Monthly Archives: August 2010

What if we could touch 3D images?

What if we could touch 3D images?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD5jkCsNNS0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Another treasure found by Anne Sophie Robert, (@AnneSo_R) the young strategic planner who was featured on the blog yesterday.  By the way, I forgot to mention tat Ms. Robert is currently looking for work as a planner, so if you’re looking for strategic planners, hit her up on Twitter!

When the movie Avatar came out in French theatres, the above 3D ad for Haribo candies was shown as part of the previews.  As you can imagine, many children in the audience wanted very much to touch the delicious sweets coming at them from the screen.  Soon, this will be possible…

Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AISJT) has developed a tactile 3D system that reconstructs the feel of an object on a screen!  To operate the “i3Space” the user must wear special gloves that calculate the movement of the wearer’s fingers to apply the necessary force to the 3D image.  This innovation would not only be great in video games (natch) but also in the medical world.

What if a proverbial wallet helped you get your proverbial act together?

Special thanks to Anne Sophie Robert (@AnnesoR on Twitter) a Parisian Strategic Planner and author of the blog “Plug-in U all“ for showing me this fantastic initiative straight from MIT’s Information Design Ecology lab: the Proverbial Wallet.  Now more than ever, consumers pay online or through automatic transfers.  Although this saves time, people are less and less conscious of the amount money leaving their account.

The Proverbial Wallet allows consumers to manage their personal finances in a more concrete and intuitive way.  These are actual wallets that are electronically linked to a user’s bank account.  At the moment, three prototypes are currently in development: The “Mother Bear” is equipped with a hinge that, as your account dwindles, closes tighter and tighter on your wallet, making it harder to open; the “Bumblebee” buzzes anytime your bank processes a transaction (also useful for detecting credit card fraud); and finally the “Peacock” swells and shrinks to reflect your assets. The Proverbial Wallet is one of the many honest objects thought up and championed by John Kestner.  Honest objects are everyday objects that connect the digital world to the analog world.  These inventions harness the instantaneousness of the data-rich digital world and marry it to our tactile experience of the physical world.  This idea is fascinating and John Kestner’s blog absolutely warrants a visit.  Enjoy ;-)!

What if our social networks brought together birds of a feather?

What if our social networks brought together birds of a feather?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW3_JhQksv4&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

For this Sunday’s (sporadic) #DayoftheThinker, I am going to talk about Danah Boyd, a specialist in social networks from Microsoft.  I learned about Danah due to our mutual participation in the anthology TIC 2025, les grandes mutations (Translation: TIC 2025: Mutations).  Publised by EPITA, a prestigious French engineering school, the TIC has essays and interviews from key players in the digital world.  As far as I know, this anthology is only available in French :(.

Danah, as you will see in the video above, is a fast-talker who is full of fascinating ideas.  What she has to say about social networks is fascinating and full of good sense, even if her inights seem to go against the grain.  Case in point: according to Boyd, the idea that social networks connect us to people we do not know, who are different from us, is not at all true.

A PhD from Berkeley’s iSchool (School of Information), Danah Boyd currently works as a “social media researcher” at Microsoft Research New England and is a “fellow researcher” at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.  As of 2003, her research on the behavior of young people on social networks has been featured in Wired, and the New York Times.  You can also check out her site, her blog or follow her on twitter at @zephoria.

In the chapter titled “Life in the Network” of the collective anthology TIC 2025: mutations, Danah Boyd reminds us why we love digital sociability: it allows us to keep in touch with those we already know (friends and family), it allows us to get close to people who share common interests and it reinforces friendships established in preexisting networks.  In short, there is very little place on social networks for unknowns or those who are truly different.  Even if the main theme of online social life is in the encounter, it is most likely an encounter with someone who “looks” like us.  I guess this is the digital version of the saying “Birds of a feather flock together”: on Internet, we construct neighborhoods that attract similar types.  According to Boyd, this trend will most likely remain.  In her opinion, social networks will begin to permeate other services, in the same way that search engines have.  What’s more, the over exposure that social networks can create, is not necessarily an enemy of intimacy: “The more Angelina Jolie convinces us that the press is constantly following her, the less interest the public will take in her personal life.  Thus, she can keep her private life more private.” (this quotation is translated from French) From her perspective, social networks won’t be giving each person their “15 minutes of fame”, but rather will make everyone famous for some 15 people.  On Facebook, for example, the network isn’t all that open, and one can only truly communicate (by chatting, emailing and meeting up) with a relatively small number of “friends”.

From this perspective, we have less to worry about when it comes to leaving potentially embarrassing digital traces: in theory, they would be shared only with people like us, who know us.  Instead of creating clones, “the web reflects and expands a preexisting social dynamic”: one where like seeks like.

What if you made friends with some martians?

What if you made friends with some martians?

Autumn is upon us!  Personally, I think one of the pleasures of the “back-to-school” season is getting to make new friends.  I’ve already made 4 on Facebook.  Among my many friends, these are perhaps the easiest to recognize as they are all green.  For the past few days Joe Martian, Mike Martian, Alain Martian and Nico Martian (I wonder why he’s my favorite :) ) have been hanging around on Facebook for a social media encounter of the third kind.  These Martians have landed on earth to answer questions in real time (in multiple languages) and share photos, jokes and comments.

For the non-French, these Martians have come to earth looking for eggs, their desires only being sated with Lustucru egg noodles served by Germaine, a rural French grandmother (check out their fan page on Facebook!).  This is not the first time that the Martians have come in search of Germaine, they were last here some 25 years ago.

The return of the Martians is all part of BDDP Unlimited and \XL’s campaign for Lustucru (see video below).  Total transparency: these agencies are both part of TBWA\France ;-)!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAme7wiym68&feature=player_embedded#![/youtube]