future now

there’s not much debate around the idea that technology portrayed in movies and tv shows has a strange way of becoming actualized. many a time, pop culture predicted the future. there was a mashable article not too long ago that threw us back to a few commercials that did exactly that. at&t saw the gps on the way in 1993 and apple knew touchscreens would be around in 1987.

while it’s pretty terrifying to think of Gravity or Avatar as omens for our future reality, the technology used in these movies can guide the way for the next round of programmers that roll through. think about it, some 13 yr old is sitting watching George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in space, they see some ridiculous holographic computer, and the next thing we know, we’re living in a world full of communication based on holograms.

as of right now, we’re not too far off. this morning, a Swiss UI company, dizmo, reached their goal on kickstarter to fund their new interactive user interface. any smartboard surface would facilitate the a pretty ridiculous digital experience. just like Tom Cruise in Minority Report or Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man, you can whip your files around, blow them up, spin them about, and swipe them away. sounds like the most natural way to let your files materialize before your eyes and save trees while you’re doing it. this new digital gizmo company is bringing Tony Stark’s lab to us.

the best part about all of this? give it a few years and anything like dizmo is going to be so casually the norm.

play more.

Makey-Makey

remember preschool when you would play with playdough and clay for hours on end? we would build creatures or make houses out of legos and then furnish them with playdough plates. those were the days. it’s throwback thursday, no? lets take it back to the simple times of making instruments with the help of Tony James and Vivian McLaughlin Bayubay from Out of the Box (easily one of my top 5 TV shows, right beside Rugrats and Hey Arnold). i might have been the only one who stayed at home with her grandma and made toy drums after preschool, but didn’t most of you play with pots and pans or something? well go back to that time, close your eyes, think it over. wherever i was when i was a kid, i was making the most intriguing stories or sounds or dances with the simplest things. between me and my sister, we didn’t need that much to keep ourselves entertained.

flash forward. now, we need everything there is to be entertained: ipads, ipods, kindles, and other weird gadgets. we need something that has a screen in order to pretend. well, a few days ago, i was looking around on Kickstarter and i saw something that is trying to take us back to the simpler moments: makey makey. this new fangled thing is a small little tape-like gadget that lets you hook anything up to a computer and make music with it. this past may, co-creator, Jay Silver, went on TED a little while ago and gave a great talk about makey makey. what makey makey does is it lets you attach alligator clips to literally any kind of object. in the video on kickstarter, they turn playdough into a game controler, use a drawing to play pacman, water buckets to play ddr, and make steps into piano keys. the guy even takes his family and turns them into a drum kit. it’s great. makey makey makes it easier to play more, something we should be doing anyway.

looking at the Kickstarter campaign, they made an absurd amount more than their goal, roughly 23 times more than they were asking. how were they so successful? well, lets think. they are presenting something entirely new that is completely out of the box yet enhances the experience we have on the daily (playing around). they also were able to build their presence on kickstarter, using all kinds of social media tricks to make sure their audience was engaged. and the main contibutor to their success is that they were on kickstarter to begin with. i’m new to the game, but it seems to me that in order to be successful, you have to be on the most prominent social media networks: you have to fish where the fish are. many kickstarter campaigns start every day, but the ones that make it are the ones whose audience is already there. this is a product that is designed for the kind of person who would be creating new things. kickstarter is the place where young creators cater to young creators and get the attention of the big fish. with backers, you already have a network of people who are willing to buy the product. once makey makey got their first try, they made more. they did a luanch-listen-relaunch kind of deal. they got it out there and realized it needed to be shifted, and they realized they also had enough backing to shift it. so they did. then they did it again. now they’re still on kickstarter, even though their campaign is over. i found them on kickstarter after the campaign, and i’m guessing i’m not the only one. when it comes to creating, there’s no better audience than those that think and act just like you do.