Ikea figures out a way to build an Instagram ‘website’

 

Beyond hashtag campaigns, Brands have struggled to make Instagram an actionable platform.   Taking the opportunity to take a crack at this challenge, Ikea Russia’s agency has found a clever way to make the platform work for them in an interesting way.  Ikea’s instagram account  ikea_ps_2014 is able to function exactly like a website—with 12 image tabs displaying different product categories (total of 34), all of which have their own Instagram accounts.

The effort is to promote their new “Ikea PS 2014” collection, which tapped into 14 young designers from around the world to target its younger urban audience.

Why I am Curious:

I absolutely love this idea and how out of the box it is.  I’m curious to see what happens as a result of having so many Instagram accounts to make this happen.  I wonder if they will be deactivated once the campaign is over—therefore losing the following that was built up.

H&M’s “Fashion Mixer” catalogue turns apparel pieces into music

H&M is now launching a music project in Asia that see’s the brand’s fashion catalogue working as a musical piece.   The project—called fashion mixer—enables consumers to turn apparel pieces into musical sounds and then mix them.  The project is based on H&M’s “Divided” collection, which features clothing for both men and women.  Essentially, each item of the collection has it’s own sound effect ranging from beats to melodies and voices.  Users can add various fashion items by dragging and dropping them onto a special sampler on a mobile device that fuses the sounds to create a one-of-a-kind tune.

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Why I am Curious:

It’s interesting to see brands play with the power of music. Some brands are doing it right and some brands haven’t quite figured it out.  I think this project from H&M will be something of interest to their core audience.

The Heritage Bank Power Suite:

The Heritage Bank Power Suite:

Swipe with your sleeve not your wallet……..A new form of wearable payment tech is allowing men to pay for service without drawing attention. While contactless payment methods have no doubt gained popularity, the heritage bank power suit takes the idea to the next level in terms of style and ease of use. The suit—made from fine merino wool—contains an NFC chip (typically found in Visa payWave contactless payment cards) that is woven into the user’s suit allowing them to easily touch payment terminals to make any transaction. The user is then able to check their transaction instantly via mobile.

Why I am Curious:
I think this is a really cool idea and concept however I wonder how feasible this really is. You would only be able to use this when you were wearing this suite. Also, how is this washed? While I think the idea is clever I do think there are things that need to be worked out to make this a more seamless experience but I do believe it will get there soon.

Safeguard makes it difficult to leave the bathroom with dirty hands

We all know, people aren’t always the cleanest and or hygienic, especially in places like NYC. That being said, if one dares to actually think about germs in places such as a bathroom, the thought can be enough to make one sick. Only 1 in 3 people wash their hands after using the public toilette and only 5% of the people that do wash their hands do it well enough to actually kill germs.

In order to aid is this issue, Safeguard has created a soap dispenser alarm that shames people into washing their hands. Essentially the tool works through pressure sensors that are connected to cubicle stall doors. Once open, they trigger an alarm and the only way to stop it is to press the alarm button which also conveniently dispenses soap in order to wash hands.

Why I am Curious:
While not enough to stop the spreading of germs for an entire city, I think this idea is brilliant. No one wants to be publically humiliated and in a way it reminds me of that chemical put in pools that turns pee purple. That being said, people are crazy and gross and I wonder if they will just ignore the alarm and walk out quickly.

Dulux simplifies the job of interior design with a color matching app

Delux Australia has developed a new app call Colour (designed by Isobar) that helps interior decorators and amateurs alike match colors to real life objects. The app also contains 2014 colour trends. The app is promoted by a spot produced by BBDO—revealing the playful nature of colors.

What I am Curious:
I love to decorate and matching colors is actually really difficult because there is never one shade of a color…..there are at least 50 😉 That being said I think this makes the process much easier and we will continue to see more concepts/apps like this (i.e. Shazam).

Jawbone’s Up Coffee app allows you to discover how caffeine intake influences sleep

In time for National sleep awareness month, Jawbone created an app that showcases the correlation between caffeine intake and the quality of future sleep (i.e. if you drink X cups of coffee you won’t be able to go to bed until X time).  The app shows how “worn out” a user might become because of the caffeine they drink and reveals the user’s “coffee” persona, which measures the caffeine levels, sleep patterns and gives tips for behavioral change.

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The app also pairs with Jawbone Up wrist tracker which ultimately helps users understand sleep, movement, and eating so they can make smarter choices.

Why I am curious:

As the health trend continues to grow and become more and more integrated with technological experiences, it is interesting to see how granular data is becoming.  i.e. Will a person eventually know what foods they need to eat/avoid and or exercises they need to do so they don’t get certain diseases/illnesses etc.

Coca-Cola Social Media Guard cures people’s addiction to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

While social media is a fun way to connect with friends and family virtually, often it takes away the excitement of an of in person contact—eye contact, facial expression recognition etc. BUT Coke has come up with a solution…..the social media guard—which ironically just looks like a dog cone—and makes it impossible for people to look down at their phones. The company has branded the cones and viewers can actually purchase them if they want.

Why I am curious:
The brand is extremely successful in social so it would seem they would not go for a tactic like this, but it’s nice that they still emphasize that real life tangible experiences are better then online. I think they have spun this in a cute and funny way and I am curious to see if anyone would actually buy the cones. Could be funny.

Bio-sensing book changes temperature based on the plot

When reading a good book, often a reader can find themselves so immersed in a fictional world where things such as empathizing with characters feels natural. But in order to really enhance this experience, Sensory Fiction—a course at MIT Media lab—is aiming to create concepts that are inspired by fictional fantasies. In one of the course’s latest concepts, users are able “feel” fiction as they read, through tech and sensors that vibrate and change temp in correlation to the plot.

The basic setup for the concept involves a book cover with LED lights—changing according to the mood of the story, as well as a wearable tech piece that changes temp, vibrations and pressure as the reader turns the page.

Why I’m Curious:
Some of the most exciting experiences are those that are convergent/ubitech (physical + digital). It’s a blurring of the lines between what is reality vs what is tech. I really love this concept and think this would be even more exciting if you could also smell the scenes in the book or even taste. I think adding all these sensorial touches/elements really has the power to create an exhilarating experience in the real world.

The Mindy Project matches up fans to lead characters’ fake tinder profiles.

The Mindy Project matches up fans to lead characters’ fake tinder profiles.

In a strategic effort to increase its audience/following, Fox has teamed up with Tinder to stir up some publicity for a Mindy Project Tinder themed episode airing later this year. For the promotion of this episode, the show has created fake dating profiles for the main character Mindy as well as another cast member Danny. Tinder users holding a promising outlook for a virtual hookup will find her profile stating:

“Tiny doctor in a big city looking for love, friendship, or a donut that’s so good it’s spiritual. I’ve got a Reese Witherspoon personality, a Nicki Minaj body, and Frnak Sinatra eyes (they turn blue in the summer, I swear). Looking for the Channing Tatum to my “girl from Step Up.” Swipe right if you like a high-powered firecracker of a woman who has it all but only recently figured out her DVR. To see more about me, tune-in to THE MINDY PROJECT this Tuesday at 9:30/8:30c on FOX.”

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Why I’m Curious:
I love to see promotional efforts that are a little more outside the box. People often despise banner ads because they are invasive to their actions and or distracting. Utilizing popular platforms in a way that is native to that very environment is a more clever and strategic way to reach the target demographic they are going after. The only issue I might see with this is that if someone has never heard of this show and swipes left, the Mindy Project may easily miss an opportunity to reach a new audience.

Electrolux Design Lab 2014 focuses on ‘Creating Healthy Homes’

Electrolux Design Lab 2014 focuses on ‘Creating Healthy Homes’

Each year Electrolux does an international design competition for design students that is aimed at finding futuristic/cutting edge concepts for improving homes. This year’s theme was focused around spaces that are ‘greener’ and ‘healthier.’ Contestants could submit concepts that ranged across three different categories: Culinary Enjoyment, Fabric Care and Air Purification and had to create concepts for a product, accessory, consumable or service. After submission, contestants had to share their work via social media and write a development blog. They then received feedback from professionals and had the opportunity to win. The few that did win received a cash prize, and the grand prize winner got not only a cash prize but a 6 month paid internship with the company.

This years winning submission was developed by a man named Adrian Perez Zapata from Columbia—with a cleaning system that uses tiny flying robots to clean surfaces by removing dust with a drop of water. (See the winning submissions here)

Why I am Curious:
I’m always curious about design concepts that push the limits for what is currently in the mass consumer markets. I love seeing the designs that come out of this each year because they are always inventive and are on the cusp of technology.

Google invents new revenue stream, Helpouts, initially designed to connect people

Tech powerhouse Google has now created a platform for individuals to fix real life problems in real time with “personalized” video advice from people. The service, Helpouts, connects individuals that seek help with those who can provide the required guidance through paid or free meetups. The service is offered in 8 different categories to start (from art & music, to cooking, to fitness & nutrition.)

The platform is able to connect users with experts across categories. Services not only include video chatting capabilities but also—with the permission of the user—screen sharing capabilities. Some classes or advice sessions are free while others have a fixed cost. In its initial stage of this project, Google already has over 1000 companies participating and hopes to continue to expand with more.

Why I’m Curious:
I’m curious to see how this unfolds. I obviously think this will be successful but I’m wondering if they will add in a community aspect (similar to a quora) where it doesn’t have to be an expert that answers questions and or if people will be able to rate the services that they receive through the platform.

Tweeting Bra for Breast Cancer

The tweeting bra is a project by Nestle Fitness for their breast cancer awareness campaign in Greece.  The way in which the bra works is that every time an individual unhooks their bra a special hidden mechanism sends a signal to a cell phone—then notifying a server that will generate the tweet.  The hashtag for the campaign is #Tweetingbra and users can also follow the twitter handle @tweetingbra to see more information. 

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Why I am Curious:

Tactics for breast cancer have really gained traction in awareness and usage in the last couple of years (i.e. pins, clothes, ribbons etc), and while I think a “tweeting bra” is interesting it feels invasive and annoying in the amount of tweets that would be going off every time a person hooked their bra.  I’m curious to know if people would actually do this.

The Case For Deleting All Your Apps

The Case For Deleting All Your Apps

“You are a hoarder, and it’s a problem”

Although this is not the type of hoarding that once can actually see, Charlie Warzel claims that most people are hoarding apps and that their smartphone home screens are a mess and it’s a problem.

His solve for this? Delete your apps. All of them. Every last one of them that you can delete.

His reasoning comes from a result of when his developer version of iOS 7 had expired, causing his phone to deactivate. He then wiped out his phone and deleted all his apps. As he recalls, he took a look at his clean home screen with no twitter; no email; no contacts or push notifications and had a feeling of tranquility.

As reality set in, he realized he needed certain apps (i.e. Gmail, Twitter, Google Maps, Instagram etc.) but he only added the ones he felt he needed or really wanted taking a more lean approach. For him fewer apps meant for distractions and times that he checked his phone and the more he actually enjoyed using his phone. He suggests everyone at least try it to see what happens even if they re-download all their apps

Why I’m Curious
YOLO, FOMO are definitely good descriptors of today’s culture. People want to see and partake in every interesting moment in real time. As a result of tech + these movements, I think we are starting to see a culture that is obsessive in their activities (i.e constantly checking Facebook and or whether they got a text etc) and tools such as smartphone only enable that behavior to its fullest degree. Just like when social media first became popular and out of fear people naturally became more private, I am curious to see if there will be a movement on dialing back on not letting all the notifications rule ones life–a digital detox so to speak.

Food Truck Dispenses Smells To Mimic the Experience of Eating

It’s pretty apparent that food trucks are all the rage in several cities across the US–where that can be mobile and give individuals access to foods they may not be able to obtain otherwise (i.e. areas there aren’t many restaurants–like 12th ave and 26th street). But in its height, innovation in the space continues—most recently with a concept that doesn’t actually require eating. A new project called the GhostFood Truck will do just this with an eating experience that will trick the mind. The GhostFoodTruck essentially mimics what actual food would taste like with a 3D-printed headset—attached to one’s face—allowing the user to smell various types of food.

The purpose of the headset is to trick your brain into thinking that it is legitimately eating food by get the chance to much on something (that is a vegan substitute) as well as get a sense for how it smells.

Food Truck Dispenses Smells To Mimic the Experience of Eating

Why I am Curious:
I think this is such a unique and forward thinking project that touches upon several problematic areas—obesity, climate change (threatening extinction of different foods), increasing population will increase food scarcity etc. In knowing that 80% of ‘taste’ actually comes from smell, I think this is a concept that could work to solve several issues but also heighten different experiences. For instance what if you were shopping for food online and saw something you wanted to try but didn’t want to pay for it if you didn’t like but were able to smell it to validate. Or what if you were doing a travel campaign and users could for instance smell the ocean and the beach increasing their desire to travel there. I am interested to see when this will launch and like may things if it will be insanely expensive.

The School of Make Art—a collaboration of Levi and Skillshare.

As apart of its global campaign, “Make Our Mark,” Levi’s has teamed up with Skillshare to launch a series of online video classes to help interested users in developing/enhancing creative skills—i.e. designing tattoos, mobile phone photography, creating typographics (inspired by sound), designing vintage-inspired postcards etc. Each class will be around 4 key themes—origins, passions, methods and goals in order to inspire and foster creativity. Some of the expert teachers include: legendary graphic designer David Carson, urban explorer Cubby Graham, and Rihanna’s tattoo artist BANG BANG etc etc. The most successful creations will be included in a “Make Our Mark” time capsule.

Each class is $10 with 100% of the money going to fund arts, and music education for kids through the Dave Eggers’ organization.

Why I’m Curious:
One of the big trends we’ve started to see come to fruition is consumer expectations from brands. They want more, expect more, and are not going to waist their time on anything that isn’t brilliant and worth their while. Brands really have to push the envelope to go beyond just selling a product. They need to offer an experience that touches lives in a meaningful way and gives them an indulgence that was not expected. I think Levi’s partnership with Skillshare will do just that and I am interested in seeing the results and impact this has on consumer loyalty.

Toolkit transforms whiteboard sketches into functioning apps

Toolkit transforms whiteboard sketches into functioning apps

Kickstarter concept—AppSpeed—takes prototyping to the next level by allowing users to quickly turn sketches into functioning prototypes. The way in which the concept works is that users create drawings/sketches of digital screens with crop marks clearly visible. Once finished, the user uploads their sketches into AppSeed, which then automatically crops screen sizes. Once images sizes/screens are isolated, the app uses computer vision to enable the movement of individual elements. Based on this, users can alter or designate specific functions to individual pieces in each image.

Ultimately, the purpose of the app is to make for a seamless and easy experience for designers and UX creatives by allowing for simple manipulation and modification of digitized sketches to create working prototypes.

Why I am Curious:

Minimal viable products are of extreme interest to me and I believe the best way to validate efforts are to quickly create concepts that can be validated with sample targets before production ever gets started. I think this idea will speed up that process. I think apps/programs in this space will only continue to get better.

The U.S. and U.K rank “below normal” in Mindshare’s country ranking of digital normalness.

Mindshare recently created a report called “Digital Culture and the Digital Normal Index,” which defines what they believe to be digital “normalness” and or “abnormalness” per country.  The purpose of the study done was ultimately to give insight to what drives individuals to go online—i.e. music, watch movies, blog or play games on the internet.  About 30 different topics in 30 different countries are covered in the report for online activity such as social networking, and watching porn and are then compared to behaviors across the following categories: information, self-expression and communication, transaction and entertainment.

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Each country was ranked according to the above measurements, also keeping in mind the digital infrastructures in place for those countries (i.e. speed of internet connection).  The results where surprising.  The U.S. –among the world’s richest and technologically advanced nation—was least motivated to go online for self-expression/communications and transactions.  The U.K. –a nation of tech geeks (defined from a recent study)—is at the bottom of the normalness ranking because they are less motivated to go online for information, communication; however they are eager to find entertainment, and shop online.  Japan—the leader in tech and engineering innovation—is left behind the U.S. and the U.K. with the least motivation to have fun online, do transactions and socialize.

The leaders for normalness were China, Portugal, and Singapore.  The BRIC countries led by China, had “above normal” in motivation to use digital communication tools.

Why I am Curious:

Sometime when we don’t have the right information we make educated guesses.   Based on what I know and have read, saying the U.S. and U.K. were the most motivated to be online would have been my guess yet it is the complete opposite.  I find this to be really interesting and it just goes to show educated guesses can be really far off if we don’t have the right information or don’t ask the right questions.

Turn your tablet or smartphone into a holographic projector

While it’s not totally a hologram, this new kickstarter project—HOLHO—brings us one step closer to holograms with its projector. Essentially the new device comes in different shapes and sizes (i.e. a small-pyramid that sits above one’s tablet, or even four-sided pyramid etc.) at a starting price of $47.

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The way in which the device works is that it is first placed on the top or bottom of a phone or tablet, and then using the Holho app it takes videos and divides them in such a way that works with the pyramid devices to show different visualizations.

Why I am Curious:
I am always curious about devices/solutions that test the limits of our realities. While this is still in its early stages, and may later be seen as bulky, I am interested to see how real holograms will eventually be integrated into our daily lives. Will holograms eventually replace augmented reality? Will they replace things like skype or face time etc.

America’s most honest cities revealed by Honest Tea’s social experiment

Honest Tea created a national experiment to discover how “honest” US consumers are when nobody is looking.

The way in which the experiment worked was that Honest set up unattended kiosks in 61 spots in the US leaving Honest Tea clearly visible. Consumers had the choice to leave $1 or take one for free (i.e. steal it). However, what consumers did not know was that Honest has been tracking user behaviors to determine where the most honest cities are. Honest even goes as far as identifying honest cities by gender and appearance. Some of the final results so far conclude that women tend to be more honest then men, men without beards tended to be more honest, blond people tended to be more honest, L.A. and New York were not vey honest etc.

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Why I am Curious:
I think the campaign is well done and very cute but it’s a little scary to me how easy it is to get information about people. In not getting to see these kiosks up close and personal, it’s hard to tell if people knew they were being tracked but I don’t think even that would have mattered. In general, it’s very common to see people give up very personal information if there is a free component/reward in return. I’m curious to see where people draw the line to their own privacy. I am also curious to know if breaking behaviors down by appearance holds true for other categories. Was this more of a coincidence or factual?

Swedish crowdfunding startup Reupp “reanimates” axed TV shows

Reupp—a Stockholm-based online platform—taps into the power of international crowdfunding to bring back popular, but one cancelled TV series as well as those that are still airing but may need support to stay alive.

The service features a number of popular TV series including Game of Thrones, Futurama, and Arrested Development. The way it works is simple. Anyone interested in backing a show grant an “x” amount of money via PayPal to get series “resurrected” or to stay alive. Any funds not used are refunded back to backers.

Why I am Curious:
Funding a TV show is typically in the millions of dollars. I am curious to see if this is more of a petition related approach showing the large amounts of people who want to bring shows back or if shows really will raise enough money to keep running or to be resurrected.