improve people’s knowledge of coding and development.

Creative Robitics Ltd, a company that makes creative products for robots builders, is the behind the hackable robot.

It hopes the campaign will be successfully funded in April and by August the assembly, testing and packaging for shipping to backers will be completed. The parts for LEO are to be made in China and assembled in the UK.

The company says: “Leo is designed for experimenters and tinkerers. It includes two headers for standard hobby servos which can be used to create pan/tilt systems for mounting sensors or for experimenting with more advances steering using servos or ‘Mars rover’ style rocker suspension.

“We even made sure that the battery holders on the LEO pcb can be located in several positions so you can play around with the weight distribution and make room for floor sensors and suspension systems.”

Leobot3

Backers who decide to pledge more than £715 will receive a swarm of 6 LEO robots, each with four wheels. This could be useful for those who want to use the robot in teaching research or workshops, as well as being ideal for budding evil overlords.

Their Kickstarter page says the product will transform the way people play, learn and experiment with mobile machines.

“As well as operating as a standalone robot you can also use LEO as a base for a more sophisticated controller like the Raspberry Pi or you can fit a WiFi, bluetooth or Zigbee module for control via WiFi or Smartphone,” the page reads.

“LEO is designed to be hacked, customised and generally messed around with. The flexible yet simple design combined with our HUB-ee™ wheels opens up a new world of creative possibilities for experimental robot builders and tinkerers.”


Images courtesy of Creative Robotics Ltd.