YouTube Goes 3D

We could all be digging out those 3D glasses if YouTube’s latest tech takes off.

Remember these?

As a motivation technique (usually called Innovation Time Off), all Google engineers are encouraged to spend 20% of their work time (one day per week) on projects that interest them.
One Googler, ‘Pete’, spends his 20% working on a new function of YouTube that will allow 3D video playback.

Users can see his early work by tagging their videos with the code yt3d:enable=true. The result to the viewer is that your videos will play back in a special stereoscopic video player:

Stereoscopy, stereoscopic imaging or 3-D (three-dimensional) imaging is any technique capable of recording three-dimensional visual information or creating the illusion of depth in an image. The illusion of depth in a photograph, movie, or other two-dimensional image is created by presenting a slightly different image to each eye.

From Wikipedia

Video shot from a 3D video camera looks like this before processing is applied:

Two slightly different angles of the same cat
Two slightly different angles of the same cat, filmed in 3D

Using the special tag, YouTube will render the two separate but parallel videos into an anaglyph – a common 3D effect seen through red and blue glasses:

A red or blue tint is applied to each image, then they are merged
A red or blue tint is applied to each image, then they are merged

It doesn’t stop there, however. YouTube offer a full range of 3D imaging options (including, crazily, cross-eyed?!):


Notice that 'Cross-eyed' is an option!

The most impressive video I’ve seen to date I can’t show you here, because 3D isn’t enabled for embeds yet, but do go and check this HD video out.

If you don’t have a pair of 3D glasses there’s a pretty good walkthrough on how to make your own with a CD case from the Wired Wiki here.

So what do we think? Will 3D video have a rebirth through support from a big gun like Google? Or is the onus on manufacturers to provide 3D options in order to build the audience for it? Hell. Is any of this even viable these days? What does 3D add to the user experience barring a “that’s cool” moment? Does anyone mind that this is a total gimmick? With more movies being shot in 3D will we soon be able to enjoy the IMAX experience at home? Or will this iteration of 3D suffer the same fate as Virtual Reality, in its reliance on wearable hardware?

Time will tell, but it’s never been easier to be a content creator, and now it’s even easier to be a content creator in 3D. The only question I think matters, is ‘Who is the audience for these limited 3D experiences, and what does the medium add to the message?’.

I bet YouTube are wondering the same thing.

Crowdsourced Protein Shakes

I read about Foldit in Wired US yesterday, a game that takes the foundations laid by SETI@home, which uses thousands of computers’ idle time to decode frequencies from Space, and crowdsources solutions to the protein folding problems that are currently baffling the smartest machines in the world.

The difference with Foldit is that it’s not PC idle time that is tapped into here, but players’ idle time. There is no algorithm that can yet match humans’ depth perception; natural ability to recognise patterns; and see causal links in their actions. These traits make us humans the ideal CPU to solve these ‘protein-puzzles’:

Foldit provides a series of tutorials in which the player manipulates simple protein-like structures, and a periodically updated set of puzzles based on real proteins. The application displays a graphical representation of the protein’s structure which the user is able to manipulate with the aid of a set of tools.

As the structure is modified, a “score” is calculated based on how well-folded the protein is, based on a set of rules. A list of high scores for each puzzle is maintained. Foldit users may create and join groups, and share puzzle solutions with each other; a separate list of group high scores is maintained.

Indeed, the creators report that groups working together have led to breakthroughs not matched by either individuals or heavy-duty computing power. It is the power of the engaged-masses that the Baker Lab, research team behind the game are hoping will bring forth potential cures for HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Alzheimer’s.

More info on the game and it’s background on their Science Portal.

Does this remind anyone of War Games?

Wrigley to Launch New 5 Gum in UK

A new gum brand is about to hit the shelves. 5 Gum is designed to ‘stimulate the senses’ and it’s one of the most exciting new brands of the year.
I was lucky enough to get hold of a sample set:

IMG_0558The marketing lifecycle is about to kick off here in the UK with a heavyweight branding campaign designed to encourage product sampling. Let’s look at how the product was launched in the US, taken from the Wrigley corporate site:

  • 2007 In March 2007, Wrigley introduced U.S. consumers to 5, the most exciting development in sugar-free stick gum since the launch of Extra® more than 20 years earlier.
  • 2007 In August 2007, 5 gum unveiled its marketing campaign titled ‘Stimulate Your Senses.’ The advertising spots described “what it feels like to chew 5 gum.” Set against an industrial, futuristic backdrop, the cooling, warming and tingling sensations created by 5 gum flavors Cobalt,
  • Flare and Rain are expressed through dramatically stimulating visuals and sounds. The campaign also strongly leveraged magazine, cinema and online media advertising to showcase our new brand.
  • 2008 In 2008, 5 brand launched two new fruit gum experiences. Lush gum provides a crisp tropical sensation and Elixir gum is a mouthwatering berry sensation.
  • 2009 5 gum takes it to the next level with unique, game-changing flavor experiences. Solstice, a warm and cool winter, and Zing, a sour to sweet bubble, are new-to-world flavor transitioning experiences.

Do check out the 5 Gum YouTube channel for examples of the TV/Cinema creative, but in this post I’d like to review the packaging, which I believe is a point of difference that will give the product luxury status.

So to begin with, we’re starting with an initial three flavours: Cobalt – a cooling peppermint; Electro – a tingling spearmint and Pulse – a crisp tropical. Packs will reportedly go on sale at £1.50 RRP, to reflect that they are a considered rather than impulse purchase.

I’ll be looking at Pulse – the tropical flavour, which comes with little speckles of sharp citric stuff that actually gets your mouth watering when you first start chewing:

IMG_0560Notice how slick the box looks. Think about the colour of the last pack of gum you bought, and now say that 5 doesn’t look cool on this front alone. It does not look clinical like most gums do with their greens, whites and light blues. They look more like smart trading cards or a packet of condoms for that matter – gum for grownups.

IMG_0567It might be hard to tell from the above but the packs are slightly textured, with a heavy feel in the hand like holding a deck of cards. They slide into a back pocket pretty well. Build quality is excellent, made from a thick card and high gloss colour.

IMG_0569OK I admit the above is a shit picture, but it’s just to give you an idea of how you open and close the box. That flap of paper is embossed with glossy material so you can easily slide the box open with your thumb. Very James Bond. A bit like a book of matches, it’s an old school but perma-cool ‘paper technology’.

IMG_0570And there’s the money shot. You would not be ashamed offering someone a piece of this stuff, rather than one of those pocket-lint covered chiclets you have to fight the foil to thumb out. The designs on the inside are different for each flavour. This would be a great place to feature a QR code or even exhibit work from young artists.

And that concludes my short assessment of 5 Gum’s packaging. Look out for the TV, Online and Print creative coming soon. If you can’t wait, 5 have teamed up with Vice Magazine to generate early interest and reach into the difficult to please Hoxtonite crew – more info at Viceland whose readers have been asked to work with band Hot Chip to create a Launch Event in London that will stimulate the senses.

If you would like more of these sorts of reviews from me, please leave a comment. I look forward to hearing your feedback. Happy chewing.

@lifes4sharing #trafalgar was awesome

Wow – the singalong was huge.

T-Mobile attracted a huge 18,000 visitors to the event last night in Trafalgar Square, who were informed of the happening through an integrated twitter, viral seeding, PR and Mobile campaign. Subscribers and visitors to the lifesforsharing YouTube channel were also informed, as were members of existing Facebook fan groups.

Here are my best images taken from the front. There is no denying that this was a highly polished media affair, but it was carried off with enough honesty to create what I think was a truly positive feeling. Even Vernon Kaye was brilliant, and I usually hate him.


T-Mobile’s Next Event – Trafalgar Square

YouTube – T-Mobile’s Next Event – Trafalgar Square:

Here’s a teaser for the T-Mobile campaign I’m working on at the moment.
It is going to be huge! Please help me pass it along.

More details to follow but for an early preview, check out the YouTube channel, Facebook page and Flickr group.