Monday, November 14, 2011

Pepsi - The Sound Of Football

Technology spurs creativity, creativity spurs technology.  We hear that all the time & the fact is that great things can happen at the intersection of the two.  Such is the case with The Sound Of Football, the latest initiative that's part of the Pepsi Refresh project (the much discussed worldwide social initiative that encourages and funds innovative ideas).  The Sound Of Football is the result of a collaboration between Akestam Holst, Society46, & Tracab and combines real-time tracking technology with 3D sound to invent a new way for visually impaired people to play football.  A bit of background:

Today, blind football is played with bells in the ball and on the player’s legs. The goalkeeper can see and shout out instructions to the other players on the pitch - a relatively basic method with obvious limitations. The basis for the solution in The Sound of Football was found in military tracking technology.
With the technology, you can track the position of all players, the ball, the goals and other things on the football pitch in real time. All coordinates are passed on to each player through an iPhone app and the information is converted to 3D sound. Each player will hear different sounds depending on where they are on the pitch and if, for instance, the ball, a player, sideline or goal is nearby.

Akestam Holst then arranged a football match between a team of visually impaired players and a team of former professional footballers. The goal was to see how the teams performed under equal conditions, in a match where no one can see.  Using the tracking technology in conjunction with a specialized iPhone app, iPhones were mounted to the head of each player along with blackout googles for the sighted players to level the playing field.  The app then feeds stereo audio cues as to where other players, the ball, and the goals are.  See the demo below in terms of how the audio aspect works (note, headphones recommended).

This technology isn't just for footballers & Aksetam Holst has already been exploring whether the same technology can help visually impaired people in large public spaces such as train stations.  The ultimate goal is to create a pervasive technology that allows visually impaired people to "see" with sound.  The general public are also encouraged to submit ideas of what can be done with the technology via the Sound Of Football website.

Regardless, it's worth heading over to the Sound Of Football Youtube channelwebsite or Facebook page to see more about the project and additional videos from the people involved in the creation and execution of the project as well as the footballers involved (both sighted and visually impaired).

Supporting Articles: Fast Company | Contagious | Popsop

Playstation - Here's To Gamers

About a month ago, Deutsch LA released a beautiful 2-minute spot for Playstation, Long Live Play featuring various video game characters saluting fictional gamer Michael (see the video here). The latest work, Here's To Gamers, takes that idea a step further and salutes actual gamers on the Playstation network.  Sony Playstation's answer to the Old Spice guy, Kevin Butler, VP of random fake divisions, is calling out their achievements (or spectacular failures) on the Kevin Butler Youtube channel & the Hall Of Play Facebook page.  In total 19 videos will be produced (about 10 have been released so far), each saluting a specific gamer & showcasing their gameplay in the background.  They're pretty damn entertaining & it's inevitable that they'll be compared to Old Spice (which begs the question, is there any campaign featuring personalized video responses that won't harken back to Old Spice?).

Bearing in mind the horrible press (not to mention actual execution) for Sony throughout the Playstation network hacking debacle, you can imagine the challenge in enticing gamers back to the platform.  Creating something personalized for their hardcore fans is a nice step in giving back to the community that made the platform such a success in the first place.  See my favorite spots so far in the videos above and below.  See more on the Here's To Gamers Youtube channel.

Supporting Articles: AdFreak | AgencySpy

Asics - Run With Ryan

I was back in NYC last weekend, which also happened to be the same weekend as the New York marathon.  While taking the subway, I came across this installation in Columbus Circle by Asics.  Ever think about just how fast the pace of professional marathon runner is over the course of 26 miles?  It's ridiculous, something like 4:45 per mile for 26 MILES!  Just insanely fast.  The Asics installation brought that idea to life by featuring a 60-foot long video wall that invited the public to race along with professional marathoner Ryan Hall.  The challenge: see if you can keep pace with him for just 60 feet.  The installation, developed by Vitro, featured a continuous loop of a countdown seguing into a 60-foot sprint along the video wall by Hall.  Check it out in the above video.

On a completely separate note, check out Christoph Niemann's live sketching/tweeting of his running of the New York marathon, 26.2 miles, 46 sketches.  Just delightful.  Check it out here.

Supporting Articles: CreativityDigital Buzz Blog | Brand Channel

Playstation - Grab The Ring

Remember The Peugeot Take The Car Challenge from a few months ago?  Well Playstation (I know, I know, Playstation heavy this week right?) is using a similar mechanic to promote the release of the game Uncharted 3.  All you have to do is hold your arm up longer than anyone else.  The Grab The Ring challenge activates the webcam and asks users to hold onto the ring as long as possible for the chance to win $500 daily or the $10,000 Grand Prize:
  • To win, grab the ring and hold completely still for as long as possible.
  • After three mistakes your game is over.
  • The person who holds it the longest each day wins $500.
  • After 14 days, the person with best overall time wins the $10,000 Grand Prize.
Such a simple game mechanic, but nice to see the webcam integration provide a physical aspect and bring it closer to things work in the real-world.  Check out some of an example video from a gamer who's been taking part in the challenge:

BTW - The current leader 21+ HOURS...that's dedication.

Supporting Articles: Geek | Digital Buzz Blog

Nike - Shine (#BasketballNeverStops)

While the NBA lockout continues, Nike has been active in a social media campaign around the tagline 'Basketball Never Stops,' which includes a series of videos, Facebook page, and twitter hashtag.  With shoe manufacturers and retailers expected to lose up to $500 million if the lockout lasts all season, it's nice to see Nike continuing to drive interest and remind us fans why we love the game.  The spot from Weiden + Kennedy is simply awesome.  See above.

Supporting Articles: Inspiration Room | Brand Channel