Innovation, Experimentation and Collaboration
That’s what Storm Labs projects are made of.
Not quite the sugar, spice and niceness of the Powerpuff Girls, but the folks here at Storm sure know how to cook up an imaginative app or digital tool to improve all aspects of your life.
Whether you need help learning mnemonics, struggle to keep track of your utility bills or your shorthand isn’t up to scratch for meetings, we’ve come up with our own Chemical X to provide the solutions to all your problems.
Injecting agility in the workplace
Take Kyle Bonallo’s Project Base, for example. This website does exactly what it says on the tin – it provides a base camp for all important project information to be stored and accessed by anyone at Storm.
With its ready-made template, Project Base will streamline the process of recording steps for project set-up.
Kyle intends to provide a singular, collaborative platform for everyone’s project notes in case further work is needed after the end of a big project.
A hive of information, Project Base will ensure that developers no longer have to sift through their project notes from months ago, should further work be required.
Certainly a worthwhile project for a more agile approach to how we do things at Storm, Kyle is providing an internal hub that will improve efficiency and accessibility to information throughout the development team, and beyond.
Guarding our assets
In a similar vein to Kyle’s work, Phil Oyston has been inspired to build a hub for internal work and created Praetorian Protect.
With the objective to store wireframes and static images for projects in a single location, Praetorian Protect is an innovative internal tool being developed to speed up delivery times for clients when receiving wireframes for websites.
Intended to protect the assets we wish to share internally and with clients, Praetorian Protect acts as a proxy over static files and will only provide authorised access to those with log-in details for each project.
Taking inspiration from Ancient Rome, Phil aptly described Praetorian Protect as follows:
“If the emperor is the client, Praetorian Protect is the guardian of our work for them.”
Spitballing ideas has never been easier
Did you ever play that game as a child where one person drew a head at the top of a page and folded the paper over for someone else to draw the body, and so on, to see what sorts of weird and wonderful creations your combined imaginations created? Well, that’s the idea behind Tom Glenn’s voix.space.
Exploring the capabilities and uses of interactive data visualisation, this social experiment will let users post an idea and allow other users to reply. Unlike the drawing game of our childhoods, though, the original poster will never see the replies to their idea.
voix.space has great potential for sprints, creative idea sharing and general therapeutic catharsis (including suggesting a pub trip).
Harnessing Twitter’s people power
Wouldn’t it be great if you could decide on a film to watch using Twitter users’ review tweets to guide your decisions? Well, thanks to Adam Mulgrew and Mick Perkins, now you can!
A result of Adam’s attempt to aide his film reviewing, Tweet Score was born.
The technology will sift through Twitter for tweets about a new film release (or any media content) via a title or relevant hashtag, and use Microsoft Cognitive Services to analyse the sentiment of the 100 most recent tweets to generate an aggregate sentiment score.
Not constrained to just films; Twitter Score will provide real reviews and give you the true feelings of the people on any subject; celebrities, politics, baked beans – because that’s what Twitter does best.
Do you have that je ne sais quoi?
If not, and you’re looking to broaden your linguistic abilities and learn new languages, John McDowall is on hand to help you out with his new app Word Hook.
Using bridge words to connect an English word to its foreign translation, John hopes he and others can learn new languages with ease and pick up foreign phrases velocemente (Italian for quickly; easily remembered using the bridge word velocity).
We’re upping the selfie game, too.
Don’t you sometimes wish you had a portrait that wouldn’t look out of place in a castle or stately home’s library without having to sit for hours in some awkward position that inevitably will crick your neck? Geoff Stockham has an app for that.
Combining photography with art history to take selfies to a whole new level, Geoff has been playing with the Fast Neural Style Transfer algorithm which reimagines images to look like other images (find out more here).
He is creating a system that will allow users to upload custom reference images which are then converted to a model that can be used to transform uploaded photos into that style.
If you fancy creating a Picasso of Edinburgh Castle or turning a selfie into a modern day Mona Lisa; or more practically an interactive art history tool to provide an immersive education about famous artists of the past and present, Geoff’s programme is the one for you.
Swapping the screen for green
The Labs aren’t all happening online, though. A green-fingered few have taken their project offline and outside – accepting the challenge of livening up our outdoor space, and boy do they have plans.
The once sad and weathered bench has been painted Hot Mustard Yellow, window boxes are being filled with lavender and there is even a patch of artificial grass to spruce up the concrete underfoot.
By transforming the formerly drab area into a potted plant haven, the gifted gardeners intend to grow herbs, fruit and vegetables for communal consumption (particularly summery jugs of Pimms on Friday evenings).
The hope is that improving the garden will encourage people to use the space for meetings – weather permitting – and lunch breaks to increase the vitamin D levels and smiles office-wide.
Like another string to a bow, our talented developers and designers are proving, once again, that we aren’t just creators; we’re innovators.