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If you thought Yoyo was a toy made of wood and string, it’s because you’re either not a student in London, or not working at a university-affiliated retailer.

For the uninitiated, Yoyo is a mobile payments application, providing users with faster payments and bulging-wallet-free loyalty ‘stamps’ - and retailers with lower transaction fees, targeted offers, and greater granularity of information about their customer base.

The app launched in beta at one of Imperial College London’s on-campus cafés last Autumn, and returned in the new year across all of Imperial’s outlets, drawing over 2,000 active users in just two weeks.

With the techy Imperial crowd loving this new app, it’s no surprise that other’s in the area are jumping on board - Greenwich, Queen Mary, UCL, and the Royal Colleges of Art and Music have all signed up.

Continue reading this article »
Ambarish Mitra, CEO Blippar, speaks at Sparks@LSE 2014

Speaking at Sparks@LSE today, Blippar CEO Ambarish Mitra revealed a forthcoming version of the product identifying augmented reality app for Google Glass, that will be announced at Mobile World Congress on Monday.

From humble beginnings, Mitra spoke of his previous startup successes and “extravagant failures”. The Blippar CEO outlined communications progress from cave paintings, through books, radio, and the world wide web, with belief that augmented reality is the next step.

Image credit: @LubomilaJ Continue reading this article »

Skype for Android Picture in Picture video call

The latest update for Skype on Android (version 4.5) brings picture-in-picture (PiP) video calls to Android tablets.

Using the ‘SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW’ permission from the Android SDK allows the app to display a video call over all other applications, while also allowing interaction with other open apps.

This is an incredibly useful feature for a somewhat passive application such as Skype, where the user may want to browse in Chrome, or check out a link sent by the calling friend, all the while remaining in the ongoing call. Continue reading this article »

OS X Mavericks

Apple recently issued free upgrades to OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Aperture, iWork, and iLife. However, an issue with the Mac App Store means that users with an older copy of the software - however obtained - are receiving free upgrades to the latest (and legal) versions. Great news for trial users and pirates, but not so great for Apple, who have a potentially unlimited number of copies of upto $200 software being dished out free of charge. Continue reading this article »

Cover for Android

Location-aware apps are increasingly the rage among hip youngsters and young hipsters, an ironic juxtaposition to the growing anger at Government spy agencies - it’s a strange trend that we want startups to take our data, assuming Valley devs will do nothing but noble deeds with it, while all Governments are evil entities collecting our data for malice.

Cover is the latest such app, promising to provide the most relevant apps on your Android lockscreen, according to criteria met by its accumulation of your activities by location and time. It’s a clean style, that’s unobtrusive for the fairly prevalent view that is your lockscreen - it would be jarring to transition to only the most “maximal” of launchers, and is certainly a good fit for the similarly intended Aviate launcher, though it probably wouldn’t be unreasonable to think Aviate may be working on their own lockscreen to tie directly into the launcher. Continue reading this article »

Windows Phone 8

Microsoft is understandably pretty anxious to fill up the Windows Phone Store as fast as it can. The company’s already tried letting would-be-developers use its own web-based studio, in order to lower the barrier for entry to create a WP8 app.

Now MS wants to be a bit more direct. A spokesperson has confirmed that Microsoft are now publishing their own pin-able web app versions of apps not currently available on the platform. “In most cases we hope that usage of the Web App will encourage the ISV [Individual Software Vendor] to publish its own native app.”

It’s clear that MS realises it has to start gaining some traction, or risk going the way of Blackberry. Continue reading this article »

SwiftKey Layouts for Living Beta

People love to be able to choose their own Android keyboard, whether it’s swipeable, split-thumb, not QWERTY, etc. - so they must surely love to be able to take that customisation, and be able to do it on the fly, right?

SwiftKey thinks so, and they’re latest public-access beta dubbed ‘Layouts for Living’ does just that. Users can now resize the keyboard, and move it around the screen (think Facebook Chat heads) and even dynamically split into two for use with each thumb. Continue reading this article »

Anker Astro Pro 2

We’ve all been there. You’re out, chilling in your favourite corner of your favourite coffee shop. You’re minutes away from completing that all-important document; moments away from clicking ‘send’ on that urgent email. Your battery dies. Of course it does. You curse yourself for not having bought that larger, spare, or external battery that’s been on your Amazon wishlist for so long.

The Anker Astro Pro 2 is a beast. A real behemoth of an external battery.

And yet a slender beast. One you carry with you - to save you from another such horrific moment - with pride. Continue reading this article »

Hangout in HD

Google’s VP of Engineering, Chee Chew, has announced that High Definition video is currently being rolled out to Hangouts users worldwide. At this stage, HD video will only apply to Hangouts on Air, and only from the web client; not mobile apps.

However Google assures that when the rollout is complete, private video chats will also be in HD, and independent of whether it originates on a mobile app or desktop via the website. Continue reading this article »

University of Washington develops brain to brain interface

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a method to interface two human brains, facilitating one person to control the movement of another - at this stage restricted to tapping a space bar.

Their development was in the interface, using existing and non-invasive methods to ‘connect’ to each brain. The controlling human was hooked up to an EEG, which takes an electronic recording of his brain activity, meanwhile the other’s brain was activated by means of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Continue reading this article »

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