Once in a while I come across a technology that just blows me away – not because of its technological achievement but because of its ability to create strong human connections in the real world.
This week I came across two of them.
What am I talking about exactly? Well the first one is an app called Feel Me that is currently in Beta and which allows people who are texting each other to see exactly where the other person is touching on their phone screens while they are texting.
The second similar use of technology that allows a strong human connection is a project called Pillow Talk that aims to connect long distance lovers.
‘A chest sensor wirelessly transmits and communicates with the other persons pillow. When each person goes to bed, their lovers pillow begins to glow softly to indicate their presence. Placing your head on the pillow allows you to hear the real-time heartbeat of your lover.’ Cool, eh?
Here it is in action:
Imagine if prisoners or soldiers could have access to these technologies for 1 night, or even contestants on Survivor who haven’t seen their families for a month!! Hehe.
I just wanted to share this entertaining, interactive initiative from the UK – creative technologist and designer, Chris O’Shea, created a highly innovative billboard in an outdoor shopping centre whereby it appeared that a hand from above was interacting with actual people on the billboard in real time. Click below to see video:
What I love about interactive projects like this is that the basic idea is extremely simple, fun and easy to understand by the consumer, but yet there is a lot of complexity in actually making it happen from a technology and design perspective.
The technological rationale is as follows, if you’re interested :
The software picks a person based on their proportions and how apart they are from other people, then tracks the blob over time using optical flow.
If the giant hand removes, flicks or shrinks a person, firstly it rubs out the person from the live video using the background reference pixels.
Then the tracked person is redrawn over the top in relation to what the hand is doing, ie being picked up, or flying out to the left of the screen (not shown in this video). When the hand shrinks a person it redraws them into the video at half scale. When there is too big a crowd it resorts to tickling people, with a random selection.”
Creative technologists are becoming more and more sought after in the advertising arena for this very reason. Since the media playing field is changing so rapidly, a good understanding of technology is now required in order to engage with consumers in a truly innovative way, whether it be online or in the real world.
For brands, there is huge word of mouth potential with this type of project if part of an ongoing, longer term initiative to build relationships with consumers.
Even though a project like this may only actually touch a few hundred people in the shopping centre itself , the content created is potentially strong enough to be enjoyed by thousands online who simply wish to observe, enjoy and hopefully share.
You should check out more of Chris O’Shea’s work – it’s pretty impressive : http://www.chrisoshea.org/