Wednesday, 23 April 2014

App to Tackle Autism Seeks Expansion Through Crowdfunding.

UPDATE!!!!! Deadline for this campaign has been extended for 10 days from today (20th June 2014). There is still time to help this worthy project reach its funding target.

The developers behind Brain in Hand, an app devised to help those with autistic spectrum condition, are seeking expansion with some of the funds being sought through equity-based crowdfunding. Through the leading UK platform Crowdcube, Brain in Hand hopes to raise £100,000 of the total £750,000 needed the rest of which is being sought from other investors. If successful Brain in Hand will increase its users from 125 to over 4,000 enabling it to be available to individuals as well as organisation.

Brain in Hand was devised by Andrew Stamp whose younger sun was diagnosed with autism. Frustrated with quality of local services available, Stamp consulted with clinical psychologist Dr Tony Brown, and along with other professionals and academics (some of whom have also been diagnosed with autism) came up with the idea for the app. Brain in Hand provides assistive technological support through a secure website and a smartphone app to develop and encourage confidence and foster greater independence. Initially using the website, users create a sort of diary thinking ahead about the daily challenges they might face and solutions that help them cope. Through the app the user has instant access to those solutions when needed and they can monitor their mood using a traffic light system, with red being the most severe indication. If the user records a red light warning they will be in touch immediately with a mentor. Using solution - focussed conversational techniques the mentor provides a calming influencing helping the user regain better control.

The app is mainly used by four NHS trusts, including a mental health specialist trust with over 125 users currently registered. In the last week it has expanded its license which limited its access to organisations, to include individuals. Brain in Hand wants to expand the current user base to over 4,0000 but will need funds to provide technical support as well as increased mentoring services. To date £375,000 has been pledged from a variety of investors directly. The company is seeking £100,000  in 55 days through equity based crowdfunding and has launched a campaign through Crowdcube. The funds being sought represent a total 7.9% equity in the project and qualifies for tax relief under the UK governments EIS scheme.

It is reported that around 700,000 (1 person in 100) have been diagnosed with autistic spectrum condition, 15 percent of which are in full time employment. Successful expansion of Brain in Hand will provide sufferers with a means of gaining more control and independence as well as mentoring supporting with the touch of an icon on their smartphone. For more information and to register interest click here to visit the project's campaign page on Crowdcube.

Image Credit; Beverly & Pack

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

GE Partnership Launch Co-Creation Microfactory

Leading multinational giant GE is no stranger to the successful use of crowdsourcing in its search for innovative products. The latest venture sees the company in partnership with the University of Louisville Kentucky, and crowdsourcing platform Local Motors to launch a co-creation platform to harness innovative ideas for the manufacturing industry. Operating from the University campus, FirstBuild aims to bring together students, designers, and innovation enthusiasts to collaborate on the development and construction of a new smart appliances.

The idea for FirstBuild was inspired by GE's recent successes through open innovation partnerships with GrabCAD for a lighter and sturdier jet engine bracket using 3D printing technology, and the platform Quirky through which users could access GE patents to devise new consumer products. This naturally led to a partnership with Local Motors, a co-creation platform with a global community of designers, amateur enthusiasts, innovators and inventors to devise hardware innovations through its network of micro-factories. This partnership also includes the University of Louisville's Speed School of Engineering whose knowledge and experience with 3D printing helped build the first 3D printed model of the human heart.

GE has a longstanding partnership with the University, employing over 6,000 Louisville residents to work at the company's 900 acre Appliance Park complex. The University's engineering students gain work experience at GE facilities whilst GE employees regularly work with the university's faculty and students on a variety of projects. The creation of the FirstBuild micro-factory is the next step built on GE's open innovation and university partnerships.

Firstbuild will be open to the public and from the 1st May will operate from an existing building within University campus. The goal initially is to devise smart appliances to revolutionise the future of cooking inviting designers, engineers and professionals to collaborate on new ideas. FirstBuild is also geared at creating an advanced manufacturing hub for the University's engineering students conduct research and develop practical training and skills. All will have access to GE iterations and designs from which to develop product ideas, or can come up with their own designs. 

Image Credit; Les Chattfield

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

[Review] The Raid 2; Berandal

Stars; Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Yayan Ruhian,
Written/Directed by; Gareth Evans
Running Time 150 Mins
Release Date; 11th April 2014

Following the bloody aftermath of the first film, rookie cop Rama now finds he is a target of the corrupt cops who had sent him and his team on the suicide mission to take down a brutal drug lord. To unmask the corruption at the highest levels and to protect his family Rama agrees to infiltrate the crime families to obtain the necessary evidence. However he soon finds himself caught in the middle of a rising feud between Jakarta's biggest crime families and thus a cat and mouse game of survival ensues.

After the success of The Raid; Redemption in 2012, Evans had the unenviable task of ensuring that the sequel should be superior in every way. Whilst the basic nuts and bolts story suited the claustrophobic feel and setting of the first film, with "Berandal", Evans has created a magnum opus crime saga with a thrilling story as tense and engaging as the brutal martial arts carnage that ensues. Every aspect of the film is grander in scale compared to the first from the two and a half hour running time to the epic story lines and of course even more wince-inducing jaw dropping bloody displays of Pincak Silat.

Director, Editor and Writer Gareth Evans avoided the often repeated sequel trap re-treading the his first ground-breaking feature, and moved the story along in every respect. The script is packed with individual strands of events at first seemingly unrelated such as Rama's deep cover operation to expose the corruption of the police force he swore to serve, the son of a crime boss impatiently awaiting his turn to take over his father's empire, a lowly assassin, and a rogue thug looking to make his own mark in the underworld. Theses strands are woven together into a tapestry of tense double dealing and betrayal with a recurring theme of dissatisfaction echoed in Ucok's strained relationship with his father, and Rama's increasing frustrations with his mission.

The film is splashed with an array of colourful, engaging characters all excellently portrayed. Iko Uwais as Rama is back not only showcasing his Silat skills but also flexing his thespian muscles. Uwais convincingly conveys a man out of his depth and in fear, for his safety and that of his family yet spurred on by a combination of the need for vengeance with his moral convictions. Uwais's performance brings the visceral intensity of Rama's plight convincingly to life. Arid Petra as Ucok, Bangun's son delivers a chilling performance, with a deadly charm and all the coldness of a murdering sociopath who slits his enemies throats as calmly as he enjoys a glass of wine. Providing amiable support are Oka Antara as Eka advisor to Bangun's crime family and Alex Abbad as Bejo whose over the top performance conveys brilliantly all the evil ambitions of a bond villain. The supporting stars as henchman called upon to do their masters bloody bidding, however really do steal the show from the main players. The Assassin (Cecep Arif Rehman) Baseball Bat Man (Very Tri Yulisman) and the much talked about Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle) despite saying very little and only having limited screen time exude plenty of almost likable character and charisma turning them, Hammer Girl in particular, into revered anti-heroes.

Gareth Evans, Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian @Film4FrightFest Screening
Although the action serves the needs of the story it also acts as a centrepiece and with a bigger budget Evans and crew have been able to indulge themselves. The jaw dropping displays of Silat are grander, more imaginative, and bone crunching than before. The visual and aural level of the fight scenes are far brutal than the previous film yet befits the overall feel of Berandal, with some comic elements for light relief. The car chase is a new feature executed with all the intensity and recoil-inducing excitement one would expect from a good car chase, even rivalling the "Fast and Furious" franchise. It is one that surely should be placed in a movie car chase hall of fame amongst the likes of "Bullitt", and "The French Connection".

From start to finish "The Raid 2 Berandal" is tense, engaging and exhilarating with plenty of story and action to keep fans entertained for its two and a half hour running time. Evans has far exceeded the first film in every respect and proven himself as a talented film maker who knows how to tell a story and get the best performances from his cast and crew. The bar has been set very high, with even Hollywood action pictures struggling to hold a candle up to this exciting feature. 

Thank you to Fright Fest and Cineworld Haymarket for this special screening and an amazing evening