NFC is not just mobile payment

August 16, 2012

NFC or Near Field Communication is the big buzz word at the moment and everybody is talking about it. The truth is that the technology is nothing new and it has been around for a long time. Nokia had an NFC enabled phone in 2007, it was called the Nokia 6131.

Google has made the term mainstream with their announcement of Google Wallet and most people think of NFC as a way to pay with their mobile device. But that is not all.

imageAt Razorfish globally we have been exploring NFC for a long time. Just look at the examples that we released in the past: The NFC gumball machine, BrandTable or Razorfish Digital Wallet.

We actually have a wall of NFC to showcase all kinds of uses for the technology right in our office.

So what else can you do with NFC apart from using it for payments?

There are already plenty of examples out there.

Below you can find 6 examples on how NFC can be used right now.

1. Use your NFC enabled phone as the key to your hotel room

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For the recent Olympics in London a Holiday Inn Hotel gave their VIP customers a Samsung Galaxy S3 as part of their 40 VIP rooms. The guests were able to check in and out of the hotel, as well as change the AC, control the TV, and unlock their rooms with the phone.

Using NFC in your phone as a key to open doors has been used in the Enterprise world as well. The phones were used to enable physical access systems in buildings and track employee time-clock check-ins and attendance, access staff parking areas or cafeterias and pay for services.

NFC tags could be placed inside meeting or conference rooms, and attendees could tap their compatible devices to silence them or to turn on Wi-Fi, for example.

2. Use it as your travel pass

Read the rest of this entry »


The future of tablet touch is gesturing

August 7, 2012

Have you ever been in the situation where you were cooking up a storm in the kitchen following your grandmothers 100 year recipe, your hands were covered in ingredients and you didn’t want to touch the recipe because you didn’t want to get it dirty.

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Qualcomm comes to the rescue by showing off the power of their new Snapdragon processor and there practical integration of gesture and head tracking technology that hopefully soon will make it into your tablet.

The technology is not new, but as the videos below show, using the device’s front-facing camera, we will be able to control onscreen avatars, page forward and back through recipes, setup profiles and even wake their slates all with simple hand or head movements.

Check out the videos below

I for one wouldn’t mind having this little add-on on my tablet.

@maniac13


This is how you buy a car–Audi City

July 18, 2012

We have been playing around with new ways of interaction for a while and touch and Natural user interfaces always played a big role in it.

Some of the work we can done can be found on our blog here and here, on the razorfish emerging experiences blog here and there is plenty more as well.

So we are always interested when this kind of technology and innovation makes it into the real world. Yesterday the Audi City in London opened up and is showing off how you will buy your next Audi by using touch, Kinect and RDID.

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Audi at the moment sells 36 different new cars and with all of the customization you can do there are something like 200 million possible iterations of those and obviously you can’t have that many cars in the show room.

So what if you could customize your new car the way you want and then see if life size drive past you on a 210 inch screen – awesome, yes!

Audi City has multiple levels, with the upstairs level having 4 of those floor to ceiling screens. Check out their vision in the video below:

2 of the screens have kinect sensors connected to them so you can interact with it with gestures, a directional sound system makes sure you are not disturbed by other potential buyers on the other screen (or vice versa) and it lets you experience the engine sound and the sounds of closing doors.

A touch screen then takes over where you can easily customize every single aspect of your new car, down to the colour of your gear stick. Spin it, turn it, zoom it – all of that is possible with high resolution imagery and the touch panel.

Paint, leather and cloth samples on RFID-enabled swatches can be grabbed from the wall and placed next to the 32in touch screen, automatically updating your vehicle with the choice you’ve made.

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Once you’re happy with your choices it generates a mood board with hi-res snaps and videos of your chosen car, which can be shared on Facebook and Twitter, emailed to a friend, or stored on a USB key.

Audi plans to roll the 3M multitouch screens out to dealerships all over the world, and to create 20 Audi Cities by 2015. I for one can’t wait for the one in Australia to be opened.

@maniac13


The future of Google Maps

June 7, 2012

Google had a nice little get together today where they talked about their mapping solutions, Google Maps, Google Earth, Navigation, Streetview etc. etc.

Google has been obsessed with maps for at least a decade now and they made the below video to tell you about their history:

So what is it that Google is envisioning for the future?

Being comprehensive

First of all there is StreetView wherever there wasn’t before. Google developed the StreetTrecker, a portable device to map out areas that can’t be reached by car, bike or bicycle.

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It is about 20kg and it has batteries that will last all day.

Think about exploring every little aspect of the Grand Canyon simple within Google Earth. It can also be used to map your favourite shopping mall.

Take it offline

The next big thing is offline Google Maps, yes you have read correctly. I am most excited about this one as I am overseas at the moment and constantly trying to find my way around, but don’t want to use roaming data so i always have to find a free wifi connection, thank you Starbucks.

Offline Google Maps for Android are coming in the next few weeks. Users will be able to take maps offline from more than 100 countries.

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The next dimension

Google has had 3D models in Google Earth since 2006 and today they announced that they will begin adding 3D model to entire metropolitan areas to mobile devices.

This is possible thanks to a combination of a new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision that lets Google automatically create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery.

By the end of the year the aim is to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.

Pretty cool? that’s what I said.

@maniac13


The Hunger Games and HTML5

March 21, 2012

How do those 2 fit together you ask? Microsoft has teamed up with Lionsgate to show off the latest HTML5 techniques (movie-like effect: stream, lens flare and video projections) and to promote IE9.

Check it out here

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I had some issues getting onto the page, but I think it is because it is making the rounds in the internet and everybody is checking it out.

Nevertheless it is a pretty nifty and beautiful site and you have the ability to connect it to your facebook and your friends appear on billboards and screens.

The site also gives you some exclusive movie content and there are 2 easter eggs that reveal 2 never before seen clips.

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  • 1. In the Control Room you can type in “ivolunteer” on your keyboard after clicking on the map section
  • 2. In the Avenue of Tributes you can click on Katniss and then Peeta to reveal a clip from the training center

I can’t wait for the movie to come out as it looks great and it looks like HTML5 is being pushed to its boundaries on this site.

Check out the trailer if you haven’t seen it.

@maniac13


Google made me hungry for an Ice Cream Sandwich

October 19, 2011

Today Google and Samsung finally had their Nexus event where they released the next version of the Nexus phone series as well as the announcement of their new iteration of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich.

So let’s start with the phone: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

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Obviously it will be running ICS and it will have some very impressive specs:

– a huge 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720

– 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor

– 5 Megapixel rear camera with LED flash

– 1.3 Megapixel front facing camera

– 1080p full HD video recording

– 1 GB of RAM

– Wireless N network

– NFC capabilities

– the usual accelerometer, compass, gyro, proximity sensor

– a barometer

 

and to power it all a big 1750mAh battery

It will be released in November, but so far we haven’t heard any carrier announcement or if it even hit AU shores any time soon. No price yet either.

 

So what about Ice Cream Sandwich?

 

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Read the rest of this entry »


Never focus on the wrong thing ever again

June 23, 2011

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We all had that issue at some stage where we took an awesome picture and when we looked at it on our computers the important parts were out of focus.

I have been talking about a lens developed by Adobe here, but now there is a competitor that says they will have a competitively priced consumer camera will be coming out later this year. They are called Lytro.

They are working on a light field camera that captures the missing dimensions of the light that flows into a picture. These cameras have been around for a while now, but they weren’t commercially viable.

With their product you can focus on the background, the foreground, somewhere in the middle or just make the whole picture in focus. There is also the possibility to slightly change the perspective of the shot.

check out the video

Pretty cool stuff and I hope it is going to be affordable, because I will get one.

@maniac13


Twitter releases media filter: no more Rickrolls?

January 13, 2011

While doing some research for a post I’m writing, I noticed what seems to be a new feature on Twitter’s new .com native site: a media filter.

This media filter was not apparent back when Twitter introduced its new, updated web platform mid-2010, and indeed didn’t seem to be there yesterday when I was using Twitter. What’s interesting is that this filter is based on trust: it’s not there for media (pictures, videos, links) from the people you follow, but just on people you don’t.

 

Twitter's new media filter (click to enlarge)

It’s on by default, however you can turn it off in your settings. An interesting, and if not expected development from Twitter perhaps designed to mitigate the increasing amount of porn and even disturbing media images being shared via the growing platform. But I’m a little disappointed that this may mean I’m no longer able to ‘rickroll‘ tweeps 😉

Have you seen this media filter before? What do you think?

~ Karalee Evans, Social Strategy Manager


CES 2011 and here are my favourite things

January 7, 2011

As usual everybody seems to be waiting to announce their new products at CES and this year hasn’t been any different.

And again we are overwhelmed with information from everyone and blinded by all the new shiny products. I will have to get a 2nd job to be able to afford all the new gadgets I want now.

So below is a list of my favourites from the CES this year that I found on different blogs around the internets (maybe one day I will be able to go there in person)

So here I will be showing you tablets, 3D stuff, Microsoft hardware and some other cool stuff I came across

Read the rest of this entry »


Blekko – the future of the search engine or just another Google competitor?

November 3, 2010

Blekko is a search engine (in beta at the moment) that claims that it is a better way to search the web by using slashtags. Slashtags search only the sites you want and cut out the spam sites. e.g. if you only want to search for tech related stuff you put /tech after your query

The slashtags are user generated and can be either private or public. There are already hundreds of them, but you can also create your own.

But the CEO explains it a bit better in this video:

blekko: how to slash the web from blekko on Vimeo.

 

Another cool feature is the SEO link that you get with every single result

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It gives you quite a substantial amount of information about your site, like inbound links, hostrank, crawl stats, site pages, you can compare your site to other sites and it tells you about duplicate content

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There is also a SPAM link next to all your search result and you can get rid of searches you don’t want permanently – that search result will be dead to you.

Another interesting feature is the visualizing feature – here you can compare up to 4 different URLs with each other

 

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Definitely a great idea and even though there are still some shortcomings blekko will be someone to watch out for. It is going to be big.

check it out: http://blekko.com

and let me know what you think in the comments

 

@maniac13


My Gadget wish list for 2010

May 10, 2010

In my line of work (and because I love it) I come across a lot of cool gadgets and usually (at least if you ask my wife) I spend too much money on them.

So this year I will follow my moms advice and make myself a list.

Usually I start these lists with the least and work my way up to the best, but I want to start with the device I really really want this year.

1. Samsung Galaxy S

I have been using my 8310 blackberry for too long and for a while there I was carrying around 3 devices to do my phonecalls, emails and browsing and gaming, but the Samsung will be able to do all that.

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So why do I want it?

for a start I don’t like the iPhone (don’t get me wrong I think it is a good phone for “normal” users), but it just doesn’t do what i want from a phone.

apart from that here is my  shortlist on why I want it:

* 4 inch WVGA Super Amoled screen (finally a device i can use outside)
* big (as in big capacity) battery – 1500mAh
* 16GB internal memory + extendable with micro sd
* wireless n
* camera capable of 720p video @ 30fps
* support of MPeg4, H.263, H.264, WMV, RV, DivX, Xvid and MKV – no more converting movies
* Samsung Social Hub – no more opening up app after app after app – I just have it all in one inbox – sweet

 

2. Tablet

I had a chance to play with the iPad for a few weeks now and I have to say I am not impressed – especially since Apple announced the AU pricing for it today and again, Australia gets screwed – all you really get is a big iPod

so what do I want in a Tablet?

Read the rest of this entry »


Sony vs Microsoft or Atrac vs Surface

May 4, 2010

Swiss company Atracsys sold its tech knowhow to Sony and the company is today informing the world that its atracTable is ready for mass production and commercialization this June.

The system is a dual camera-based system that tracks and analyzes body movements in three dimensions, in real-time. Initially designed for use with a computer in a sterile operating theater, the interface not only notices subtle changes in the position of your body, arm, hand, or finger position, but it’s also determine rough age, sex, or facial expression of the user.

of course nobody knows a price yet, but they promise a high-contrast, Full HD screen, which is already better than the surface table from MS.

It will be able to communicate with your mobile devices or respond to motion input, which is picked up by a pair of Sony camcorders.

Here is another video of it in action:

Read the rest of this entry »


More iPad alternatives

April 29, 2010

the iPad is out and it seems that it is very popular as it sold over 300000 units in its opening weekend. I have been talking about alternatives to the iPad already here, but every day I come across more and more of them.

So here are a few more.

It seems that the windows versions are getting more attractive. Not only that they are running windows 7 (which just sold more than 100 million licenses a couple of days ago), but they also support multitouch, flash and everything else that windows supports out of the box.

GBook tablet

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1.2GHz Intel ULV SU2300 processor with integrated Intel graphics and 2GB of RAM – it looks like you can put a 2.5 inch HDD or SSD in it for storage. it will run win 7 and the multitouch panel supports up to 10 touchpoints – no word on price or release date yet, but definitely an option to keep your eye on

Read the rest of this entry »


Microsofts new touchscreen mobiles are all about being social with your friends

April 13, 2010

Microsoft today launched its new series of touchscreen mobile smartphones called Kin.

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There is a 4GB and an 8GB version with 5 and 8 Megapixel cameras with flash, capable of HD video and both models focus heavily on all your social networks, e.g. Twitter and facebook.

It seems that these phones are targeted at 18 to 35 year olds.

check out the video here

 

not the phone I am going to go for, but impressive to see how MS is putting all its eggs into social networking.

@maniac13


The Banksy Movie

January 27, 2010

I’m very much looking forward to this. Not because I’m jumping on the Banksy band wagon (Back in my uni days I went to one of his first exhibitions and failed to buy a piece of his work for peanuts … foolish) but because I’m pretty sure it will be nothing like the trailer and do something completely unexpected.

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Anyway, here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it already:


My Top 10 gadgets at CES this year

January 13, 2010

I wish I had the time (and money) to go to CES this year, but thankfully all my favourite tech sites were covering it very well.

So looking at all the new gadgets coming out I thought I share my favourites with you – they are in no particular order

1. The transparent laptop screen – Samsung 14 inch Transparent OLED

2. HP Slate tablet – Apple is meant to do it – MS and HP have done it

3. A.R Drone – a Quadcopter controlled by your iPhone (we mentioned it here already)

4. liquid Image HD snow goggles and underwater goggles – all you need for your own discovery movies

5. Peregrine Glove Game controller

6. LBO Light Touch – have an interactive surface on any surface (we mentioned it here already)

7. Finally some USB 3.0 products – superspeed here we come

8. PlasticLogic Que Pro eBook reader/tablet – very sexy

9. Project Natal – can’t wait to connect this to my Xbox360

10. Zyxio Sensawaft – move your cursor with your breath

something additional – these didn’t quite make it into my top 10, but are still pretty cool

The instant Camareas are back – non digital – Polaroid makes a comeback with the Polaroid Pic 1000

Lenovo bringing out a phone

Panasonic 152 inch 3D TV and wireless HDMI transfer

MSI Dual screen multitouch tablet


Multitouch is dead – long live 3D gesture computing

December 12, 2009

The MIT Lab has shown off a new kind of display that not only is capable of the usual multitouch functions, but also recognizes gestures in front of the device like we know from minority report.

Pretty cool I say – still a bit slow in the video, but already pretty awesome for a prototype.

found here


New toys from Mercedes

April 16, 2009

Mercedes has a new promotional video for the 2010 S Class that offers peeks at the model range and suite of tech coming on the latest luxury sedan.

Check out the splitview screen on the S600 and start saving because I know you want to have one 🙂


The answer to Microsofts surface table?

February 25, 2009

I am pretty sure MS is not faced with this new invention, but I think it is an interesting idea and I am sure people will come up with loads of things to do with it.

It is a flexible display consisting of foam and force sensors which is deformable. It’s called Impress and works with the parameters position and time like other touch screens as well, but in addition to that, it reacts, above all, on the intensity of pressure.

check out the video below:

and more info here


Customising the Twitter Web Interface

February 9, 2009

I don’t use the Twitter web interface too much. Tweetdeck is so far ahead in terms of usability and functionality. However… This weekend I was pretty surprised when I saw a tweet from @MichDdot (here) who had a totally different web interface to mine. I was thinking he must have some inside beta version, but it turned out that what he had was available to all of us…

Anyway, he was kind enough to let me know what he’d done, so I thought I’d share with you how I have managed to make my Twitter web interface much more usable (screenshots below):

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Above: Notice changes in interface screenshot (from top to bottom)
– Grader information
– Twitter Search and People Search
– Retweet
– Nested conversations
– Embedded replies
– (I’ve done a heap more on the homepage too)

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Above: On the homepage (twiiter/hone) I’ve added:
– Ability to autotype follower names when typing @ or D
– Search
– Following names
– Nested conversations

How is this done?

1. Install GreaseMonkey plugin for FireFox (here)
2. Add custom GreaseMonkey scripts (here) from USerscripts.org

There are dozens of scripts available for customising Twitter, the above are just the ones I chose but there are many more.

Simple! Thanks again to MichDdot for the headsup – a recommended follow!

Any Q’s – ping me on Twitter –  Regards, @eunmac