Anyone who has listened to American children reveling in their accomplishments at Minecraft knows that the digital world has melded with the physical world in ways big and small. Of course, American youth who brag about video games have nothing on their counterparts in South Korea, where people pay to watch players battle at Starcraft and a couple of dozen other games. Fights have broken out over broadcast rights to these competitions, which are sanctioned by the Korean e_sports Association. Bookies even take bets on the outcome (leading to rigging of games, as the real world infiltrates the digital one). Who could resist the chance to play games using the Kiss Controller? A clever South Korean graduate student at Georgia Tech designed this device, which puts new meaning into the idea of the joystick. (The video below suggests that the Kiss Controller focuses users on the wrong kind of score.)
South Korea is also home to what is being called the world’s first building inspired by Twitter, the Cross # Towers, an apartment building proposed in Seoul and purported to be modeled after Twitter’s ubiquitous hash tag. Honestly, we think the design’s more hash than hash tag. But we do like the thinking of Danish design firm BIG, which says that the cross bars will feature rooftop gardens and play areas, social mediums of the physical sort. Dezeen noted this comment from BIG’s head:
The typical tower inherently removes life from the city it occupies. Circulation is linear and social interactions occur only in lobbies or awkward elevator rides. We propose a building that triples the amount of ground floor – triples the amount of social interaction and reintroduces the idea of neighborhood within the tower complex.
Hang it up
In Romania, two fortune-tellers were found to have used technology to try to bridge their crystal balls to the Great Beyond. These two women “enhanced” their fortune-telling skills by using a variety of electronic methods to gather information about clients, including “Googling them, looking at social network sites, tapping phone calls and using hidden cameras.”
They were good enough that they were able to convince some people that they could talk to the dead, and fight off evil spirits. The Austrian Times reported that eventually they were caught, in part because they bribed a police inspector who was under surveillance himself. Obviously, their fortune-telling skills were lacking when they tried that one.
Finally, there have been a number of initiatives to meld real-world and online shopping, most of them clumsy. The latest: Brazilian retailer C & A is bringing Facebook to its hangers. The retailer is using hangers with built-in LED displays that map to items on its Facebook page. You can see how many people have liked the item there, apparently in real-time. You do not, however, get to see who dislikes the item. No word on how long will it be before you can use Facebook to do something useful, like ask your friends “does this dress make my butt look big?”
Check out the idea in the video below: