For those who want navigational assistance without the stress of map reading, a couple graduate students at NYU, Che-Wei Wang and Kristin O’Friel, have come up with a fuzzy new tool for you, named Momobot.
Momo is a haptic navigational device that requires only the sense of touch to guide a user. No maps, no text, no arrows, no lights. It sits on the palm of one’s hand and leans, vibrates and gravitates towards a preset location. Akin to someone pointing you in the right direction, there is no need to find your map, you simply follow as the device leans toward your destination.
The concept is nicely explained in this video:
Two points of interest:
1 – Adding a human touch: The vibrations and movements of the robot make navigation feel more human.
When is a human touch desirable for advertising?
What surprising haptic experiences could we bring to outdoor or installation settings?
2 -Sensory deprivation: How can the denial of certain senses (in this case the vision of a map) enable users to experience their surroundings in new ways?
Video game creator and theorist Ian Bogost recently created a Facebook game about Facebook games. Bogust explains the game on his blog:
Cow Clicker is a Facebook game about Facebook games. It’s partly a satire, and partly a playable theory of today’s social games, and partly an earnest example of that genre.
You get a cow. You can click on it. In six hours, you can click it again. Clicking earns you clicks. You can buy custom “premium” cows through micropayments (the Cow Clicker currency is called “mooney”), and you can buy your way out of the time delay by spending it. You can publish feed stories about clicking your cow, and you can click friends’ cow clicks in their feed stories. Cow Clicker is Facebook games distilled to their essence.
There are a few fascinating points:
1 - Compulsion vs. Challenge – Cow Clicker asks a fundamental question about social games: Are users competing because of the challenge of play OR because they feel compelled (and thus slightly anxious)?
As we create more games, how can we motivate engagement via effort and challenge, rather than compulsion?
2 – Theory through practice – Bogost calls his method “carpentry.” Instead of writing a paper, Bogost has created a game that will work out his issues as users play. It’s a refreshing example of how technology is changing thinking, making the process more participatory.
In a recent talk at TED, Tan Le of Emotiv Systems demonstrated a powerful new technology, which suggests that mind control will soon be more fact than fiction:
Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.
Bartab is a new iPhone app that plays on the social nature of drinking, allowing users to buy real drinks for their Facebook friends:
Steve Johnson, a San Francisco entrepreneur, created a new application for Facebook and mobile phones called Bartab that allows users to send a real drink to a friend via their mobile phone, bridging the divide between social networks and the real world.
Bartab works by allowing a user to buy a $1 drink voucher good at 60 bars in San Francisco. The recipient receives a drink ticket via a text message or iPhone application. They just show the ticket to a bartender and then pay a $1 pouring fee and get the drink for a fraction of what it normally costs.
Twittermood is a project started by a multidisciplinary group of researchers from Northeastern and Harvard that seeks to understand the relationship between mood and geography through complex Tweet analysis.
In analogy to individual neurons firing together to add up to the human consciousness, the billions of tweets have meaningful macro-states that contain information about the whole system rather than the individual tweeters. But we need to do a little data mining to extract meaningful information about these states, to expose our collective states of mind.
(Sune Lehmann via Complexity and Social Networking Blog)
This poster summarizes the team’s findings thus far:
As part of the project, they created the following tvideo, documenting a 24-hour mood cycle on Twitter:
A wonderful translation of myriad data points into something insightful.