Ballin’ Design

January 22, 2012

I know, I know. It’s the heart of the NFL playoffs. The eve of a Championship Sunday featuring a phenomenal pair of matchups… teams steeped in history and tradition, draped in story-lines of renewal and redemption and brotherly rivalry. It’s the most glorious time of year. I get it.

But still. Hoops is back. And with it, this nugget of brilliance-in-the-technology-and-sports-arena. A simple concept that combines motion-capture and quick-printing technologies to form something truly meaningful for kids and the game they love: Basketball. Pretty cool.

(My 8th grade Reading & Studies Skills class taught me to cite my source. My source:  FastCo Design: 5 Lessons From The Best Interaction Design of 2011. Source cited.)

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Got game?

December 30, 2010

Will this poster still be funny in 2020?

If you work in the tech or business worlds, chances are you’ll be asked this question in the foreseeable future (if you haven’t been asked it already). And what better way to round out a year than with a bold prediction for what’s to come?

If the last decade was largely about technology shaping social connections, the next few years could mark the start of the ubiquitous gaming era. Now I’m no prophet. But many a bright mind in these circles seem to agree: the games are coming. That’s right, games and layers of games, everywhere… where you work, where you eat, where you go to the doctor, where you sleep. This could mean a world that’s more fun, more measured, more engaging, more transparent, with more gold coins. Or it could mean something else. Like the social web pioneers of the early 2000’s, the power is in our hands… as the rules for how games will shape our future are yet to be written.

Tell me more, you say.

If you’re in a reading mood, here’s a lengthy deep dive from Fast Company into the psychology behind games, and what many corporate and government players are doing in this space. (Did you know humans have collectively spent as much time playing WoW as we’ve spent evolving as a species?)

From the New York Times, this articles touches on the history and current state of the gaming world, and where we’re headed.

And here, the token video from a young pioneer of the gaming future, breaking down game stickiness into four key dynamics: appointments, influence & status, progression, and communal discovery. Right.

For those in need of some bedside reading, check out Total Engagement, a unique, though admittedly academic, take on the potential for games to revolutionize the modern workplace, drawing on dynamics from wildly successful massively multiplayer online games (MMORPGs) out there.

For the auditory learners, a short radio segment from NPR on top games of 2010.

And lastly, a Wired Magazine article on a game that inadvertently changed a previously-established billion-dollar industry, by changing the behaviors of the players involved. Sound familiar?

So don’t say you weren’t warned, citizens of the world. Happy 2011. And game on.


Mobile Phones and the Self

November 9, 2010

These machines, what a part of us they’ve become!  And whether we like it or not, what gadgets we carry around reflect something about us to the outside world. Similar to how our clothing and grooming do. How the type of music we listen to does. How the type of house-pets we keep do (I keep none, it’s against my building code). Not to say that the viewpoints expressed in this comic are entirely accurate… but hey, decide for yourself.

IPhone vs Android vs Blackberry

"How smartphone users see 2G phone users..."


Is the “Eureka!” Moment a Myth?

September 28, 2010

Ever wonder where good ideas like the internet or wearable blankets come from?  Of course you have. Here’s one theory that comes with some compelling video work… quickest 4 minutes you’ll spend all week:

TED posted a longer version of Steve Johnson’s talk that fleshes out the historical importance of collaboration and idea incubation. He steps outside the frame of technology and focuses on creative inspiration and the problem-solving process itself. Pretty good stuff. Highlights include tangents on submarine warfare, Darwin, gravity, and the creative powers of alcohol versus caffeine.


‘The Onion’ on Tech Breakthroughs

June 29, 2010
Onion technology

Goggles sold separately

Tuesdays have always been under-appreciated days. So it’s in their honor that I dug up this fine article from 9 years ago. Seemed relevant.

(On a related note, check out this mildly-innovative onion technology.)


New Song, Same Ol’ Dance

April 29, 2010

Yeah, I went there.  Timeless and wildly prophetic, the graphic tree sequence vividly illustrates an all-too-common pattern in today’s high tech development world. This version also demonstrates the power of enlisting an extra sense (that auditory one) to drive a point home. For the full effect of this diddly, play from your cube with the sound up, base up. Loud. Oh yes.


Entertainment and the Brain (waves)

February 2, 2010

Now we can know how you really felt about this scene.

Move aside focus groups, there’s a new way to measure how entertained we are!  And surprise surprise, it involves looking at our brains. Looking at them real close.  That’s right, the future of the movie industry (at least the editing and directing aspects of it) may soon involve regular MRI brain-scanning of sample audiences to help directors to tweak their films based on our emotional responses measured by brain activity. Check out the video below or article from Wired Magazine about MindSign Neuromarketing, a San Diego based company exploring this area.   

It’s a cool concept that’ll raise questions about the weight we put on physiological measures versus subjective self-reporting.  “I don’t care what you thought you felt — you brain was on fire during the opening scene. Lit up like a fire-cracker. You were scared straight!”  That fine line that many of us like to draw between body and mind continues to blur.