Hmm…Bacon…

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My colleague Dan mentioned me in an April Fools’ Day blog post earlier in the month. That’s right; I was the guy with the augmented reality bacon.

Augmented reality has been around for a while now and it’s being used more regularly than ever before – especially as a marketing tool. Augmented reality is basically old news. So what is new news? Augmented senses, that’s what; this sees augmented reality stretch beyond the sense of sight and incorporate touch, smell, sound and taste.

A few marketers have already cottoned onto this new technology. Innovators like Michelin-starred Mugaritz restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain, have sent customers a preview of their meal in the form of a Scentee device laced with mealy aroma.

Then there’s the bacon! Oscar Meyer sent their customers a device that could be plugged into their smartphone, delivering a burst of refreshing bacon scent when you awaken. It’s enough to make you hungry for more pig!

Ever wanted to send a hug to a loved one without actually being with them? Now you can! Huggy Pajama think that they have cracked this familiar dilemma. Also on the market are RingU, and Kissinger.

Bringing home the bacon indeed.

Blurring the line between real and fake on April Fools’ Day

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Yesterday, a colleague sent me a video promoting a new device which attaches to your iPhone and pumps out a bacon scent in the morning, when the alarm clock goes off. ‘Wake Up & Smell the Bacon’, veteran food brand Oscar Meyer have named it.

Implausible? I thought so, immediately passing it off as an early April Fools’ joke. Clearly I was the fool, however, as some quick internet research suggested otherwise. It’s completely real, as the Chicago Tribune reported last month.

As each year passes, and as technology evolves at an alarming pace, it’s becoming more and more difficult to determine what is an April Fools’ joke, and what is genuine.

On April 1, 2011, Google, who are no strangers to April Fools’ pranks, unveiled Gmail Motion, which promised to use body gestures to compose and send emails in Gmail. It failed to fool most people who refused to believe that technology such as this was possible, but the boffins from the Institute of Creative Technologies quickly proved them (and Google) wrong two days later by pointing out that the technology already existed - because they built it.

I’ve trawled the web for this year’s best April Fools’ Jokes. Could any of them become reality any time soon?

Samsung Fli-Fy
Universal free Wi-Fi is now a reality thanks to micro-routers strapped to, er, pigeons. “They’re everywhere and non-migratory, so our coverage doesn’t fly south for the winter”, says Tim Verhoeven, Samsung’s Senior Pigeon Engineer. Samsung Fli-Fy begins its trials in Trafalgar Square, obviously.

Amazon to deliver babies by drone
In December, the world’s largest online retailer revealed its plans to use unmanned drones, or ‘Octocopters’, to deliver goods to customers. Now it’s going one step further, using ‘Octomomcopters’ to deliver babies to front doors around the world.

Orbotix SelfieBot
Technology start-up Sphero makes robotic balls that are controlled with a smartphone or tablet. Now they’ve latched on to the selfie craze by inventing a flying robot – the SelfieBot – that follows you around, taking selfie-style photos of you. Creepy.

Awesome Photobombs with David Hasselhoff
Also using the selfie craze as the basis of its annual April 1 prank, Google have announced their Google+ Auto Awesome initiative, which aims to bring photos to life by superimposing celebrity photobombs on them. The fun starts with The Hoff.

Google Maps Pokémon Master
The Maps division of the technology giant is hiring. They’re after a Pokémon Master: the world’s greatest digital explorer. Enquire within.

NASA to land spacecraft on the sun
It can’t be done, can it? NASA certainly thinks so, announcing its goal to land a probe on the surface of the sun. But only at night, as it’s “far too hot during the day”.

 

#AdvertisingWeekEurope

Stephen Maher, CEO of MBA, will join industry and media experts alike, including Gemma Greaves from the Marketing Society, Claire Beale, editor at Haymarket, John Allert, Brand Director, McLaren and Annabel Venner, global brand director, Hiscox to share their predictions on the future of marketing.

It will take place at 1pm on 31st March, so come along and hear what some of the most prolific industry professionals think about the future.

Read more at http://advertisingweek.eu/calendar/-the-marketing-society-2014-03-31-1300#eAldCKEVZst8ZqJH.99

The last 14 days in digital: 15 – 28 March

Facebook buys Oculus Virtual Reality for £1.2 billion

This week, Facebook announced that it is acquiring Californian virtual reality company Oculus, makers of the immersive head-mounted display Oculus Rift, for £1.2 billion. Seeming to be preparing themselves for the future of communication and entertainment, it will be interesting to see how Facebook intend to use Oculus’ virtual reality technology to expand digital interaction and communication.

Brighton to receive £170 million digital investment

Last week we heard the exciting news that Brighton, being nicknamed ‘Silicon Beach’, will receive a £170 million City Deal from the UK government to drive digital investment. This will allow for Brighton to expand as a leading UK tech-cluster city and make way for more local high-value creative-technological businesses in the area. David Cameron announced that the deal will ‘harness the digital and creative skills’ that the city is known for.

First ever Bionic Olympic games to be held next year

It has been announced that next year Switzerland will be holding the first ever ‘Cybathlon’; an Olympics for bionic athletes. This Olympics will showcase human performance-enhanced technology, with  events including races for athletes with prosthetic limbs and exo-skeletons, and brain-computer interface races for athletes paralysed from the neck down.

Sony unveils virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4

At a developers conference in San Francisco last week, Sony wowed the audience by unveiling a virtual reality headset prototype for the PlayStation 4. Sony are rumoured to have been working on this prototype – called Project Morpheus – for three years, wherein the head-mounted display gives a 90 degree view with a 1080p resolution. It looks as if Sony are shaping-up to be a key competitor to the Oculus Rift headset.

#NoMakeupSelfie trend raises £8 million for Cancer Research UK

Girls uploading a ‘selfie’ of themselves with no make-up on has rapidly become a social media phenomenon, raising £8 million so far for Cancer Research UK - £2 million of which was raised in the first 48 hours alone. Those uploading their no make-up ‘selfie’ onto social networking sites pledge to donate £3 to charity by texting the word ‘BEAT’.

Farewell South by Southwest: Looking back over the last ten days in Texas

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Texas has bid farewell to the prestigious tech-music-film festival South by Southwest (SXSW) for yet another year. In music, Lady Gaga, Blondie and Coldplay headlined amongst many other acts, while Dave Grohl graced the stage as SXSW’s 2014 music keynote speaker. In film, many A-listers made star-studded appearances and 133 feature films and 113 short films previewed throughout the festival. However, it was SXSW Interactive that we had been eagerly waiting for…

Online privacy was a hot topic this year, with speeches from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Gadgets were everywhere to be seen as expected, with drones, virtual reality headsets, 3D printers and wirelessly connected home products popping-up left, right and centre.

But it was wearable technology that stole the limelight for us this year. Here’s what caught our eye most:

  • Pristine’s telehealth products for Google Glass
  • Pauline van Dongen’s solar-panelled jacket that recharges mobile phones while on the go
  • Skully Helmet’s augmented reality motorcycle helmet
  • The prototype BB.Suit (a.k.a “The Suit with Wifi”)
  • The Nymi wristband that measures your heartbeat and can be used to make financial transactions and unlock your handheld devices

 

Until next time Texas!