Given the continuing uncertainty over the future of how the USPS conducts its operations, it may seem a little counterintuitive to see bright days ahead for direct mail. But the development of some recent creative trends, as evidenced by mail cataloged in Who’s Mailing What! (the most extensive database of direct mail and email in the world), shows this is a medium that is alive and quite capable of learning new tricks.
Joe Berkowitz: "It took DreamWorks years of work and countless decisions to translate “How to Train Your Dragon” into a live experience. The result is an achievement not just in pyrotechnics, but in collaboration and brand extension" ...
In what could blossom into an ecommerce opportunity, Facebook is testing a new “Mail A Postcard” feature powered by Sincerely that lets you choose one of your photos and have Facebook send it to a friend as a postcard — in real life. You can add a message that will appear on the back, and also mail friends prints of their own photos. The sender is charged a small fee, and Facebook is trying out a few different price points.
Instead, Disney researchers employ a newly discovered physical phenomenon called reverse electrovibration to create the illusion of changing textures as the user's fingers sweep across a surface. A weak electrical signal, which can be applied imperceptibly anywhere on the user's body, creates an oscillating electrical field around the user's fingers that is responsible for the tactile feedback.
The technology, called REVEL, could be used to create "please touch" museum displays, add haptic feedback to games, apply texture to projected images on surfaces of any size and shape, provide customized directions on walls for people with visual disabilities and enhance other applications of augmented reality.
"Augmented reality to date has focused primarily on visual and auditory feedback, but less on the sense of touch," said Olivier Bau, a postdoc at Disney Research, Pittsburgh. "Sight and sound are important, but we believe the addition of touch can create a really unique and magical experience."
Location-based storytelling is popular and there is much to gain by applying a transmedia storytelling-based approach.
In summary, when creating a location-based story: > design for the experience to be location-aware, not location-dependent > design for existing behaviors
If the story uses game mechanics to enhance the experience then: > assume nobody will read the rules > give rewards early and frequently
Most important of all is to know the audience and to layer the experience based on different levels of participation. Yet to really start considering the audience and participation, you need to decide the business model and what type of experience you’re really creating.
Google officially revealed its "Glass" project to the world at their developer's conference this past week. Glass is a wearable computing product that intends to liberate people from their smartphone and other device obsessions by interacting with digital information through a pair of Google-enabled glasses. Their demo focused on the ability to capture and broadcast what's being seen through the glasses, which is a slight departure from past Glass concept work that showed a more traditional augmented reality display (think: navigation and messages projected on your glasses). No matter the direction that Google eventually goes, wearable computing and augmented reality are clearly back on the public stage.
Like Google, I've also gone the way of augmented reality. I recently joined the Creative team at APX Labs, an MIT Media Lab sponsor that produces advanced technology solutions in the public and private sector. A/R and wearable computing is a space that APX has established itself in and I hope to make a significant impact in creating a meaningful product experience around it. So, like any disciplined designer, I've created a set of augmented reality design principles to be used for a solid foundation. I've included those principles here and hope you gain value from them if you're working with A/R technologies.
Swedish startup 13th Lab has just raised $700,000 from Nordic investors Creandum to help build its augmented reality browser and developer tools for iOS.
(excerpt) “We’re really pushing for utility, not just ad-based use cases or being gimmicky,” he told me. “It’s not just seeing a fire-breathing dragon on your desktop; we’re over that stage. Now there’s been a resurgence with image detection and recognition, but in most cases it’s used for advertising, marketing. We want to provide something that has real value.”
Technology News - The company has shown a great deal of interest in augmented reality and its applications in the game industry.
Sony’s patent filing suggests that cross-promotion is a viable option. The augmented reality glasses could open the way for new types of interactive advertisements, which could be engaged anywhere. The glasses could also be used for mobile commerce, allowing consumers to make purchases through augmented reality displays.
A spectacular mailing triggering the sense of touch and leading to a personalised Moleskine notebook, proves the value of a printed mailing. This mailing is ... (Wonderful video about direct mail and power of sensory print.
RAPP LA recently won the ThinkLA Interactive Award for Best Use of Mobile Media at the Interactive Awards Gala, held in June. RAPP LA took top honors for their work on the 2012 Toyota Camry launch direct mail, beating out fellow nominees 72andSunny and Initiative.
The launch of the 2012 Camry was one of Toyota Motors' biggest, most important vehicle launches in the last decade. Totally redesigned to fit a driver's 21st century life, the Camry introduced new technology that connects drivers not only to the road, but the world around them. The creative resulted in a first-of-its-kind, smartphone-enabled experience that redefined the notion of direct. What was a traditional two-dimensional direct mail piece became an interactive, immersive experience that brought each page to life.
A few weeks ago, we wrote about Clipix, a new visual bookmarking tool that is somewhat of a hybrid between Pinterest and Evernote. Since its launch in June, the service has seen impressive growth and the company is currently gearing up to launch its new mobile web app and native iOS and Android apps next month. Today, however, the company is launching its QR code generator. The interesting twist here, as the company’s CEO and founder Oded Berkowitz told me earlier this week, is the combination of the QR code with the storage and bookmarking service on Clipix, which the company believes makes its QR codes far more useful than standard ones.
Most of the time, after all, users scan a QR code, check out a link and quickly forget about it again. By using the Clipix QR code generator, potential customers can immediately save any link to their Clipix boards for later reference. After you scan one of these codes, you can either save the link to Clipix, email it to yourself or just view the content behind the link. The link, of course, can point to any site on the web, including public clipboard on the service itself.
Jochim envisages a world where space ships launch out of books, where it snows indoors, and where he can blast holes in the walls at work. He’s talking about the children’s books that they’re actively releasing this year, but it sounds like pretty crazy stuff, right?
Well, he’s relying on some serious technology to get this done – starting with old fashioned print books. He believes the the move from “physical books to ebooks isn’t the transition,” because advertisers are still onboard with magazines, and ebooks are just popular for their distribution system, says Jochim. For Augmented Reality Development Labs, Jochim says that textbooks are the next natural step using Augmented Reality. Where smartphone-toting students can play, and actually interact, with the content. This is where Jochim gets dreamy, telling me to imagine “[sailing] with Columbus… or [in biology class] seeing species that you can take apart… or open a book and a spaceship flies out.”
Sight, a short, science fiction film by Israeli student filmmakers is a brilliant take on the emerging world of augmented reality (AR)—the technology behind Google's goofy glasses.
The video comes out at an interesting time for AR, just after Google’s “Glass Explorers” have received their welcome letters and amid suggestions through patent activity that Apple may be at work on its own “iGlasses.” What May-raz and Lazo have done is to take consumer AR to its logical, and terrifying, conclusion based on what is happening in the present moment.
Their ideas are not wholly original, but they are beautifully executed. A post about the film on VentureBeat points out the similarity of many aspects of the scenario to a particular Star Trek: Original Series episode. And in terms of Google Glass, Lazo wrote in an email to VentureBeat, “The Google Glass video just came out about a day or two after we started work on Sight. It was pretty cool; it kind of gave us an affirmation that we’re on the right path.”
Google has released a new software framework that aims to give programmers the ability to create interactive experiences in physical spaces. It could potentially be used to build interactive art installations or games that involve physical interaction.
In the announcement, Google described a sample Interactive Spaces installation where ceiling-mounted cameras tracked the position of individuals in a room so that the software could display colored lights on the floor where they are standing.
The concept is intriguing and the availability of source code under a permissive license will open the door for a lot of experimentation. Now all Google needs is some creative minds to pick the concept up.
We've seen a website made of bacon, so I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that someone has now come up with an edible QR Code. As this video demonstrates, the minds at Taco Bell have spawned a QR code made of lemons and avocados.
The proliferation of relatively cheap motion sensors in recent years, combined with development tools such as Microsoft's Kinect SDK, means that augmented reality (AR) hacks are really starting to take off. As if to showcase just what's possible with current consumer AR tech, a Japanese YouTube user has produced a video of a virtual date with computerized J-pop star Hatsune Miku....
If you simply can’t get enough targeted advertising into your life, IBM’s new augmented reality mobile shopping app is probably for you. IBM research scientists today announced the app, which will allow customers to scan store shelves with their smartphone to receive coupons and recommendations on the spot. It’s the modern version of the grocery store card.
This project explores the use of mobile augmented reality technologies during the visit to an archeological route of the 14th century. The video displays the prototype developed during the first phase of the project that has been designed to work in any Android device.
The application shows the visitor a fully animated 3D avatar that explains all about sights. The overlaying of virtual elements is performed using Natural Feature Tracking techniques that enable a seamless integration with the real environment.
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