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