Android

Ikea’s 2014 Augmented Reality Catalog.

Whoever is responsible for Ikea’s integrated marketing and digital initiatives deserves a raise. Every time I turn around, Ikea is launching another fun, useful, forward thinking app, website, or digital tool that connects directly to their shop/buy strategy.

The new 2014 catalog app allows you, the shopper, to see just how their furniture would look in your home. The augmented reality catalog works with your tablet or smartphone.

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All you have to do is place the catalog on the floor in the place you imagine the new piece of furniture sitting. Then, use the app to select the product that you’d like to see there. The ikea app places the image in the room with the correct perspective and scale.

It’s a great shopping tool, and an app that helps you know what you want before you go to the Ikea store or decide to buy online. Currently the selection of pieces is limited, but since the app is net connected, updates can happen on a regular basis. The video below, while a bit silly, shows the app in action and all the potential it has.

What if Wacom Built a Tablet Computer? They Are.

If you are a designer or artist working with digital tools like Photoshop or Illustrator, you might have had a chance to work with the Wacom Cintiq. If you are unfamiliar with the Cintiq, it is Wacom’s monitor/input tablet combined. It allows you to draw and paint right on the surface, mimicking an actual physical work surface.

If you are an iPad or other tablet user, you have probably installed a few creative apps like Procreate, or ArtRage and use your tablet for sketching, drawing, photo-retouching, etc. with some kind of input stylus. And while your stylus does a pretty good job, in many ways it is not a substitute for your Wacom tablet or Cintiq. The fact is most styluses, have larger input tips, and almost all of them don’t offer pressure sensitivity like the Wacom. So, why hasn’t Wacom jumped into the tablet fray? Well they have.

The Wacom Cintiq Companion, and Comanion Hybrid are two new tablets from Wacom. The Companion runs a full blown version of Windows 8 and allows you full access to all of your desktop creative tools. The Companion Hybrid runs Android and give you access to all of your favorite Android creative apps, like Procreate, Sketch, and ArtRage.

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Both tablets offer an immersive on-screen creative experience and take full advantage of Wacom’s pressure sensitive stylus on a high resolution portable screen. The Companion running Windows 8 is essentially a mobile workstation with multi-touch control, pressure sensitive input and cloud based connectivity allowing you to create and share you r work from anywhere. Frankly I find this to be very exciting, because it take what I do on my iPad and extends it allowing me to be more creative from anywhere.

The overall specs for both tablets looks pretty impressive, especially for a first effort. Screen resolution is 1920 by 1080, Intel® CORE™ i-7 processor, 2048 levels pen pressure, 256 or 512 GB solid state drive, 16.7 million color display, 8 gig of RAM… I hope that Wacom is successful with this, because competition is a good thing, and hopefully it means Apple, and stylus manufacturers will step up their game resulting in better products for everyone.

There is no word on pricing and or availability as of yet, but you can sign up for email announcements about the tablets as they get closer to a launch date and release pricing info.

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BMW i3 “Become Electric” Immersive 360° Interactive Film.

When BMW announced the i Series cars a couple of years back I was all ears. As a former BMW owner, I can attest to the quality and design of their automobiles, so the i3 had me intrigued. Just last week I was on the phone to the local dealer asking if they would have a preview model anytime soon, since the car will be available in California early next year. Sadly they said no.

To support the launch of the i3 BMW has developed a very cool interactive campaign in the form of a fully immersive interactive film available for iOS and Android.

“Become Electric,” is  an interactive experience shot in fully immersive 360 degrees that leads you through a unique story that reveals the car over time. As you head through the streets of a foreign city in a race against time the participant picks up a mysterious stranger and engages in a thrilling mission. The goal is to outrun the sinister “Shadows” that are pursuing you and deliver “The Key” as you help the world “Become Electric.” The game is true immersive entertainment, while advertising and promoting the new i3. The promotion for the car and it’s features are cleverly disguised in an immersive game.

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Since BMW is launching the “i” series as a sub-brand I bet we see more of this kind of work from them in the future for the i3, and the i8 as well.

So You Want to Stop People From Texting and Driving.

iphone4-1This morning while I was drinking my coffee and watching the news, there was a story on Good Morning America about New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo cracking down on texting and driving. I say you go governor. The thing is, I think there is a much easier and cheaper solution to the problem. One that doesn’t involve law enforcement, and can be easily implemented by hand set manufacturers, and software developers.

Smartphones are rapidly becoming the standard in the United States. Every smartphone on the market has one universal feature. They know where they are and how fast they are moving thanks to motion detection, GPS, and any number of other hardware and software specific features of the handset. So, why don’t we simply require smartphone manufacturers to disable texting if the phone is traveling in any direction faster than 10 miles per hour? Now before you can say what about when I’m riding on a plane, or high-speed train? If the phone is traveling faster than, lets say 120 miles per hour, texting services work.

I think this is a fairly straightforward, easy to implement solution. It could be achieved with a simple software update to iOS, Android, and Windows mobile operating system, and it could be adjusted with updates in the future. It wouldn’t get every phone in use, but it would probably get about 80 percent or more.

So I’m thinking it could work like this:

  • If my phone is moving faster than 10 miles per hour in any direction I can’t text
  • When I get to a stop light texting remains inactive for 30 seconds (the typical length of a stoplight)
  • If I travel faster than X mph my phone lets me text again.

It might piss people off at first, but so did seat belts and other devices that have made driving a hell of a lot safer in the last 100 years.