May 21, 2014

Want To Ease Traffic Congestion? Just Play Games!

Chutes and Ladders
Although seemingly counter-intuitive, a new game app developed by a Google Ventures-backed start-up can reduce traffic in busy transportation systems.

How? The app, a mobile version of the children's board game Chutes and Ladders, incentivizes people using transit systems to commute during less active hours, thus reducing congestion at traditionally brisk travel times. Users earn points when they commute during off-peak hours based on the time-stamp on their commuter cards, and those points can be redeemed for real prizes, including money or tickets to sporting events. Preliminary results showed as much as a 17% shift from peak to off-peak travel in heavily congested areas, including Singapore, Bangalore and California.

Would cash and prizes tempt you to show up to work at 10AM, instead of 8AM? You'd be able to earn money, sleep in and save the earth. Sounds like a win-win for everyone! (just make sure your boss is on board.)

To learn more about this inventive game app, read this article or visit Urban Engines.

Screenshot of the app


May 6, 2014

Playful Recycling

Can recycling be fun? The folks at the Coca-Cola Company seem to think so. To encourage recycling in parts of the world with little awareness of its benefits, Cola-Cola introduced an arcade game powered not by tokens nor money, but by plastic Coke bottles. Just pop an empty bottle into the uniquely designed slot and earn your chance to play the Pong-like game on the machine.


Known as the "Happiness Arcade," this game was on display in six different parts of Dhaka, Bangladesh over a six-day period. Watch the awesome reactions of some of the players in this video.


What do you think? Can playful recycling lead to broader awareness and higher rates of participation?

Jan 21, 2014

Augmented Reality Made Easier...With Contact Lenses

Wearable tech continues to make its way into our everyday lives. Technology developer Innovega recently debuted its latest iOptik product, which consists of modern-looking eye glasses and a pair of contact lenses, that allow the wearer to view not only their immediate surroundings but also their personal digital media.

iOptik glasses
Here's the twist: the wearer can use the special contact lenses just as they would any pair of contacts. They can place them in their eyes and their vision will be normal. It is only after the wearer dons the iOptik glasses that they will have a truly immersive, augmented reality experience with the iOptik system.

View of the world using the iOptik system
This article provides a great overview of this new technology.

Jan 16, 2014

World Exploration Becomes a Game


Created by an exclusive team at Google, Ingress is a game that gets you out of the house and into the world. This mobile app, driven by Google maps, encourages users to move through their own neighborhood or locale to play the game. The game directs players to find objects, capture territories and ally with others to complete required tasks. The Android version can be downloaded at the Google Play store, and the game will be available for iOS devices sometime this year. Learn more about it here.

Do you think the release of this game signals the beginning of a trend where more game developers seek to incorporate GPS-like systems into gameplay?

Jan 14, 2014

For Your Eyes Only

The idea of controlling a game using your eyes only has been around for awhile. Recently the companies Tobii and SteelSeries developed new, affordable game gear that uses eye tracking to make the game play experience more captivating. Learn more about it in this story.


It is worth noting that this device is actually a less expensive version of the excellent LC Technologies Eye Follower. The Tobii EyeX tool kit for developers is being sold for the low price of $95. 

Would you like to play a game using your eyes only? Just be sure to have some Visine on hand!

Dec 23, 2013

The Next Level of 3-D Motion Tracking Has Arrived

MIT has done it again. It's developed WiTrack, the newest generation of motion tracking. This technology uses a wireless network and radio waves to track a person's movement in a room. It can even see through walls, making its applications endless.

Check out the video. It's pretty amazing.


Dec 19, 2013

The Nose Knows

Think of it...a game that rewards you not only with points, but also with the smell of buttered popcorn! The company Pop Secret commissioned the creation of an iOS game called Poptopia that can be accompanied by a Pop Dongle, a device which emits the smell of buttered popcorn during game play. Apparently the smell becomes more intense the better the game is played.

Are we finally one step closer to smell-o-vision? You decide.

What do you call a group of Pop Dongles? A herd, a gaggle, a flock?