Electronic tinkering in The Rocks

August 28, 2012

Amnesia Sydney’s home ground, The Rocks, is a very pretty and tourist-friendly destination. And as we keep discovering through the council’s pop-up initiative, it is also fertile ground for creative experimentation. The case in hand is ‘&Company’ who have temporarily taken over a store next to the MCA.

Apart from showcasing emerging design talents they are offering quality hands-on creative workshops. Courses range from ‘Powertools for Girls‘ to ‘Interactive Electronic Objects‘.

I took the latter which was an introductory course into Arduino, the open-source microcontroller / software suite for programming. And I had a blast tinkering away my Sunday, plugging cables into speakers, triggering LED lights and getting my hands dirty with (processing-based) code. There is an intermediate course still available – get amongst it!


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 »


Best use of NFC so far

July 24, 2012

NFC is the big buzz word everywhere now and most people don’t even know what it is, what it does or that they already have it in their phone.

Will the new iPhone have it? Nobody knows until it is revealed, but that shouldn’t stop us from exploring it.

And that is exactly what Razorfish in Germany did with this 2 day project, coming up with the best idea on NFC usage I have seen so far.

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The idea is simple, just like you used to get your candy from a machine you can now get all kinds of digital goodies: Apps, movies, songs, ebooks, as well as other exclusive and location-based content that can be pushed to a phone. Simply enter a coin and turn the lever – then follow the animation and tap your smartphone next to the release chute.

In terms of hardware, we used a Samsung Galaxy Tab, an NFC shield, a simple reed switch and two Arduino microcontrollers – all nicely fitted into an original Gum Machine metal base.

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Super awesome indeed. Nicely done Razorfish. You can read more about it here.

@maniac13


The future of watching video on mobile devices

June 14, 2012

Magazines on your tablet have been around for a while and they always seem like a good addition, but nothing really new or ground breaking.

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Hopefully that will change with Condition One – a technology company developing next generation immersive video applications. Their flagship product is an embeddable immersive video player for the iPad / iPhone.

The virtual window provides unlimited viewpoints of a single video. The viewers tend to review a video multiple times to catch things they missed and see the footage from another perspective.

Basically you can move around the video to change what you want to look at.

Check it out in action here:

The technology can is/can be licensed to media companies and brands. It integrates seamlessly into existing applications or can be launched as a standalone product.

If you want to try it out, they have a showcase app here

Pretty cool? That’s what I thought.

@maniac13


You can run, but you can’t hide

March 22, 2012

The smart peeps at MIT have created a camera that can look around the corner.

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To do this, the system uses a so-called femtosecond laser to send out extremely short light pulses that are aimed at a nearby wall, then bounce around, hit the object hiding and then bounce back to the camera.

Then smart software figures out what is lurking behind the wall by determining how long it took those pulses to return to the camera.

This happens over and over again at different angles, meaning that the system will ultimately be able to get a general idea of the object hidden.

check out the video below

 

@maniac13


Goodbye photobombers

February 15, 2012

We all know this moment where you are focusing on your friend while taking the perfect picture only to find out later that there is some tourist in the background, some weird looking stranger bombing himself into our perfect shot.

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Now there seems to be a solution on the horizon, Scalado announced a technology called Remove that will make it very easy to remove unwanted photobombers from your holiday shots. Simply select and remove.

Don’t believe it? Check out the video:

So how do they do it? The technology takes a series of photos in quick succession and then pinpoints moving objects in the collection, giving you the option to remove them with a click.

Right now it isn’t commercially available, but I can’t wait to have this on my phone soon.

@maniac13


Beautiful way to combine art and technology

February 13, 2012

We have all been to a museum and had to fight the urge to touch the painting we are looking at.

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That might have been what Petros Vrellis thought, so he went ahead and created an interactive version of Vincent van Gogh’s painting Starry Night.

Hi project is a flowing simulation of the painting that when you touch it reacts and synthesizes sound. If left alone it slowly returns to its original state. Displayed at about 30 frames per second at 1920 x 1080 I am sure Vincent himself would have been impressed by it.

check it out in action here:

@maniac13


New Apple TV leaked (and yes we want one)

April 1, 2011

These leaked images of a full size 50 inch Apple Television (not the hockey puck but a full sized TV using gesture controls for the lounge) arrived in our inbox this morning. From what we can tell you will be able to install TV Channels in the same way you use apps on your iPhone.

You can click the images to see the full size pics.


Mashable’s iPad 3G Review: for Australians and Lazy People

May 3, 2010

Mashable have a really fantastic review of the 3G incarnation of the iPad – it’s a bit long though, so I’m going to shorten it down to only the necessary information (for lazy people) and throw an Australian perspective in at the end to balance out their US-centric complaints.

Find the review summary, and Australian perspective after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »


The Courier: Microsoft wants to send you something nice.

April 14, 2010

We haven’t blogged about this here yet, and given all the tablet-like devices we’ve covered over the last couple of weeks (iPad mania? Maybe.) why not add Microsoft’s possible entry into the fray.

The Courier appears to sit somewhere between a smartphone, PDA, the current imaginings of a tablet and… a book. It may sound odd, but if you can see the picture below, you’ll notice just how enticing this might be to certain creative folk, myself included.

Microsoft Courier

Courtesy of Engadget

Notice the menu on the left hand page, sketching. Sure, reading, playing, all of that is great – but for someone who loves to draw, and loves to draw on the go, this is some kind of dream come true. It hasn’t come true yet, but it looks to be on the way. This concept is intended for both touch and stylus, recognising (much like this) that touch is great for some things… but for others, it’s honestly best to have another tool in hand.

Not all fancy new devices have to come in iPad/Slate/Tablet form, and the idea of a digital note/sketchbook complete with camera and mobile web capabilities is a fantastic step into an innovative, digital future. Better yet, it should fit in your pocket.

@tali3sin


Use your arm to play Tetris

March 8, 2010

Skinput is based on an armband straddling the wearer’s biceps and detecting the small vibrations generated when the user taps the skin of his arm. It measures the vibrations and differentiates them based on bone densities, tissue mass and muscle size.

You can use different parts of your arm and even fingers to interact with it.

According to them it is 95% accurate and you can combine it with a pico projector and get some display on your arm as well.

check out the video

definitely an interesting concept, but until it is integrated into my T-shirt I doubt I will be interested in wearing an armband.


E-Commerce meet my skinny, no-foam iPhone

September 24, 2009

Starbucks iPhone app

Starbucks is testing their new iPhone app that lets you pay using just the Starbucks Card Mobile app on your iPhone/iPod touch. Just enter your card number and your device will display a barcode you can use the same way as your Starbucks Card to make a purchase.

The app is currently being tested in Starbucks stores located in Seattle, WA, Cupertino, CA and Mountain View, CA, conveniently, the homes of digital powerhouses Microsoft, Apple and Google, respectively.

This app is an example of a revolutionary convergence between your wallet and smart phone. As well as a brand intersecting technology to shape consumer loyalty programs. Now the stage is set for Starbucks to employ an innovative digital couponing program. Stay Tuned.


Did you know? 4.0

September 21, 2009

There has been another update to the ‘Did you know?’ series. As always the information is fascinating and provides an inspirational look at convergence and the pace at which the digital shift is accelerating. I would recommend taking some of the individual stats with a grain of salt but it is a great presentation for communicating the bigger picture to clients and colleagues.

@JoelyRighteous


A robot that can keep a beat

July 29, 2009

We blog about robots quite a bit. Here’s one that finds objects it can turn into drums, beats the object, records the sound and then plays with it until it gets bored.

Amazing.

(As far as drumming goes it’s almost as cool as this: https://amnesiablog.wordpress.com/2008/02/07/best-product-demonstration-ever-m/ )

The Share.tv video is from a while back. It’s an interview of creator Frits Lyneborg of letsmakerobots.com.

Interesting thoughts on AI.

@iclazie


Amnesia Razorfish is Hiring

July 7, 2009

growing

We’ve told you we’re growing yes, and now we have a short description of all the roles we have on offer!
Take a gander at all the roles below and don’t be afraid to pass them on if you know some awesome people who might be right for us.

The positions we are currently recruiting for are:

Group Account Director

Coming on board as our new GAD (Client Services), your core focus is to manage our awesome Account Directors and Account Managers who are responsible for deliverables across all accounts. Having 8-10 years experience in marketing and client management under your belt, we can rely on you to keep clients close and generate revenue so that we can continue hiring.

Senior Account Manager

We’re looking for some strong Senior Account Managers to join our Client Services team. Help Amnesia Razorfish grow and develop solid relationships with clients and manage day-to-day account service. Read the rest of this entry »


SOUTH

November 26, 2008

Five years ago, then twenty six year-old Ben Saunders was one of only three people to have ever skied solo to the North Pole. In doing so, he not only set the record for longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton, but he also managed to do so in the worst conditions in recorded history, according to NASA.

Next year, alongside Alastair Humphreys (who spent four years cycling across five continents and almost 75,000 kilometres) he will attempt the first ever return journey to the South Pole on foot. SOUTH will be the culmination of seven years of training and preparation; planned to stretch from the Antarctic coast, to the south pole and back again, it is set to be the longest unsupported polar trek in history.

On top of the remarkable human endurance element of SOUTH, Ben and Alastair will embrace the powers of social media and web 2.0 to document their ground-breaking trip, allowing the public to experience their expedition in real-time, and hopefully open a dialogue about climate change and environmental sustainability. It’s said that Vice-President Al Gore may join them at some point, and the entire program has been certified carbon neutral.

SOUTH is set to commence in October 2009, but the team’s progress can be tracked on their official blog. You can also catch Ben’s account of his North Pole journey at TED.com.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Nanotech polyester fabric never gets wet

November 26, 2008

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Researchers at the University of Zurich have combined the stylish, debonair appeal of polyester with the cutting edge science of nanotechnology to create a material that just cannot get wet. When coated with millions of 40nm-wide silicone nanofilaments, the hydrophobic polyester is protected by a layer of air that prevents water from making contact with the fibers beneath. Since water never makes it to the material, it can be submerged for two months and still remain dry to the touch. According to scientists, nano-polyester could be used to make swimwear with low water resistance that never gets wet and self-cleaning clothes.

Bring back the 70s!


iGoogle attacked by giant widgets

October 17, 2008

Google’s personalized home page, iGoogle, is getting an update this Friday. Widgets on the page can support a new “canvas view,” which expands the widget to the full iGoogle window.

The new iGoogle also moves user navigation from tabs at the top of the page to a bar down the left side. This enables more pages and elements in the navigation, and I found that it made navigating iGoogle faster, since it provided a de facto table of contents for each page.

Like many of Google’s services, iGoogle is platform-aware. On a mobile phone, like on an iPhone or Android phone, when you log in to iGoogle, you’ll get a view of your page suited to the constraints of the device.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Bare naked creativity and stealing other people’s technology

September 18, 2008

I would never tell a client that they should reduce their budgets in order to make us more creative, because quite frankly it isn’t true. A bigger budget obviously always provides you with greater opportunities but I love this idea posted by Howies that suggests when budgets are smaller it makes them think harder about what they should be doing with the money. As well as making people  more creative and accountable it sort of makes the idea that much purer.

With free off the shelf tools and  open source applications all you need is a bit of a technical aptitude, something interesting to talk about or show and voila, you have yourself a digital presence. If it’s good enough people will find it. It strips everything naked down to its barest form. It forces you to make sure you really do have a good idea before you start splashing your cash.

On a slightly different tangent but still using technology other people have built to tell your story is CCTV ‘video sniffing’. Essentially people use government CCTV networks to create mini productions. The UK has CCTV cameras pretty much everywhere, but what is interesting is that if you have been filmed, you are entitled to the footage. So essentially people are coming up with a concept and performing it in front of CCTV cameras, applying for the footage and editing it accordingly. Pretty damn clever in my opinion. The only down side is that it took one guy 5 years and over 200 applications to local councils to finish the project. But it shows what can happen if you put your imagination first before assigning your budget.


Unboxing the new Google 3D Mouse

September 11, 2008

Last night we came into possession of what we believe to be a beta-release for a new kind of 3D Mouse from Google. Whilst we can’t disclose exactly who gave this (because they work at Google) it certainly raised a few eyebrows in here when we opened the package. We’ve never seen a mouse like this before and has a couple of really WOW features (check out the last image).

EDIT: Just uploaded a quick video (this was right after we took it out of the box).

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So our second unboxing in a month (*)… unfortunately we missed the opening of this box initially because it was totally unmarked so we didn’t know what was inside until we saw the mouse through the plastic …at which point we got the camera out. The mouse was well packed with inflated pouch to avoid any damage. 

Confirmed: It is green and has see through bits showing the Google logo.     

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Underside: Marked (A) is likely part of the 3D accelerometer. This lets you lift the mouse up an use it pretty much like like a Wii controller (see shot of screen below).

(B) seems to be part of the Wii-like 3D system for when you’re waving it about – yes you can actually see the yellow sensor inside moving as you move your hand.
 
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(C) – Appears to be the Biometric reader (nicely branded) and (D) seems to control all the 3D movements but doubles up as a really comfortable ergonomic gel to prevent RSI.

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Above: The mouse in action – after the mouse drivers install you get this pretty neat affect as you lift the mouse up; the cursor lifts up and becomes huge, casting a shadow on the desktop. We haven’t figured out what the use for this might be yet but it was fun.

We were a bit disappointed that the mouse is not wireless, but seeing there was no battery compartment it probably needs to get power from somewhere.

Incidentally it’s Google’s tenth birthday, and we know they love a good old joke down under 😉 …Happy Birthday Google, and thanks for the mouse – already put to good use.

Birthday wishes, @ Amnesia.