GE’s Facebook Air Show Features 3D Printed Planes

GE Airshow - Maketbot 3D PrintingEach year since 1970 the Wisconsin town of Oshkosh has served as host for the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) AirVenture, America’s largest gathering of aviation enthiusiasts and aircraft.

This year’s EAA AirVenture took place July 25 to 31, however sponsor GE is hosting their own unique version of an Air Show on their Facebook page.

They’ve even asked their fans to request what type of aircraft they want to see at the air show. Their fans have responded, requesting everything from a flying saucer to the plane of the Red Baron. To bring the air show to life GE partnered with agency Evolution Bureau to actually create the various aircraft using a MakerBot Thing-o-matic 3D printer.

The Makerbot Thing-o-Matic uses a form of additive manufacturing creating a three dimensional object from a CAD file laying down successive layers of material with each pass. We had one of these machines in our boardroom for a Lunch & Learn session back in the spring and it was amazing to watch it build an object right before our eyes.

The videos that Evolution Bureau produced for the GE Air Show look like everyone had loads of fun playing with the toy planes. I love seeing the green spaceship life-off with the cotton batting trailing behind it looking like smoke. I can’t wait to see the collection of helicopters coming up next week.

Aug 4: Lift Off: Flying Saucer, B-2 Spirit & one of those planes that land on water
Aug 18: The Final Frontier: Spaceships!
Aug 25: P-51 Mustang, B-17 Flying Fortress and the Red Baron

Exploring the Cosmos With Bjork’s Biophilia App

Bjork - BiophiliaWhether you enjoy Bjork’s music or not, you do have to appreciate her creative ambitions and refusal to follow the tried and true. And please shut the hell up about the swan dress, that was nearly 10 years ago. Musically though, I’m still partial to Bjork’s earlier solo albums like Post and Homogenic and Vespertine, but her more recent experimental projects like Medúlla and Volta still hold a spot in my music library.

Back in June I posted that Bjork was set to release her new project, album, collection (what the heck do you call these things anyway?) Biophilia as 10 iPad apps within a mother app.

On June 19, the Biophilia mother app was released in the App Store. The opening interface works as a 3-dimensional view of the a Bjork cosmos. Each of the 10 tracks appears within that cosmos and can be found by swiping and rotating the 3D constellations.

The Biophilia app can be downloaded for free and comes with the ‘Cosmogong’ installed. The app features an animated introduction to the concept of Biophilia featuring the voice of David Attenborough. This track explores creation myths and explains that the big bang theory may be this civilization’s creation story. This might be more fun if you could dance to it.

Previews of the track Crystalline have been played on the web for a few weeks now, and now it appears here as the first app/track for in-app purchase. Crystalline can be played as a scrolling interactive stream or as a game, collecting crystals as the user navigates through 3D tunnels by tilting the iPad.

It should be interesting to see the creativity that Bjork and her creative team explore in the other 8 apps. If you’re a Bjork fan without an iPad, don’t fret. The songs will be released as a traditional digital and physical album on September 27th.

The Biophilia app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App store, each of the tracks, or individual apps can be downloaded for $1.99 as they become available.

Biophilia was designed by MSM (Paris) and produced and engineered by Scott Snibbe Studio.

What’s Spinning Over at Turntable.fm

turntable.fmTurntable.fm is definitely one of the hottest and most discussed startups around right now, but can it survive it’s own popularity. The co-founders behind Turntable.fm, Billy Chasen and Seth Golstein were previously focused StickyBits, a service that allowed users to create barcodes that when scanned would link to a user’s stories or contact information.

So, what is Turntable.fm?

Turntable.fm has only been open to the public since May and had amassed 140,000 users in it’s first month and it’s been reported that there are 300,000+ users now. It’s basically a browser-based chatroom featuring up to 5 DJs that rotate their music choices for the audience of avatars. The audience votes whether the DJ’s music choice is ‘Lame’ or ‘Awesome’ and points are awarded. Listeners can choose to follow a DJ and add the current song to their DJ queue. All listeners can be DJs, they can be invited by the moderator of a room or they create a room on their own and invite their friends.

The first time I saw Turntable.fm, I was immediately reminded of the dance parties in SecondLife. The region’s owner would stream music from their desktop as dozens of SecondLife avatars grooved and chatted publicly and privately alongwith the tunes.

Over the past few weeks Turntable.fm has seen artists like Talib Kweli and Diplo drop by to DJ and show off new tracks. Ra Ra Riot leadman Matthew Santos recently premiered his new solo album ‘Massachusetts 2010 to a room of listeners.

The site features MediaNet’s library of more than 11 million tracks, and anything that is missing can be uploaded by a user and added to their DJ queue. User’s can purchase tracks by clicking through to iTunes.

Unfortunately access to Turntable.fm was shut off in late June for users outside of the U.S. due to music licensing issues. Whether this is resolved quickly, no one knows and it’s probably not even a priority for the company at this time. Afterall Pandora has been blocked since 2007.

If you do get a chance to use the site, Chicago blogger Daniel Honigman has put together a helpful list of Turntable.fm etiquette.

ToyToyota’s Backseat Driver Turns Every Car Trip Into a Game



ToyToyota iPhone AppI’m typically the guy that always calls “shotgun”, but if I had a fun iPhone app like this I would be calling “backseat driver way more often. This app allows kids (and people like me) to sit back and truly enjoy the ride from the back seat.

In the Backseat Driver iPhone game from Toyota’s newly launched ToyToyota division the player follows along behind the “Papa Car” (that’s what they call it) which uses GPS to mirror the route that the real car is travelling. The player can steer the Game Car along the route to pick up objects that the guide car drops, as well as icons representing the stores and facilities that exist along the real life route.

The objects that are captured are worth points than can be exchanged later to customize the player’s car. The route and the game car design can then be shared over Twitter.

The app was created by Tokyo/NYC creative super-shop Party, which were featured in Fast Co Design back in June.

Spotify Finally Set to Launch in the US (but not Canada)

Spotify in the USUS music fans are finally set to get their crack at using Spotify tomorrow. The launch has been rumoured as far back as two years ago when I was first granted a handful of press invites for myself and my music fan friends. Over that time we’ve run the desktop version through its paces, accessing the expansive library, creating shared playlists and providing the block rockin’ beats for two raucous Delvinia holiday parties.

According to an article published todays on GigaOm, Spotify will be offered in the U.S. in three subscription models: A free ad-supported service, a basic $5 per month subscription, and a premium subscription service for $10 a month which allows access via a mobile app, higher audio quality and access to exclusive content. You can head over to the landing page now and signup for an invite for Spotify as soon as it becomes available.

In the two and a half years since Spotify first launched in October 2008, several other competitors have emerged in the US such as Rdio and MOG, and services such as Last.fm, Grooveshark and Pandora have established themselves. Is there room left for another music service amongst music fans, or is Spotify simply a tech curiousity?

Below are a few screenshots of the Spotify application.

What’s New: this is the home screen showing which new albums or tracks have been recently added to the service, as well as a feed of news. This view also hosts popular playlists and a Feed of music that has been played by a user’s friends recently.

Radio View: Similar to Pandora, the radio functions allow a user to create a stream based on genres and decades.

Album View / Playlist View: Shuffle and repeat are available at the bottom of the screen as well as the audio controls. Tracks can be selected for a new playlist or dragged to an existing ones. Right clicking allows a user to grab the HTTP link, Spotify URI or simply share the track with another Spotify user.

Local Files: A user can mix and match your own locally stored music files with tracks from Spotify to create playlists.

Spotify Screenshots

Now, what’s this thing about not coming to Canada?

What’s New in QR Codes Around Toronto

QR Codes
The debate over QR code usage rages on, depending on who you read they are denounced as a wasted effort or a revolution in marketing. The fact is they are neither. QR codes are simply a trigger to activate a mobile experience, and most marketing efforts are not taking advantage of that fact. They are simply slapping them on ads and posters and directing users to their standard website (or social profiles) with little explanation or added value. This lack of understanding the mobile experience will not bode well when newer mobile trigger technologies such as NFC, image recognition or geofencing become common.

From top left: here are six examples of QR codes that have been spotted in the Toronto area during the past couple of weeks.

Z-teca Burritos

  • Location: The front counter where customers order. This may be a great spot to highlight the special, but not for someone to hold up the line while scanning the code.
  • Call to action: None. The QR code is located right next to ‘Add a Bottle of Water’ special. The person with me had assumed the code had something to do with special.
  • Mobile friendly destination: Yes, resolves to Z-teca’s mobile site with links to Facebook and Twitter.
  • QR code provider: QRT7
  • Review: It seems unnecessary, there’s no specific motivation or instructions to scan this link.

Cultures

  • Location: Poster on Go Train
  • Call to action: Check here for specials
  • Mobile friendly destination: Sort of. The scan resolves to web page featuring the current special, but it’s not optimized for mobile.
  • QR code provider: Undetermined
  • Review: It does link to a current special. The call to action needs to be stronger, such as “Scan this code for today’s specials”.

Luminato

  • Location: Large Poster near the event and the cover of the festival Brochure
  • Call to action: Download the Luminato mobile app. With a URL to download Scanlife app.
  • Mobile friendly destination: Yes, with a one tap link to the iPhone App store.
  • QR code provider: ScanLife
  • Review: This is a good use of a QR Code, providing festival attendees with quick access to their mobile app.

Courvoisier Collective

  • Location: TTC Transit Shelter
  • Call to action: None, but customized code seems at least 3 feet square and dominates the creative
  • Mobile friendly destination: No, the link resolves to the standard web site for the Courvoisier Collective project.
  • QR code provider: Undetermined
  • Review: This should have linked to a mobile friendly html page. The standard page takes too long to load, and when it does the user has to spend too much time finding their way around for any information.

Honda Indy Toronto

  • Location: Poster on GO Train
  • Call to action: Scan for more info
  • Mobile friendly destination: No, but it does at least go directly to the Events page.
  • QR code provider: Undetermined
  • Review: This was the most disappointing of the 6. The Honda Indy will be attended by tens of thousands of race fans all armed with mobile phones. There really should be a mobile-friendly experience available before, during and after the event.

Ontario Beer Week

  • Location: Beer coaster included in Beau’s beer packaging
  • Call to action: Nothing specific to the scan. The copy reads ‘Discover the Difference’ and then lists the ocbweek.ca URL
  • Mobile friendly destination: Yes, resolves to a mobile page with links to Facebook events, YouTube channel, Twitter feed and Foursquare. (Foursquare link didn’t work for me)
  • QR code provider: Undetermined
  • Review: My expectations were low, so I wasn’t disappointed when all I saw was links to their social sites, including a helpful list of events on their Facebook page. At least the beer was good.

Have you seen any great or ‘not so great’ examples of QR codes in your daily travels.

Audi USA Facebook Page Reveals Exclusive Content Based on Klout Score

Audi USA Klout
This execution launched today on Audi USA’s Facebook page is sure to create more debate on whether a user’s Klout score should be used as a measure of influence. Audi USA is the first Facebook page to make use of a new application from Involver called Klout Coupons. When a user clicks to share their Klout score, the Facebook page reveals additional content based on their score, in this case a desktop wallpaper image of one their R18 TDI Le Mans prototypes.

We’ve seen several examples recently of so-called ‘Like-Gates’. A Facebook page will require a certain number of new ‘Likes’ to unlock music tracks, special episodes or preview trailers. This I believe is the first time that some measure of influence has been used to unlock content.

What are your thoughts? Do examples like this help to lend credibility to influencer scores and Klout in particular?

Audi Streams Video & Telemetry from 24 Hours of Le Mans

Audi 24 Hours of Le Mans

The world’s toughtest endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, takes place this weekend, and Audi Sport will be hosting their own broadcast on the Audi Live Racing website.

The site features live streaming video from cameras inside (top screenshot) and on top of each of the three R18 TDI team cars.

In addition to the video feeds, race fans can view live telemetry (second screenshot) including speed, rpm, g-force and gear selection as they view the car’s position on the track and lap times.

5-time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro is providing ongoing race reports and analysis via Audi Sport’s Twitter and Facebook page.

An image feed is available on the Audi USA’s Flickr account and live race commentary from Le Mans radio is available.

Race Update @ 12 Hours

The No.2 Audi Sport Team Joest of Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer is maintaining a lead of the No. 9 Peugeot.

Unfortunately the other two Audi Sport teams are out of the race due to accidents during the first six hours of the race, including the frightening crash of two-time Le Mans winner Alan McNish.

Race Report @ 24 Hours

The No.2 Audi Sport Team Joest of Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer wins by holding off  three factory Peugeot Teams.

 

 

Is Google’s Les Paul Doodle the Best Ever?

Google Doodle - Les PaulThe Google logo doodles have come a long way since the first one appeared August, 1998 as a tribute to the Burning Man Festival.

While most Google doodles are simply static images, others like the Martha Graham birthday animation and the playable Pac-man game take the art to a higher level.

The Google doodle posted June 9 was tribute to the Les Paul, the American guitar pioneer who would have been 96 on that day. The logo was a playable guitar that visitors could strum and even record. The guitar logo proved to be so popular that Google kept it on the American home page for an extra day before moving it to a permanent home.

What’s your favorite Google doodle? You can view them all here.

Hey Toronto & Montreal, It’s OK to Cheat on Your City

The Cheating Wall‘The Cheating Wall’ located at the TIFF Lightbox is allowing Toronto pedestrians walking on King Street West to catch a live video glimpse the action on Maisoneuve Boulevard in Montreal. It’s certainly a fun way to create curiosity and encourage folks to visit each other cities.

The message on the wall reads, “It’s OK to cheat on your city. Pay Montreal a visit live, right here”. Torontonians can not only get a peek at Montreal, but they can join in daily events including a lunchtime dance-off, a long distance dinner party and even a 505km fashion runway event.

A full schedule of events can be found at the Visit Toronto Facebook page. It’s unfortunate that’s it’s so tough to see anything in the window during the day, but the video is running 24/7 until June 15th, so there’s a lot of opportunity for some fun interaction between people in both cities after dark.

Creative for the Cheating Wall came via the Toronto offices of Crsipin Porter + Bogusky’s Toronto office, with Smak doing street-level promotion and Monster Media handling the technology.

If you’re curious about the QR code in the image. I can confirm that it quickly and efficiently loads a schedule of the daily events.