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Popular Science, Celtra, New York News briefs

Popular Science leverages facial mapping technology for new iPad app
Popular Science magazine has launched a new iPad app, Evolver, which combines new facial mapping technology with anthropological research to show users how they would have lived, acted and looked as evolutionary forebears.

The magazine partnered with OjoDojo Inc. on the app, which uses newly patented technology from the Trimensional app.

The app uses a scan from the iPad?s camera to create a 3D scan of each user?s face and then uses OpenGL software to map the skin and facial musculature of the user onto skull models of a variety of extinct hominids.

Popular Science will market the app to its readers and the general public.

Location-based ad engagement jumps for rich media mobile ads

Engagement rates for location-based features in rich media mobile ads nearly doubled in the third quarter with 185 percent growth, according to Celtra?s latest quarterly Mobile Rich Media Monitor Report. As a result, location-based features have overtaken branding and presentation as the most engaging ad features with an 18.8 percent engagement rate.

Overall, the average engagement rates for rich media mobile ads in the third quarter was 13.7 percent, nearly a one percent increase over the previous quarter. Video was the most popular feature, appearing in 45 percent of the mobile ad campaigns analyzed for the report.

Other findings include that engagement for gaming features continues to grow, with a 20 percent increase while social media features had an 8 percent engagement rate.

New York to pilot mobile taxi hailing program next year
Next year, New York City will begin a year-long pilot program enabling passengers to use taxi-hailing apps on their smartphones. For the program, which begins on Feb. 1, 2013, smartphone hails will override street hails within half a mile in most of Manhattan.

Current Taxi and Limousine Commission rules for NYC forbid drivers from using mobile devices while driving for safety reasons and from using third-party systems for payment. Under the new rules approved by the commission, any mobile hailing apps in NYC will need to be integrated into the meter and to be programmed so that a driver cannot accept a ride while in motion.

The TLC commissioner said the new rules are designed to keep the city from falling behind as other cities adopt mobile hailing programs and are benefitting from them.