I believe this is the third time the cool crew at Engadget has reviewed one of our fun interactive inventions. Hope to hit a couple of dozen articles by 2011 but until then jump on over to Engadget to see what they have to say about us.

Kinect hackers give us iOS-friendly dodgeball and Human Tetris

 

One of our senior innovation engineers, that is what us salespeople call the engineers, just published a fantastic video of the group’s latest technical conquests. After hours of usability “research” these guys were able to connect their android and ipad devices to our gaming computer running the Kinect sensor. Once connected they are able to aim and throw balls at the dodgeball player. None of us could remember the official dodgeball rules so the engineers took it upon themselves to experiment a bit before coming up with the final rules for this fun and engaging gesture based twist of a classic.

From an engineering standpoint this is a great accomplishment because it demonstrates our ability to build games and experiences that are easy for passerby to partake in, using their motions, gestures, existing devices or “cheap” devices handed out to the crowd.

Unity3D, PrimeSense, a Kinect sensor, android, iOS and some networking magic were the ingredients for this wonderful demo.

Fun ideas for this solution include: new controllers for digital signage, crowd-controlled games, enhanced presentations through easy audience participation. Watch the video and let us know what we should try to do next.

 

We’ve all seen them before. It ranges from the random gooey thing on the kitchen counter to the more recent creature dancing inside a Tupperware container to Jackie Wilson on Ghostbusters II. Ok, maybe not so recent. Regardless, I’m referring to blobs. We here at Supertouch use blobs in our day-to-day activities. But not the type of blobs I mentioned above. I’m talking about the kind of blobs a computer sees.

For instance, wonder how some of that cool Augmented Reality (AR) technology works? First, a camera takes a “picture” of you. However, a regular color picture means nothing to the computer. It does not perceive the world the way we do. A computer needs to take that color picture and turn it into something that’s essentially black, white, confusing, and bloblicious. This may be confusing to us, but perfectly understandable by a computer. By taking a lot of these “pictures” and making them appear as black and white blobs the computer can then track this magnificent specimen over time. Check out this wikipedia entry for more information about blobs.

In the example above we see that the images have been taken from the camera and have been filtered and formed into appropriate blobs to distinguish the face and both hands (as shown in the middle column). In the far right the software creates the blobs as markers that help us “augment” items on real-time video.  Thus, AR is born.

This example creates a blob which represents the location of the person’s face (not shown). The location is then translated to the actual video to augment a mask on the person as displayed above. This creates a fun and immersive experience for the user.

Blob tracking has a variety of applications and I’m just scratching the surface. If you would like to see how you can use blob tracking in your next big idea let us know. We’d be glad to help you out.

 

CEIR published an interesting summary of a 10-year study entitled An Analysis of Changes in the Key Factors Affecting Exhibit Recall in the Last Decade and I wanted to shed some light on how this study reinforces our view that booths need interactivity, social media and a consistent communications strategy to be effective. .


As you can see Presentation and Booth Personnel are fairly high responses to why a booth was remembered. I am not too surprised as in 2010 the booths that leveraged our Brand Ambassadors capabilities had much higher attendee per square foot rates. Having said that I was surprised that swag (Giveaways/samples) was lower than stage/theater presentation as a remembrance reason. Since we specialize in the Stage/Theater Presentation category this was a nice surprise.

“However, research has shown that stage/theater presentations are effective at drawing audiences and communicating specific messages. Oftentimes, their effectiveness is negated by the lack of engagement on the part of the booth staff. The two have to work in tandem to create maximum impact.”

Even more evidence to explicitly train all staff participating in the booth and exhibit experience. So often the idea of who is going to work the booth is an afterthought. We work hard to reinforce the idea that your staff needs to be trained on messaging, processes, lead capture and also the purpose and capability of the technology. A booth person saying “Check out this cool thingy” rather than “Have you seen this analytics application we created to help you realize how our product can help” or some such topical comment, diminishes the value and work put towards the exhibit.

“Over the years, prior studies have shown that those exhibits with high, face-to-face engagement have stronger performance scores.”

Hmm, this further underscores how important a good engagement strategy is while also reinforcing the benefits of an intelligent interactive exhibit. How does an interactive exhibit contribute to the face-face engagement you ask? Well…

Booths need a lure to catch passerby and increase dwell time thereby increasing the opportunity for a Brand Ambassador to engage the person. Interactive exhibits can help make your booth “sticky” and reduce the risk of people walking away without receiving the very important face-face engagement. Thus an intelligent, attractive stage/theater concept will help increase your opportunity to provide a pleasant face-to-face engagement.

“Another contribution to booth recall is the use of social media by exhibitors. When it comes to a booth engagement experience, Twitter offers immediacy to reinforce a recent booth encounter, and both Twitter and Facebook can archive messages for recall later. While no metrics exist yet on social media as factors enhancing booth memorability, the potential certainly exists and it is expected that these metrics will be forthcoming in the near future. Due diligence for exhibitors would be to stay abreast and keep pulse on these and other emergent trends affecting booth recall.”

Social media is an increasingly important aspect of any communications endeavor and needs to be taken into consideration. We actually baked social network middleware and connectivity into most of the interactive exhibits we created Q4 of 2010. Thankfully, we designed those as reusable components to support new concepts such as product check-ins, booth check-ins and location check-ins. 2011 will certainly be the year of merging OOH and social networks so it is refreshing to see the study support what we have learned and practiced.

In summary: 1) Plan for and train your exhibit/booth personnel on how to engage visitors 2) Design something to catch and keep passerby 3) Implement a social network solution, if appropriate.

Overall the study is a great read and anybody pursuing a trade show strategy should read it and apply its findings. You can find the full study here

 
Supertouch Interactive

Supertouch Group Inc.
611 Broadway, 819
New York, New York 10011
212-995-8553