Editor’s Note: Tomorrow Transformed explores innovative approaches and opportunities available in business and society through technology.
With hundreds of thousands of new apps coming out each year, developers are keen to come up with original ideas
As a consequence, some developers come up with wacky concepts to open up a new niche in the market
"Hug Me" is an app that connects you to strangers to receive a free hug
There’s an app for that. But maybe there shouldn’t be. With hundreds of thousands of new apps being released each year, it’s becoming difficult to stand out from the crowd.
Most developers seem happy to just steal some thunder from the most popular of the bunch, while others strive to create a new niche. But the road to originality is paved with really questionable ideas. After all, as the great philosopher Jerry Seinfeld once said: “Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason”.
1) Hug Me
This is an app that connects you to a random stranger with whom you can hug. The developers proclaim, “In a world where friendly physical contact is fading away, we introduce you to Hug Me, the app to rediscover the pleasure of hugging someone.”
This all sounds weird enough, but the website even provides some examples of how and when it can be used: “Are you in a subway and got some good news? Look for someone on the app and ask them to give you a congratulation hug!”
In case you need any more instructions, here’s a video explaining how it all works.
Unfortunately, Hug Me doesn’t seem to be getting much love. The developers launched a Kickstarter campaign asking for $100,000, and received a grand total of $50 from one backer. Launching the app produces a sad screen stating “There is no one around you to hug”. The critical mass of huggers just isn’t there.
2) Cope it
Cope it is a smartphone app that offers “mobile treatment for dental anxiety.”
I will give you a few seconds to recover from that.
Unfortunately, the app is not yet available and most of the explanatory text on the website is in Danish, but without too much mental choreography we discover that “40% of dental patients suffer from dental fear, resulting in significant economical consequences for the clinic. ‘Cope it’ is a solution for identifying, supporting and handling patients with dental fear.”
It turns out, if you have dental fear, your days are numbered. You will be identified and handled as you deserve. You will no longer cause economical consequences for the clinic. There is no escaping. Is that a dentist lurking in the shadows outside your front door?
3) Lok Lok
Would you grant your friends complete, unrestricted access to your smartphone’s lock screen, allowing them to produce unannounced and unsolicited hand-drawn messages as they see fit? This is what Lok Lok is all about, giving the acronym NSFW a completely new meaning. Take a look:
Considering the lengths people tend to go to when given free rein with drawings, this doesn’t sound like a great idea.
QGo is all about cutting your waiting times by avoiding queues. It’s ironic, then, that once you go to the QGo website you are presented with a loading icon: evidently you are queuing to have it displayed on your computer. After the moderately annoying wait, you are greeted with the message, “Good products make companies successful, good services make them unbeatable!”
Granted, QGo seems great on paper. An app that gives you a real-time indication of long queues on the slopes, at theme parks, or at the movies. But the required infrastructure to make this works seems daunting. And ultimately, wouldn’t directing a large group of people away from a specific queue, simply create another? If you’ve ever tried to switch queues at the supermarket, you know this has a slim chance of working.
5) Be Kimd
Apart from the weird name that makes you think twice about how to pronounce it, this one sounds promising: “Use your smartphone camera without disturbing the crowd,” they say. If you’ve ever enjoyed a live concert through the four-inch screen of the person in front of you, you know this is good. But how does it work? This video explains it.
Well, it does at the very end, because the first minute or so is all about three cool people hanging out and having drinks. Then in the last ten seconds they finally go to a concert and fire up the app. That’s when we see what Kimd really is: a camera app with very low screen brightness. It is a screen dimmer. It dims the screen. A function every smartphone includes by default.
How about this: if you really want to be considerate to other concert goers, don’t use this app. Keep your smartphone in your pocket altogether and enjoy the show.
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