Azure explores new and upcoming innovations that will make a positive difference on every scale, from the individual to the city. Here, we look at Imogen Heap’s musical gloves and Google Lens – for keeping an eye on diabetes.
1 Mi.Mu by Imogen Heap
British electro-pop artist Imogen Heap has always been fascinated with fusing technology, sound and performance, and in 2013 she launched Mi.Mu, a prototype for musical gloves that create live music through a wave of the hand. Equipped with LEDs, haptic motors, inertial measurement units and motion detectors, the gloves respond to raised arms or the flex of a finger, cueing pre-programmed sounds and note progressions. The choreography is as much a part of the performance as the music, and even pointing moves sound around a room.
Heap is now working with a small team of musicians, designers and computer scientists in London. Her recent Kickstarter campaign fell short of its financial goal, but the project still brims with potential, perhaps more so for a generation that has grown up playing Guitar Hero and video games rather than traditional instruments. – Erin Donnelly
2 Google Lens
Google is stepping beyond driverless cars and street view mapping and into the medical world. Google Lens aims to give diabetics a way of monitoring their glucose levels continuously without shedding blood, using a corrective lens that sits on the eye like a contact. A sensor embedded within measures sugar levels once every second, while a wireless chip powered by a radio frequency magnetic field sends the readings to a nearby cellphone, via an antenna thinner than a human hair. After teaming up with Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis in July, Google announced that prototypes should be ready for testing as early as next year. – David Dick-Agnew