Monthly trends report: June


With new technologies coming to the forefront, we’re seeing more brands and start-ups challenging the way we interact with traditional formats. Our interaction with technology is no longer limited to mobile phones, tablets and computers. It’s now becoming more apparent than ever before that any object has potential to become a usable, interactive interface for technology and branded experiences.

This month, we’ve seen car windows turn into 3D screens, we’ve seen skin turn into a control panel for lamps and music players, we’ve seen roads turn smart, and we’ve even seen traditional theatre and plays go virtual. Below are my top picks for the month (and maybe next month you won’t even be reading this on a traditional screen!)


Ford create a window to help the blind ‘see’

What is it?

Ford have developed a prototype smart car window that lets blind people ‘see’ the passing landscape. The “Feel the View” prototype takes a picture of the landscape using an external camera and turns them into high-contrast greyscale images. These images are reproduced on the glass using special LEDs. When a passenger touches the image, the different shades of grey vibrate with a range of 255 intensities.

What can we learn from this?

Brands are really starting to focus on accessibility and visualise what a branded experience could look like for someone with a disability. Technology allows brands to be more creative and more innovative to create truly create truly unique brand experiences unlike any other.

Source: Fortune


Saarland University create multi-touch skin

What is it?

Researchers at Saarland University have created a material that can be inkjet printed onto a plastic sticker that is capable of registering touch from multiple points at once, just like a phone or tablet. So far, researchers have created four different skin interfaces: a bracelet that can manage an LED lamp, a behind-the-ear sticker that controls a music player, a forearm sticker that can send messages and a palm sticker to take a phone call.

What can we learn from this?

As technology becomes more advanced and streamlined, interfaces will get much smaller, more intelligent, and more integrated with the human body. Brand experiences will have to change to keep pace with ever-changing technological and consumer behaviours.

Source: Saarland University


Integrated Roadways detail the road of the future

What is it?

Kansas City start-up Integrated Roadways have released details about the road of the future. Their ‘smart pavement’ vision promises to make roadways safer by equipping the road itself with smart technology. The smart roads would be able to detect the location of vehicles and know how fast they’re going. They could also call first responders to the site of an accident and collect real-time data on road conditions and congestion.

What can we learn from this?

With smarter, more versatile technology, our everyday environment is becoming more intelligent and more immersive. The addition of smart technologies to roads and pavements has the potential to completely revolutionise not only the automotive industry, but also how we use public transport.

Source: Futurism


Max Planck Institute create personality-detecting artificial intelligence

What is it?

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for informatics have created an artificial intelligence that is able to predict a person’s personality type by looking into their eyes. The way which we move our eyes can predict elements of our personality, and the technology uses an eye tracker and artificial intelligence to measure these saccades and predict where each participant lies on the OCEAN personality scale.

What can we learn from this?

With new technologies coming to the forefront which help us understand our customers on a deeper level, artificial intelligence technology has the potential to allow brands to engage and respond to users’ reactions online.

Source: Digital Trends


Oculus create virtual theatre experiences

What is it?

Oculus have announced a new concept format for immersive theatre. The new experience will allow users to experience virtual worlds whilst interacting with live actors to ensure guests always have the best view in the house; users will be able to interact with the play without even stepping on stage.

What can we learn from this?

Virtual reality creates opportunities for brands to create truly immersive, engaging and memorable brand experiences and is disrupting even the most traditional of industries.

Source: Engadget

Katherine Calderbank