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Advertisement shown only to women April 1, 2012

Filed under: Other — Emily Wagner @ 8:57 pm

We’ve been talking in class a lot lately about how recent media developments have created huge opportunities for advertisements.  I was reading the news and came across a story that I thought was an interesting example of this.

There is a new interactive outdoor advertisement at a bus stop on Oxford Street in London.  The ad has a high definition camera that scans the faces of people at the bus stop and determines if they’re male or female.  It does this by measuring the distance between the eyes, the width of the nose, length of jaw line and shape of cheekbone.  The technology has a 90% accuracy rate.

The aim of the ad is to show a 40-second advertisement to only women and girls.  The ad was purchased for 30,000 pounds by Plan UK a not for profit organization that works “with the world’s poorest children so they can move themselves from a life of poverty to a future with opportunity.”  If the camera scans a male, the screen will direct him to Plan UK’s website instead of showing the 40-second clip.

The full advertisement shows three 13 year old girls from the UK, Mali and Thailand talking about their lives.  The ad highlights the    issues of women and girls in developing countries who face poverty and discrimination.  Marie Staunton, chief executive of Plan UK says the purpose of showing this ad only to women was to show men “a glimpse of what it’s like to have basic choices taken away.”

None of the data gathered is stored, the charity assured.  The ad will show for two weeks and Plan UK hopes to raise 250,000 pounds over four months to provide access to education for girls from poor families.

I think that this is an interesting and clever new form of advertising.  This is a way for the advertisement to not only show their cause about gender discrimination but also to demonstrate it.  Not only will this ad work in the traditional way of attracting attention by people waiting for the bus, but it is attracting attention by the news.  News sites are reporting about the technology and the new idea of showing the advertisement to a select group only.  Advertising on the internet can very easily only show their ads to a preferred demographic but this hasn’t been seen in outdoor ads.  I think that this was a creative way to prove a point and to get more people to talk about the charity and spread the ideas of Plan UK through word of mouth.

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Singing with your hands March 26, 2012

Filed under: Other — Emily Wagner @ 11:30 pm

Yamaha has developed a new keyboard that allows musicians to sing without opening their mouths.  A new solution for the musically inclined who have not mastered the art of singing, this keyboard prototype has users input lyrics with the left hand, and music with the right.

The current commercial version of Vocaloid 3 requires users to input music and lyrics on a PC prior to performance.  With this new keyboard, a live singing synthesizer is an option.

The Vocaloid keyboard prototype is manufactured for Japanese users.  There are 16 buttons for inputting consonants, vowels, and two types of voicing marks used in the Japanese written language with the left hand.  There are then keys of a piano to the right. The entered text is displayed by an LED display above the keys to allow the content to be checked.  There are also three knobs to the left of the display to adjust the vocal sound.

A Yamaha spokesman says that the keyboard is not only great for live performance but also may be easier for those able to play a keyboard who are not comfortable with the current Vocaloid computer software.

A concern might be the difficulty of playing the keyboard.  Typing lyrics as you’re playing the music seems overwhelming.  The Yamaha spokesman also said that several keyboard players evaluating the system were able to perform simple nursery rhymes after about three hours.

Currently, Yamaha has no plans to release the Vocaloid commercially but says that the device’s sound chip can be provided to other companies who are interested in pursuing it.

I think that this is an extremely interesting piece of technology with great potential.  I don’t think that synthetic singing will ever be as good as a great live singer but this could be a cool way for people to get their songs out there if they’re not comfortable singing.  This would also be a great way for songwriters to present their songs to singers who want to perform them.

Here is a video of the Vocaloid keyboard in action:

 

Google Glasses February 26, 2012

Filed under: Other — Emily Wagner @ 4:48 pm

This post is admittedly veering away from this blog’s typical range of topics. However, I was surfing the web and found something really interesting concerning new media frontiers and thought I’d share.  Just think of it as something you could potentially buy online in the future–maybe by the end of this year??

What I’m talking about is Google glasses.  A number of anonymous Google employees have reported that the company is currently developing Android-powered glasses.  The glasses will supposedly resemble a design similar to the Oakley Thumps (below) but with a few extra buttons on the sides.

.So why is this cool?  Using wireless connection or 3G/4G connections, these glasses will tap into Google’s cloud and inform the user on their environment, including locations or friends nearby, and objects that they look at.  These glasses will also work as a smartphone, with the ability to make calls, use certain apps, and connect with friends.  Using GPS and motion sensors these glasses will be able to provide real time information on user’s location.

The glasses will feature a low-resolution camera on the front for gathering information to relay to a small screen built into one side of the lenses. You will not be able to see through this screen but it will be located to the side so your vision will not be obscured.  This camera will also be able to take pictures and will include a built-in flash.

One Google employee said the glasses would tap into a number of Google software products that are currently available and in use today, but will display the information in an augmented reality view, rather than as a Web browser page like those that people see on smartphones.

When I first read this, I was confused about how the glasses would work.  What I’ve gathered is that as you’re reading through the information you will have to tilt your head to scroll and click.  I’m not exactly sure how or what that means but sources at Google have noted that this function is a lot eaiser to use than it sounds and that these movements will hardly be noticable to others.  That’s comforting to hear but I’m a little doubtful that random jerks of the head will not seem like odd behavior.

Unnamed employees told the New York Times that the new Google glasses are expected to be priced much like a current smartphone (around $250-$600) and are aimed for a 2012 release date.

This post reminds me of Lauren’s post iContacts.  Instead of contacts these are glasses and seem to be almost done with their design period.  Something that immediately came to mind was how little I’d have to carry around if these became successful.  Years ago, before leaving the house people would have to grab their cell phones, mp3 players, and planners.  These days the only thing I ever have to carry with me is my iphone.  Maybe one day people would only have to carry their glasses.

Personally, I think that these glasses seem really cool.  I’m still a little confused about how easy they will be to use and I’m not aware of all of their functions.  I’m excited to see what becomes of them if Google does release them by the end of the year.