Issue 190 | 3 December 2013

What Next?

Sony to make wigs the next big thing in technology

Wearable technology has long been considered the way of the future, and Sony have taken that quite literally with its latest patent application for something called a SmartWig. The device is exactly what it sounds like, a wig embedded with technology that allows it to collect and process data and connect with other devices.

While it seems like a wild idea, Sony insists that “the usage of a wig has several advantages that, compared to known wearable computing devices, include a significantly increased user comfort and improved handling of the wearable computing device.” The company added that is has the potential to be a “technically intelligent item and fashion item at the same time”.

Among many other potential uses, Sony see navigation for the vision-impaired, virtual reality gaming integration and data collection in the health sector, as the technology’s highpoints.

Website of the week

Slavery footprint

It’s an issue that we thought disappeared with modern civilization, but slavery is still very much a part of our world – and not in a long distance way. All of us are using day to day products which have, at some point, been touched by a person working in conditions which would not pass western standards.

This subject is a difficult one to communicate and activists all around the world are tackling the challenge of awareness – making consumers aware of their contribution to a global problem. Web professionals are being given complex and controversial briefs to meet when building social and community websites. A website which has met the challenge both effectively and beautifully is SlaveryFootprint.org, via an interactive quiz which encourages the user to take a tour through their consumption.

Essentially, the website highlights consumer’s contribution to a significant global issue, by providing a result which indicates how many slaves they may have “working for them.” The way the website successfully moves the viewer through the quiz, with subtle reminders of where their products come from along the way, brings attention to an issue which might otherwise remain hidden.

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Almost identical

Does the age-old adage that chewing gum gives the impression of laziness, disorganisation and irresponsibility, really stack up? Beldent have dispelled the myth with a campaign called “Almost identical”.

The brand staged a real-life experiment by placing several pairs of identical twins in a museum for viewers to evaluate, with one key difference; one of the two was chewing gum. Visitors were then asked which police officer “looks like the bad one”, which boss “looks like he’d give you a raise”, and “which one of these guys has more friends?”

Interestingly, 73% of respondents preferred the gum-chewing twin in all cases. The magic of the campaign lies in its ability to successfully pose as a social experiment, while posturing that chewing gum makes you more employable, likeable and trustworthy. Having already been viewed in excess of 270,000 times on YouTube, Beldent’s fusion of science and marketing is sure to yield fascinating results.

Animated GIFs – now available as hard copy prints

Echoing sci-fi technology once thought only to be possible in movies, the future seems not too far, far away with a new Kickstarter campaign that enables animated GIFs to be printed.

The technology uses the magic of lenticular film to print online GIFs in layers so that, when tilted, the animated image gives the impression of movement. Co-creator Rachel Brinx says that the technology is “relatively old and relatively straightforward”, but “the magic for us” would be seeing the GIFs in the real world. Designers Rachel Binx and Sha Hwang reached their funding goal for the project, ‘Gifpop!’, in record time.

The prospect of animated print media has exciting potential, with many pundits heralding it as the way of the future. Take a look at the video below and decide for yourself.

TV Ratings

A week of magic and mayhem

All People National – Free to Air Station Audience
Dancing with the Stars – Tuesday Network 7 1,384,000
60 Minutes – Sunday Network 9 1,200,000
Seven News – Monday Network 7 1,172,000
Home and Away – Wednesday Network 7 1,145,000
Nine News – Monday Network 9 1,121,000
Seven News – Sunday Network 7 1,097,000
Seven News – Tuesday Network 7 1,085,000
Seven News – Wednesday Network 7 1,081,000
Nine News – Tuesday Network 9 1,058,000
Nine News – Wednesday Network 9 1,057,000
Source: OzTAM 26/11/13 – 02/12/13

Australia post introduces video stamps

Australia Post is making use of QR coded stamps, enabling consumers to attach recorded video messages to actual mail being sent through Express Post and Express Courier International services. Customers have 12 hours to record the 15 second video they wish the recipient to see, with no additional fee.

An instruction card invites recipients to scan the code using the Video Stamp app, free to download for iOS and Android users. The recipient can view the message for 90 days and has the option of saving the video.

Combining digital with offline communication, the Video Stamp service adds personable and fun elements when using Australia Post services – just in time for Christmas.

http://youtu.be/Iy_JbMPxeKc

App of the week

Hudway App

When driving in low visibility conditions, standard in-car navigation can be dangerous because it still requires you to take your eyes away from the road for those few seconds. Hudway aims to change this by projecting a HUD (heads up display) onto the glass of your windshield so important information like upcoming turns and speed can be seen without having to take your eyes away from the road at any stage. It requires no additional equipment and can be used immediately after downloading the app.

Don’t expect to use it for everyday commute though, as the HUD will barely be visible when the weather is fine and sunny. It is meant for low-lit conditions – when the reflection is most visible on your windshield. So, for those times when you’re driving through heavy rain or fog, this App will be invaluable – and might just save some lives.