Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

From Billboards to Business Cards

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Although they have existed for quite some time, QR codes are really beginning to take off.  They are more apparent now than ever appearing on a variety of everyday items. The QR or “Quick Response” code allows a person to scan in order to learn more about a company, person or product.  Rather than having tons of small text, if someone is interested in learning more, they can just scan and read on!

My first interaction with the strange-looking square was while flying on a family vacation.  My father handed the man his smartphone instead of passing off five different papers to the gate attendant.  The initial thought that went through my mind was “wow, I can’t believe there is such a thing! This is definitely a way of showing how our world is becoming more environmentally aware.”   About a year or so later, I realize it was much more than that.

A few months ago, a billboard was put on display in New York with a giant QR code that really turned heads.  On the bottom corner of the billboard, the Calvin Klein Jeans logo was apparent.  Most people would assume that the code would bring them to the website in order to purchase jeans.   Instead, a very sexual video appears with models who are wearing jeans.  This billboard has created quite the debate.  If the passerby wanted to learn more or find out what it was all about, they had the opportunity to do so.

Some companies are using QR’s to help simplify tasks.  Ikea has pitched that they may have a video with QR codes to go along in order to put together furniture.  Reading a manual is time consuming and often confusing, but instead, people can scan in order to move ahead in the video or maybe even scan the actual product itself.

The corporate world has also begun to use QR codes.  At meetings or conferences, one often obtains a handful of business cards and later, enters in all of the information.  Recently, we’ve seen people putting QR codes on their business cards so that others can scan the contact information right into his or her smartphone.  It can even incorporate links to social media sites.

Appearing on soda bottles, airplane tickets, billboards and business cards, QR codes have been effectively put to use.  I’m interested to see what other ways they will be used.  I would like to see a QR contest held sometime in the near future.

When have you used QR codes before?

A Face in the Crowd

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Just a few weeks ago, we came across this idea of “writing your own headline” from Nike.  People tweet a headline using hash tags and 100 per night are broadcasted in Johannesburg.  Now, back in the United States, we are seeing the concept of broadcasting tweets being brought to the next level.  Times Square has made a big new friend who loves to play around with the public.

In honor of the launch of its Times Square store, Forever21 has created an interactive board using high-tech surveillance equipment and computer vision technology as a virtual model plays with the crowd below.  The model can pick up onlookers and either kiss them, turn them into a frog, put them in her shopping bag or take a picture of the entire crowd.  Using the high-tech equipment, the models are able to spot those people in the crowd carrying a yellow Forever21 bag and are more likely to pick those people up.

Along with the on-screen virtual model, there are also tweets broadcasted the way that Nike is doing in Johannesburg.  Tweets including #love and #forever21 are placed on the large screen for all of Times Square to read.  In 2009, “The Hand From Above” was a giant hand on a screen created to interact with the crowd.  This tactic builds awareness and encourages interaction and participation.  The Forever21 Billboard takes virtual crowds and physical crowds and interacts on both ends.  It’s amazing to see how social media has become more mainstream than ever. The billboard is a clever advertisement and offers a new experience every visit!

How Do You Like Your iPad?

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

People use their iPads for various purposes, but most are pretty basic: word processing, email checking, photo uploading, and newspaper or magazine reading.  All of these tasks can be performed on a laptop or desktop, which is part of the reason why I had trouble understanding its purpose at first.  There are a handful of people, however, who really think “outside the box,” so to speak, and not just fiddle with the device, but come up with ways to use or hold it. Some for science, other for entertainment, but all of these variations are very clever.

In Italy, a multimedia exhibit was created in honor of the 20th anniversary of Dolce & Gabbana’s menswear collection.  The walls of part of the exhibit were lined with iPads that displayed images from a new book “20 Years of Dolce & Gabbana for Men” that could be scrolled through by drawing a hand across the touch screen.

Other variations of ipod holders and stands consist of a wooden frame that amplifies sound, a cardboard arcade cabinet, and a hollowed out iBook or Macintosh Classic.  The iPad also can be attached to a via USB and can be used as an old typewriter.  Science has even taken part in creating an iPad gadget by creating a wireless microscope that delivers video to the device.    It is said that “the expected use of the device is to help users examine skin texture and blemishes on the iPad,” but who knows, it could be used for science and research purposes as well.

Then there’s my personal favorite, the chocolate-covered iPad.  It serves as a doubly-awesome gift as it is both edible and practical.  After being coated and frozen in chocolate, the iPad was still in perfect condition.  The creativity that goes into all of these designs is quite innovative.  I can’t wait to see more that I’m sure are in store in the near future.

From Barbie to Reality…Now We Can Play Dress-up too!

Friday, June 18th, 2010

As a young child, my best friend and I played with a Barbie fashion designer computer game.  Every play date we had, we would rush to the computer and make a new hairstyle and color for Barbie as well as pick out her clothes.  Fast forward about fifteen years, and we can do the same thing for humans, and then purchase it.  In the past few years, this concept of “virtual mirrors” has become more and more prominent in the fashion industry.

I am very hesitant about purchasing things online; I want to be able to feel the material of the sweater, or be able to make sure that a watch fits my wrist correctly.  With online shopping, the tactile aspect of shopping is avoided.  Some people would argue that virtual mirrors have fixed my complaint about online shopping, while others would disagree.

Companies such as Adidas and Ray-Ban have you scan in a picture of yourself and then allow you to “virtually” try on products.  Yes, one can better visualize how the product would look on a person, but can this tool really make or break a sale?  Another company, Innova, has a step-by-step process in which the customer makes an appointment to get a “body scan” and then, they will virtually tailor your clothes for you based on the measurements taken.  While this concept is quite innovative (hence the company name), is it worth the time, effort, or money?  A picture of a product held up to a picture of a person can’t really determine if it will fit correctly.

While I’m not quite convinced that this is the future of shopping and tailoring, I did think of a really cool way that the virtual mirror concept could be used.  A program could scan in the barcodes from certain stores and an image of the piece of clothing or accessory appears.  From all of these scans the “closet has been built.” This program could appear on a computer (or even a television screen) along with an image of yourself, and essentially play Barbie fashion designer every morning (and could even be done from your bed!).

Links of the Week: April 30th Edition

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Two-Thumbs Down to 3-D

Famed movie critic Roger Ebert is not jumping on the 3-D bandwagon. In a Newsweek article published this week, Ebert explains why movie theaters should not overuse the technology and make it “a way of live” for moviegoers.

Hugo Chavez Twitter’s Newest Political Figure

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is officially a Twitter user as of Tuesday. The anti-US critic will be using the microblogging site as a way to send messages to his followers. He’s also reportedly encouraged Bolivian President Evo Morales and controversial Cuban political leader Fidel Castro to also join the site.

NYS Senator Charles Schumer not a Fan of Facebook

New York State Senator Charles Schumer is not a fan of Facebook’s new personalization of their site. He’s written a letter to the FTC asking that they create stringent guidelines for Facebook and other social networking sites.

Apple Releases “Thoughts on Flash”

Apple’s Steve Jobs has released a statement titled “Thoughts on Flash” in which he explains that due to Adobe’s lack of “reliability, security and performance” the iPhone and iPad will not support the Adobe Suite.