“The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.”
Futurist and science fiction writer Bruce Sterling tweeted out his Anticonventional Objects Venn Diagram over the weekend, a graphic he shared at the Maker Fiare in Italy back in 2013.
It’s his take on Hugh Dubberly’s Successful Product map (finding the perfect intersection of: What do people desire? What will sustain business? What can we build?) and instead lasers in on the types of objects that lie outside of those ideal parameters.
We spend so much time thinking of how to make the perfect product or campaign or idea, it’s also important to think through those that are not perfect — on purpose.
For instance, things that are profitable, but not desirable or buildable, include speculation, embezzlement, frauds, hoarding, theft, vaporware, and hoaxes.
Things that are desirable, but not buildable or profitable, include fantasies, speculations, the magical, and the mythical.
Things that are buildable, but neither profitable nor desirable, include trash, pollution, and entropy.
Things that are buildable and profitable but not desirable include niche products, hobby gear, long tail objects, weaponry, and criminal hardware.
I love this way of thinking. Sometimes the best ideas won’t check all the boxes, and that can be purposeful.
Apple isn’t behind Microsoft and Hololens. They are just being Apple. Moving slowly and deliberately toward something huge. And there’s a reason Tim Cook has brought up mixed reality in every major interview recently.
Here’s some tech news that backs this up…
Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent detailing an augmented reality mapping system that harnesses iPhone hardware to overlay visual enhancements onto live video, lending credence to recent rumors suggesting the company plans to implement an iOS-based AR strategy in the near future.
The Pioneer Press interviewed me about the last 6+ years traveling with Batman. Here are some quotes….
Greg Swan used to travel for business much more than he does now, and it was tough on his 4-year-old son Grant… and on him.
So one day in 2010, just before a trip, “I asked Grant if he would like me to bring something… along to keep me company,” Swan said. “Batman was the toy of choice.”
Swan, a onetime St. Paulite now living in Chaska, began taking shots of the “Batman: The Animated Series” action figure during his trip. In his spare moments, he’d pose the toy with tourist-y backdrops as if the superhero were on a trip of his own, and send the pictures to his kid.
He never stopped, using the action figure as a photo prop on trip after trip, and the toy has since become a bit of a social-media sensation.
“Next month marks six years of carrying (the toy) on business trips and then sending photos home,” Swan said. “Batman has seen The White House, Space Needle, Alcatraz, Disney World, Mount Rushmore, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas Strip, The Pentagon, the Hollywood sign Fort Knox, Louisville Slugger Museum, Chicago Bean, Santa Monica Pier, Fenway Park and the Empire State Building.”
I’M … BATMAN
Swan was in a similar bind, with hundreds or thousands of miles separating him from his family, and feeling his trips wear on him. Batman was — and still is — a big help.
“I’ve traveled a ton for work, 400,000 airline miles, and with that comes a lot of sacrifice,” Swan said. “Having the Batman figure causes me to pause a busy day, think about my family, seek out an experience, take a photo and share those moments” with the loved ones back home.
“In effect, it makes my travel life better,” said Swan, who now works at the Minneapolis-based Space150 advertising agency (a job that has him traveling less often than his previous one at the Weber Shandwick public-relations agency).
The Batman toy “has traveled to Puerto Rico, Honduras, Belize, Jamaica, Canada, Alaska and Mexico, and dipped his boots in three different oceans,” he said. “Many notable figures have met Batman, including NASA astronauts, Smokey the Bear and Donald Rumsfeld.”
He recalls that Rumsfeld’s bodyguard “was not impressed” — but the former U.S. defense secretary was a good sport in posing for a photo.
“You should see the looks I get at the airport,” Swan said. “Just a grown man with a pocket full of toys taking pictures and selfies for his kids. Nothing to see here.”
His many social-media followers, on the other hand, are ever on the lookout for Batman and chide Swan if he posts travel photos that don’t include the Dark Knight.
The Caped Crusader now has company.
“Grant is 10 years old now, and I can text photos to him directly, So fewer of them end up on social media,” Swan said. “But now his little brother and sister are in on the action. Which means just last week, on a trip to New York, I was carrying Batman, Cinderella and an R2D2 in my pocket – seeking out special places and moments to share with the entire family.”
See more pics from Batman on this blog here.
Not only did I get to hang out with a number of cool folks from Magic Leap (the mysterious augmented reality/mixed reality/hologram visor maker) at Future of Storytelling last week, we now see they have applied for a patent on “Virtual or augmented reality headsets having adjustable interpupillary distance.”
It’s way sleeker than Microsoft Hololens, although won’t have an onboard computer, so can be.
Google says this isn’t for consumer release, but they are hot on the heels of Microsoft’s Hololens and Magic Leap in augmented reality/mixed reality visors….
“Google’s invention focuses on a system for providing a virtual reality (VR) space or headset that has the ability to interact with an Android smartphone for game play and other needed controls. The mobile computing device can be configured to execute a VR application, and provide content for display on the screen of the VR headset in the VR space.”
“The VR headset can further include a position detection device configured to determine a position of the mobile computing device. The position detection device can be a camera.”
(cross-posted from space150’s blog)
Dating back to 2010 and our Forever 21 AR Billboard in Times Square, we’ve been excited about the prospect of augmented reality (AR) for space150 clients. At that time, we had to hack together military facial recognition software to bridge the physical-to-digital divide. But today, PokemonGo has helped bring AR utility to the masses — unlocking the digital layer on the physical world through a lens like your phone.
THE VISORS ARE COMING
The first generation of augmented reality (AR) visors is coming to a face near you. Although not quite ready for mainstream applications, we’re starting to see some entertaining experiences drop for AR consumers.
For example, this is a short video we made this week using HoloFriends new app, The Floor is Lava and our Microsoft Hololens.
It’s a reimaginging of a game we all played as kids:
Last week, our spaceLab team spent time with the Meta 2 team and some hands-on workshop time with Lorraine Bardeen, who leads strategy and partnerships for Microsoft HoloLens at the Future of Storytelling Summit.
Our discussions with these technology leaders focused less on the limitations of the technology today (limited field of view, cost, battery life vs. tethers) and more on the possibilities of storytelling using mixed reality tools like AR visors.
Imagine mapping your living room by simply looking around, then watching as your walls are painted, furniture is reupholstered, spiders crawl out of your windows, and a hologram police chief sits on your own couch and briefs you on a murder case you need to solve. This already exists.
AR visors and holograms offer yet another tool for immersive storytelling in our toolbox for brands. What will you make?
Interested in discussing how AR could work for your brand? Hit me up -> spacelab (at) space150 (dot) com.