Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Danish Math Wizards Use Big Data To Cut Airport Waiting Time In Half – And Next They’re Doing The Same With Hospitals

Via Business Insider:

Danish startup Copenhagen Optimization has become the go-to-guys for making airports run more smoothly. Like they did at Genève Aéroport where the average waiting time was reduced by more than 50%.

“It’s all about numbers”, says Anders Dohn, Managing Partner and co-founder at Copenhagen Optimization, ”At the core, we have a number of sophisticated mathematical models that we apply to each specific operational area. We use data to find patterns we can utilize in terms of optimization. For instance, we know that passengers use more trays at the security checkpoint in the winter because people wear more clothes. But with our model, we predict the pressure on security, treating each day as unique. That allows for a much more efficient allocation of resources”.

Since 2015, the startup has worked with 20 airports around the world, improving their operations. At Dublin Airport, passenger throughput increased by 10% and in Stockholm Arlanda, peak in check-in counter demand was decreased by 5.5%.

The passenger leaves a data trail through the airport.

The math experts have chosen to work with airports for two main reasons. Firstly, both Anders Dohn and his co-founder Kasper Hounsgaard have practical experience from managerial positions at Copenhagen Airports. Secondly, airports have vast amounts of data at their disposal, enabling them to follow the passenger's every step, almost.

”The passenger submits data all along the way, from checking in to having the boarding pass scanned at an airport shop. Furthermore, many airports have Wi-Fi or sensor technology to track passengers within the airport.

That means that we know when the passengers arrive, how long they stand in line, how long they take to pass through security, where they are in the airport and how many passengers are boarding the plane”, says Anders Dohn.

Airports are late on strategy and technology.

With all that data at their disposal, you would expect airports to excel at analyses and forecasts but that is not the case.

”Other industries like retail are way ahead of airports when it comes to tracking people”, Kasper Hounsgaard explains, ”I think it is cultural. Airports are really good at making things work in real-time. But they can improve planning by working in more structured ways with data and thinking long term”.

In order to help airports getting better - and to expand the business - Copenhagen Optimization recently launched software-as-a-service solution, Better Aiport. The client can subscribe to services such as Better Border Control and Better Forecast.

Next destination: Hospitals

Airports are not the only people-intensive facilities in need of optimization, and the Danish startup is now turning to hospitals. ”The challenge is similar to airports. You have a large number of people that need to move through the infrastructure, but at the same time you must pay attention to their situation and needs”, says Kasper Hounsgaard.

The startup is working with the pathology department at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark's largest hospital.

”The department handles a large number of different samples and the prioritization of tasks is complex. We analyze the extensive data available to help them improve their processes”, Anders Dohn explains.

Copenhagen Optimization has been in operation for two years and employs 15 people. It has been without external funding until recently when the company got additional capital from The Danish Growth Fund (Vækstfonden), and three private investors.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The 1000 Richest Families In Scandinavia Evade A Third Of Their Taxes, Finds A New Bombshell Study

Via Business Insider:

A new study indicates that Scandinavia's wealthiest families are moving their money abroad to avoid paying taxes.

Research study: The richest families in Scandinavia avoid paying up to a third of their taxes

The study estimates that the 1000 richest families in Scandinavia have withheld as much as 32 procent of the taxes they would otherwise be required to pay.

The researchers behind the study imply that the wealth gap in Scandinavia in the last ten years has increased more than previously thought. The study's results, published on Monday, have made waves in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

“Up until now there’s been an assumption that most of tax evasion is done by small business owners who bend the rules, but these results show something completely different. It’s actually the wealthiest people who are avoiding taxes to the largest extent”, said Annette Alstadsaeter, a professor at Handelshoyskolen in Oslo involved in the study, to SVT.

Alstadsaeter worked together with her research colleagues Niels Johansson at Copenhagen University and Gabriel Zucman at Berkelely in California. Their estimates are partly based on the Panama Papers and Swissleaks (an extensive leak of Swiss bank accounts) as well as an investigation into Swedish tax evasion previosuly done by SVT.

The rich prefer Swiss bank accounts

Based on their study, the trio could conclude that the wealthier the individidual, the higher the likelihood of tax evasion. This is likely because the rich have better opportunities to hide money abroad.

Having compared bank account details in Swissleaks with tax declarations in Denmark and Norway, the researchers posit that almost all Swiss bank accounts set up by Scandinavians are being used for tax evasion.

“Normally it’s not illegal to have a bank account in Switzerland. But this shows that 95 percent of the accounts are not included in tax declarations. This means we’re talking about tax evasion”, Alstadsaeter said to SVT.

The study also found that as a whole, tax evasion leads to three percent less tax revenue in Scandinavia. The researchers do not know the identities of the concerned individuals, as bank account details were anonymized ahead of the study.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Helsinki Airport Has Successfully Trialled Using Face-Recognition Technology Instead Of Travel Documents

Via Business Insider:

Finavia, Helsinki-Vantaa airport’s operating body, has just concluded its most advanced test of facial recognition technology to date. Run in cooperation with Finnair and digital solutions company Futurice, the test-run was conducted over a period of three weeks in May, to follow-up on a preliminary trial last year.

Phase two was conducted in the Finnair normal priority passenger check-in and 1.000 frequent flyers were invited to take part. The participants used a trial app to send their face profiles to the test software platform. The travellers were then forwarded to a designated check-in desk that contained the facial recognition tech.

The fact that image recognition technology can now recognize your face didn’t prevent passengers from liking the seamless check-in.

“I’m happy to report that the customers involved in this latest test were delighted with their experience, so of course, even though we are in assessment stage concerning the facial recognition technology in a holistic sense, this bodes well for larger-scale utilisation in the future”, says Heikki Koski, Vice President of Helsinki Airport for Finavia.

The goal is to apply the technology on a much larger scale.

Though the tests are preliminary, the hopes are that they will eventually lead to a point where biometric scanning in departure and transfer halls will become the norm. One day, it may be that all you need to bring to the airport is your good self, and the rest will be taken care of by itself behind the scenes.

“We want to make air travel flow even smoother and be involved in further developing the customer experience”, says Heikki Koski, Vice President of Helsinki Airport for Finavia. “Facial recognition is part of the larger megatrend of biometric identification, and it will enable ‘hands-in-your-pockets-travelling’, where you no longer need any travel documents. When all travel-related information is digitized, it takes less time and is easier to get through the checkpoints at the airport”.

The system used in the test was supplied by Futurice, and built using existing hardware/software and cloud-based services.

“We use facial-feature-based face recognition technology, which turns facial images into untraceable biometrics IDs”, says Tugberk Duman, Project Manager at Futurice. "This enables us to identify registered passengers on the go without having to store images. This test will provide useful information on the use of this solution for environments with large customer flows and tight security needs”.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Plato's Cave Is Real According To Einstein, Feynman And Others

Via Above Top Secret:

I'm watching the really good show on NatGeo called Genius about Einstein and he showed with Relativity that we live in a timeless universe and the evolution of any 3D experience isn't objective reality. He said:

“Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent ‘now’ objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence”.

From his book Relativity

We're looking at Plato's Cave.

He also said the distinction between past, present and future is just a persistent illusion. So in this context, we can't look at our universe as any sort of objective reality. It's subjective relative to four dimensional spacetime.

There's all sorts of spacetimes different than ours that are outside of our light cone. They could be in curved spaces different than ours based on their reference frame.

For 3 dimensional objects, we can experince different times and different space based on our acceleration. The things that are constant are the speed of light and spacetime intervals. So an object traveling close to the speed of light will will experience time ticking more slowly and their length will contract and it will get smaller.

So time is connected to spacetime intervals between events. The faster you go towards C means spacetime interval ticks between events gets slower and more stretched out. Here's a couple of videos that talk about spacetime intervals.

So this raises questions about things like free will which I believe is answered by quantum randomness and things like the free will theorem which speaks to the quantum nature of consciousness. So events can be seen in different order and in different ways by observers in different reference frames.

Say you have observer A and observer B.

Observer A sees these 3 events in order.

JFK's election

The Cuban Missle Crisis

JFK's death in Dallas.

Observer b can be moving in a different reference frame because they're accelerating at a different speed and are at a different angle relative to observer A. So observer B sees:

JFK's election

The Cuban Missle Crisis

He doesn't observe JFK's death though. His past light cone just contains these 2 things and not JFK's death. The question becomes, does observer B have to observe JFK's death or can JFK assassination just become an assassination attempt? JFK then serves 2 terms and lives to be 85 in the future light cone of observer B.

Einstein would say, observer B would have to see JFK's death. This is because he didn't think God played dice with the universe therefore he didn't like quantum randomness or things like entanglement.

If he were here today, he would probably support parallel universes because quantum mechanics doesn't lock observer B into observer A's worldline. So just because observer A saw JFK's assassination it doesn't mean observer B has to see the same thing if JFK's assassination hasn't happened for observer B yet.

Richard Feynman saw time in a similar way with sum over histories which indicates the direction of our ordinary clock time is simply a path in space which is more probable than other directions.

Other worlds are just other directions in space, some less probable, some equally as probable as the one direction we experience. Sometimes our world represents the the path that's unlikely. Feynman's summing of all possible histories could be described as a timeless description of a multitude of spacetime worlds all existing together in a simultaneous way. Here's Feynman talking about the universe as a glass of wine (Plato's Cave).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Two Former Nokia Engineers Did What Google And Apple Wouldn't - Now Their Software Runs On 1.5 Billion Mobile Devices

Via Business Insider:

The success story of Realm is annoyingly simple.

”We were a couple of Danish engineers with an idea but no connections to Silicon Valley whatsoever. So we contacted Y Combinator by filling out a form and then they invited us over for a meeting”.

That was three years ago when Alexander Stigsen and his co-founder Bjarne Christiansen came up with the idea for a mobile database while working for Nokia in Denmark.

Databases need to run on the device itself, not on some remote server.

Today, Realm is running on more than 1.5 billion devices. Apps using Realm include Netflix, Starbucks, Ikea, Samsung, and BBC.

”Every interaction is moving to mobile. That means more and more data on the device, hence the need for a mobile database at the same place. The more data you can keep within the actual app the faster the app can work and respond to the user. Traditional databases run on online servers. Our database runs on the devices themselves”, Stigsen explains.

The Realm Mobile Database is now the most popular third-party database in the world replacing SQLite, the default database for both Android and iOS.

Too overwhelming for Google and Apple, so this startup stepped up.

While the need for mobile databases is evident, the development is a complex endeavor.

”It takes a long time, three to four years, to build a modern mobile database. That is why even the big vendors like Apple and Google do not have their own mobile databases. It just seemed overwhelming and they never really got started. This is where we saw a market opportunity”.

The market is about apps and getting through to the user. In order to achieve that, apps need all the speed and responsiveness they can get.

”The mobile space is extremely competitive. The average users have 20 apps on their phone while they have millions to choose from. You need a high performing app to be part of that club”.

Serverless is the new black in mobile apps development.

The impatient user is also the driving force behind the latest trend in mobile, serverless. That doesn’t actually imply not having servers, but a new degree of cloud computing where the app developer gets cloud functionalities such as code execution.

”Serverless is a huge trend right now because the traditional way of running apps is too slow. With a fully serverless interface, you can build an entire app on your platform in the cloud. That is why we see a move towards serverless with services like Google Cloud Functions”, Stigsen explains.

The need for faster data is ever increasing as the developers are pushing new functions craving data such as Augmented Reality (AR) and collaboration.

”We see a clear move towards interactive features and AR where the user interacts with the surroundings in a digital way. There are lots of opportunities for developers but they still need the app to be fast. We also see an increase in the use of collaborative tools for the workplace such as Slack. It is a natural next step towards the mobile platform for the enterprise”.

Realm has received a total of $29 million in funding to date. Investors include Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, and Scale Venture Partner.

Monday, May 22, 2017

EU Leak: Sweden Has To Adopt The Euro By 2025

Via Business Insider:

Frankfurter Allgemeine has taken part of documents detailing plans to introduce the euro in all member countries by 2025 – including Sweden.

The leaked "reflection paper" outlines discussions between EU officials who met on Monday to prepare for an upcoming EU-commission meeting on the future of the euro on May 31st, writes SVT.

According to Frankfurter Allgemeine, the officials discussed a target that would force all EU members to join the euro by 2025.

The idea woule be to give the EU-parliament "democratic control" over the euro area's fiscal policy, as opposed to the current setup, where euro area finance ministers make decisions behind closed doors.

But shortly after the leak became public, it was refuted by EU-commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, who took part in Monday's meeting. He claims the true purpose of the plan is to "complete" euro area cooperation, not to force member countries into the currency.

"Of course we do encourage all member states to join as soon as they meet the prerequisites. But there is no specific time limit", Dombrovskis said, according to news agency Direkt.

Under the current EU treaty, Denmark would have the right to opt out if a "forced" decision were to be taken.

Additional EU-countries without the euro are Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nordea Has Decided To Move Its HQ From Sweden, Sources Say

Via Business Insider:

The Nordics’ largest financial group, Nordea, has reportedly taken the decision to move its headquarters from Stockholm. This according to Svenska Dagbladet, which cites high-level sources.

The decision will be formally taken on Nordea’s board meeting on May 30th, headed by chairman of the board Björn Wahlroos.

The news of a move are not unexpected as Nordea has been in an open dispute with the Swedish government regarding its proposals for higher bank fees into the so called resolution reserves.

Nordea faces up to SEK 5 billion (∽$570m) higher annual fees, if the Swedish government — which has a tougher stance on finance than most of the EU — gets its way.

Earlier this year, CEO Casper von Koskull said a HQ move would be “highly, highly likely” in case the new fees would come into effect.

The most likely candidates for a new HQ are Helsinki and Copenhagen.

According to Svenska Dagbladet, Copenhagen has the upper hand within Nordea, in part because employees would prefer living there, and in part because the Danish government has made assurances that no new fees will be introduced in the country.

Although the decision is dramatic, and will have direct consequences for thousands of employees, the bank's corporate and investor clients may not notice the move as much, says Erik Ekman, Nordea's head of Commercial & Business Banking and Swedish country manager.

“These customers don’t see that big of a difference on Nordea regarding where the headquarters are located”, he said during a capital markets meeting in London recently.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Human-Made Protective Shield Surrounding Earth Has Been Detected By NASA Probes


Humankind created a protective barrier around Earth. That protects us from harmful particles found in space. Who knew that something so wondrous can be a by-product of man's waste and creations back down on Earth? Scientists believe this was created by very low frequencies(VLF), which are mostly found in military installations and engineering projects. They have discovered that VLFs interact with particles in space to influence how and where they move. VLFs can penetrate into space but are also used for deep underwater communication between submarines.

Scientists are elated to unhinge this discovery as knowing how VLFs can shape and influence the spatial region surrounding Earth is the gateway to more amazing discoveries, such as better protection for our satellites in Space. The discovery was made by two space probes sent up into our Van Allen Belts back in 2012, where they had orbited at 3.200km/h for the past five years before this amazing discovery was made.

The barrier is now termed the "impenetrable" barrier by Dan Baker, University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. However, scientists such as Dr. Baker are skeptical about other effects that frequencies down on Earth have on the spatial environment. After all, not all can be good. NASA has added their own explanation in this, claiming that radiation is a major problem. Now that nuclear weapons are a necessity for national defense, way up there in space, many major satellites have actually been damaged by them.

To be able to create an almost indestructible space barrier seems like something out of a sci-fi movie, however, this is real life. Every single day, humankind is making miraculous discoveries at any point in time. Now that we know that not everything created by humankind is destructive, one can only hope that humankind can have more positive influences in the galaxy we live in.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The SeaBin Was Made To Clean The Sea From Trash – And Has Found One Of Its Biggest Supporters In Finland

Via Business Insider:

The first SeaBin in northern Europe was installed last Tuesday 9 May at a jetty on Uunisaari island, in Helsinki. Thus the Finnish capital became one of a select six ports where a SeaBin prototype is being tested by pilot partners before its official sales launch later this year. The Finnish technology company Wärtsilä, which has a global marine business unit, is backing the SeaBin in Finland with six to be put into the water altogether – and is supporting the project on a global level for three years.

SeaBin’s concept and development has a cosmopolitan background with three Spain-based Australian friends and their Spanish mate the main driving forces. Keen water sports fans, they were only too aware of the problem of floating litter, especially plastics, visually spoiling the sea surface while doing greater damage to the general marine environment and eventually to human beings.

It was Andrew Turton who came up with the idea of having a floating litter bin much like those on shore. He and his fellow co-founders have since invested around four years and lots of their own money in research and development, to finally get to the point where commercial sales are finally in sight.

The basic operating principle is simple enough - rubbish is sucked into the SeaBin and held by a mesh bag inside while the seawater is pumped out.

“It can clean up to ten kilos of rubbish before it needs to be emptied,” CEO Pete Ceglinksi claims, “Imagine the total for a year”.

Being an environmentally friendly bunch, the four co-founders did not want any harm to come to any aquatic inhabitants. However, it has been observed that the SeaBin’s action keeps fish away from its rim. Should any happen to fall in anyway, they will remain alive in the water and can be released when the bag is emptied.

In all, six SeaBin V5s will be procured by Wärtsilä for both Helsinki and Turku, where they will be installed at marinas and harbours with the results collated and analyzed after three months. Other sites chosen by the SeaBin team are in France, Montenegro, Bermuda, USA and Mallorca in Spain, where SeaBin is headquartered.

On his second visit to Finland, at the setting-up ceremony of the first SeaBin, CEO Pete Ceglinski said that "The installation of the V5 SeaBin here in Helsinki marks a real turning point in the fight against plastics and littering. Wärtsilä is the first big industry entity to partner with the SeaBin Project, which is a world first. We hope that this partnership with Wärtsilä inspires other big industry players to partner with smaller businesses that have big ideas for a cleaner environment".

“The floating rubbish bin has been developed by people who are passionate about solving problems. I hope that Helsinki strengthens its reputation as a place where creative people discover and experiment with solutions to the world's problems," said Helsinki's Deputy Mayor, Anni Sinnemäki, a representative of the Green Party.

With the planned commercial rollout of a SeaBin, hopefully in August, a peak will have been ascended by the Aussie-Spanish outfit. Ceglinski is the first to admit it has been exhausting, “We have been running on fumes finance-wise for a while”. Being young and optimistic has helped, along with the modern trend of crowdfunding to raise much-need cash for the idea.

The SeaBin team has high ethical standards too.

“We could have had them made in China, but SeaBins will be made in Europe. We could have sold the idea, but we think it is important that it’s not just a product – it’s part of a holistic approach that includes education, promotion, help and action,” explains Ceglinski, “Because SeaBin is just one part of the [marine environment] solution”.

Within the foreseeable future, the SeaBin will be powered in the by sustainable energy sources like solar, wave and wind, depending on the local situation. A herculean task lies ahead: over 8 million tons of plastics are dumped annually into the Earth’s oceans and can take up to 500 years to be broken down. Even then micro-plastic particles find their way into the food chain of animals and humans. But even some of these smallest particles will be caught in the SeaBins’ bags.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Google Just Teamed Up With Volvo To Take On Apple With One Of The Most Important Features In New Cars

Via Business Insider:

Google has partnered with Volvo to build a next-generation infotainment system into future vehicles as part of a push to corner the rapidly growing connected car market and take on Apple CarPlay.

New Volvo cars released in two years will feature Google's next-gen system that runs on Android. But unlike Android Auto, the new system won't require a smartphone to operate. That gives Google access to drivers who might use services like Google Maps in their cars, but don't own Android devices, ensuring its services and apps are in continual use.

The partnership is also meant to improve the customer experience by better integrating apps and services into cars rather than shoving phone screens into car displays. Drivers will be able to access apps developed by Android, Google, and Volvo.

"Google's platform and services will enhance the user experience by enabling more personalization possibilities, while Android will offer increased flexibility from a development perspective", Henrik Green, Volvo's senior vice president of research and development, wrote in a press release.

Google will show off live demos of the system at its annual I/O tech show on Wednesday.

Google joins several others in the race to advance the connected car experience, including Blackberry with its QNX Operating System and Apple with CarPlay.

Customers have generally been reluctant to use in-vehicle systems that can be clunky and difficult to use. In fact, more than 50% of car owners never used their infotainment systems after 90 days of purchase, according to a 2016 study led by J.D. Power.

That's problematic for car companies that are investing heavily in the data-generating entertainment systems. McKinsey & Co. predicts Big Data from cars will become a $750 billion industry by 2030.

The Android operating system won't send any data to Google on its own, but drivers that use apps like Google Maps or Spotify can elect to share data to improve services.

The move will give Google a stronger foothold in the auto tech market and the potential to use data that could be useful for its other platforms.

As Bloomberg points out, it could also set the foundation for Google to introduce its artificial intelligence system Android Auto into vehicles. Apple currently has an edge of Android Auto by integrating Siri into its in-vehicle system.

Meanwhile, for Volvo, the move could help encourage consumer adoption by improving the in-vehicle experience.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Finland's Basic Income Experiment Is Already Lowering Stress Levels — And It's Only 4 Months Old

Via Business Insider:

Four months after Finland's social-security institution Kela launched a two-year experiment in basic income, a system of wealth distribution in which people receive a salary just for being alive, some of the 2,000 recipients are already reporting lower levels of stress.

The $600 they receive each month might not be much, but it's enough to put some people's anxiety at ease, Marjukka Turunen, head of Kela's legal benefits unit, told Kera News.

"There was this one woman who said: 'I was afraid every time the phone would ring, that unemployment services are calling to offer me a job'", Turunen recalled of a woman who needed to care for her parents, and so couldn't work.

Basic income is foremost a solution to poverty. Advocates say the system gives poor people exactly what they lack: cash. It puts money in their pocket to fix a leaky roof, buy a car to get to work, or save up for emergency funds. It's not enough to live on, but it prevents people from slipping through the cracks.

With that financial security comes additional benefits, says Scott Santens, a basic income advocate and writer. Santens has been receiving a basic income for the last couple years from the crowdfunding site Patreon. He says basic income redistributes power into the middle-class — namely, to turn down unappealing jobs — and promotes trust.

Basic income "says everyone should be given a minimum amount of trust, because the way we currently use pieces of paper to measure and distribute trust is fatally flawed without it", he says, offering the example of supermarkets being full of food while millions of hungry people can't access it. "Everyone is worth enough trust to enable their basic survival".

Finland's program is a modified version of basic income, since most advocates claim the system must be unconditional. Finns had to have been unemployed when they applied in 2016 to receive the benefits.

However, if they happened to have found a job after applying or after the experiment started, they will continue to receive the $600 each month.

Turunen emphasizes that Kela won't provide any formal data on the trial's effectiveness until 2018. The participants who speak to the press may not represent the entire pool of recipients, she told Basic Income Earth Network. "The results must be very carefully analyzed according to the information we only get at the end of next year".

Turunen has expressed high hopes for the trial. Experiments in Kenya and elsewhere have shown basic income can work on a small scale. As she told Business Insider in January, however, the long-term data still doesn't exist.

"Some people might stay on their couches, and some might go to work". she says. "We don't know yet".

If there are couch potatoes, they at least seem to be relaxed.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Blind Mystic Baba Vanga Predictions For 2017


Baba Vanga, the blind Nostradamus of the Balkans, made some troubling predictions about World War II three that have aroused the imagination of conspiracy lovers.

The prophetess, who died 85 years in 1996, is accused of having made hundreds of predictions about the future of humanity, with an accuracy rate of 85%, of her house in Sofia, Bulgaria.

On an inspection of his predictions - with the permission of some creative internet sorts - it appears that Baba Vanga also warned of Syria conflict, nuclear war and the disappearance of the US President.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

People Are Throwing Money At This Swedish Startup – With Earplugs That Shut Out Noise But Let You Continue Talking

Via Business Insider:

Do you find the noise level at your workplace disturbingly high? If so, you should definitely check out Malmö-based startup Ear Labs’ new campaign on Kickstarter.

The smart earplugs, called dBud, are designed to protect your ears from harmful noise – for use at the workplace, but also when clubbing or going to concerts. The company is targeting the mass market, comprising pretty much everyone except perhaps hermits living alone in the wilderness.

dBud’s unique selling point is that even with the earplugs on and protecting your ears you can still have a normal conversation with your colleagues, and you don’t have to miss out on the gossip in the office. As Ear Labs exemplifies in the promotional video, the earplugs are designed to be used by anyone from a DJ to a kindergarten teacher or a copywriter to shut out noise while working in any environment.

dBud has an “advanced acoustic filter” and a volume slider so you can adjust the amount of decibels to filter out. The volume slider has two positions: in the open one the noise reduction is about 15 dB and in closed position about 30 dB.

“In the open position dBud reduces the perceived volume with around 65% and actual sound pressure with as much as 97%. In closed mode the perceived volume reduction is about 87.5% and actual reduction of sound pressure as much as 99.9%”.

The campaign has got off to a flying start. In less than two weeks, it has secured almost $90.000 (approximately SEK 800.000). Due to the high engagement, the company has decided to raise the goal from $50.000 to $100.000 and to include an additional pair of foam tips in the offer.

A single set of air plugs will cost you $54, including worldwide delivery. You’ll get a discount if you're buying two or more. Deliveries to the first customers are estimated to be made in October 2017.

According to the company, as many as one billion young people are at risk of hearing loss. Elevated sound levels during a longer period of time can cause problems like "hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, annoyance and sleep disturbance”, according to the product description.