The folks over in the Brazilian offices came up with an original gift for some of their clients and partners during the holiday season – thermo chromatic mugs! Upon filling the mug with hot water, a key word and phrase, associated with the particular recipient, ”magically” appears.
We were excited to hear that on a March 6th visit to the Brazilian pavilion at CeBIT 2012, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel sat down to try out the Alphabet Table, an augmented reality educational game, conceived and developed by YDreams for Positivo Informática, one of Brazil’s largest computer and educational technology manufacturers.
As you can see in the photo below, Dilma and Angela actually completed an activity using the didactic tool to better understand and experience what the innovative Alphabet table has to offer young learners.
The Educational Alphabet Table, which was also awarded a Gold in the Informatics category by IDEA/Brasil in August 2011, an organization endorsed by the Industrial Designers Society of America, works by combining colorful animations, video and sound to create an interactive environment. The table features a webcam, 32 inch LCD screen and Augmented Reality markers that represent characters in the story. The 2D markers are captured by the camera and transformed into real-time 3D images, which can be treated as “virtual marionettes” on an LCD screen. The educational game, which can be played by up to six students at a time, is ideal for promoting collaboration, exchanging knowledge, and teaching children and students with special needs their “ABC’s”.
Ynvisible's Interactive Badge for the Printed Electronics Tradeshow
The badges contain three interactive graphic layers, activated by the push of a button. Each layer, designed specifically for the event, conveys IDTechEx’s marketing messages. Technologically, the interactive badges are a hybrid solution, based on a combination of printed electronics ̶ Ynvisible’s electrochromics-based interactive graphics and Enfucell’s SoftBattery® ̶ and traditional electronics, namely the printed circuit boards, buttons and wiring. Designers from Ynvisible and IDTechEx jointly designed the interactive badges, with the final assembly of badges carried out by Ynvisible.
“The combination of established color printing and printed interactive graphics brings new levels of interaction and communication power to everyday items. Consumers who enjoy the interactivity of on-line content and services will now increasingly start to find such features also in printed products”, said Jani-Mikael Kuusisto, Chief Business Development Officer for Ynvisible.
IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA 2011 conference and tradeshow is the biggest event in the world on the topic. This year’s tradeshow will be the largest Printed Electronics exhibition to date, with 105 exhibiting companies already confirmed. The tradeshow is on from November 30th to December 1st, 2011 at the Santa Clara Convention Centre.
UM, which means ONE in Portuguese, is Portugal’s International Festival for Experimental Inter-media. The one of its kind festival in Portugal includes exhibitions, workshops, talks, concerts, performances and public works, with internationally renowned artists, musicians, academics, designers and architects.
It starts today and carries on till Sunday, the 15th of November. UM had its debut in 2008, and is back in 2009 for its 2nd edition. YDreams has always been a fan and supporter of the festival and is taking part this year as a commercial sponsor.
YDreams’ headquarters are located close to the beach. A big number of YDreams’ employees take advantage of this and go surfing or body boarding, early in the morning and at lunch time. These two were caught just after a morning session.
YDreams’ employees are big sports fans and practice all kinds of sports: mountain bike, BMX, tennis, skate, kiting, kite-surfing and boarding, paint ball, kart racing, etc. The headquarters are equipped with showers so that afterwards they can head back to work, fresh and smelling good…
Those were my exact thoughts whenIvan Franco, our R&D Director, told me he was off to Lisbon’s Electricity Museum to give a talk at Pecha Kucha Night about interaction design, its potential consequences and how it relates to the work we do here at YDreams.
Well, the name alone was enough to trigger my curiosity, especially because I thought he was referring to some vanguard Karaoke trend or something (I’m a big fan )…but no, Pecha Kucha (which is Japanese for conversation) is a “patented system where each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each – giving participants 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show.”
The Japanese have long been known for reducing the subject to its necessary elements. In this case they inspired Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, ‘founders’ of Pecha Kucha Night to take minimalism beyond design and architecture, and the Pecha Kucha system seems to be catching on just fine, having so far spread virally to close to 200 cities in little over six years.
Early into his Memorabilia of a Company post, Sergio mentions that ‘The Häagen-Dazs years were still to come’. I thought I’d reminisce a bit and explain why he dubbed them as such.
In mid 2001, the company consisted of little more than the five founders and a handful of staff – there were maybe about 12 of us. In keeping with the spirit that we were from the get-go a less than conventional start-up, our CEO, António Câmara had a Häagen-Dazs ice-cream freezer brought in and placed at the entrance to our work-space (yes, the one Sergio refers to as ‘the main room’). That’s right, ‘in the beginning’, for close to a year and a half, everyone was free to gorge on Häagen-Dazs morning, noon and night – and some did! For the calorically-challenged it meant staying clear of the ice-cream ‘treasure trove’ but for those who could afford to indulge it was quite the treat.
I remember what a kick clients and partners got out of it when they came to visit, and since we were located at the heart of a university campus I also recall the occasional student popping in to say ‘he’d heard we were giving out free ice-cream’!
The contract we had with the Häagen-Dazs rep in Portugal required us to replenish our stock every three weeks or so. Needless to say that by the end of week one we were usually down to 3 or 4 mini-cups of Lemon Sorbet (clearly the least popular flavor in the house). I also remember that the rep would occasionally pop in to check that the freezer was being properly stocked and maintained; there was this one time when she unexpectedly showed up and we had a hec of time explaining why the thing was stocked with Manuel Costa’s fresh-fish catch of the day, and Sergio Cardoso’s Alheiras (traditional sausages from northern Portugal)! She eventually calmed down after we explained that they were being temporarily stored for the company’s 1st anniversary celebration the very next day – of course we had to place a new order right away and promise that the freezer would be adequately ‘fumigated’ Ah, the good ol’ days
In the beginning we sat on wooden chairs – the kind you find in most public schools. The Häagen-Dazs years were still to come, as we sweated out the summers and froze through the winters for lack of central air-con. During the monsoon season water occasionally dripped through the ceiling.
Back then, in our old building, the overcrowded YDreams “sala principal” (main room) was half empty. YDreams, then Ideias Interactivas, was yet to be registered officially but we were already working on the company’s first project, the gig that gave us a head start and kept us financially afloat from day one.
It was called “Canal Mapas”, a Lisbon and Oporto map channel produced for Telecel. YDreams not only delivered a web version (which was all the rage back then) for their online portal, NETC, but also and more importantly a mobile version.
Although a big challenge for a new company like YDreams, web map channels were nothing new at the time. Mobile ones, on the other hand, were almost unheard of. YDreams truly pioneered the field by producing not only WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), but also PDA versions of “Canal Mapas”. So innovative was the solution that, in three months time, Motorola gave our work a 5-star rating in the mobile sector, from a very select global group of leading companies. Read the rest of this entry »
According to our correspondent, Go-Kart expert Mariana Salgado, Wednesday’s race had a great turn-out. Rookie Rui Malvarez impressed the crowds with his flashy reflexes pulling off the quickest reaction time at the starting line, and shooting ahead of YVeterans Antão Almada and Tiago Fonseca. He managed to stay in first place for the first three laps but was eventually ‘deterred’ by a slight pile up on the runway, finishing up in third place but not bad for the new kid on the block!
First place was a toss up between Peter Figueiredo and João Frazão with both guys intent on taking home the most coveted Karting trophy. In the end Peter took the race by staying slightly ahead of João for most of the laps. Way to go Peter ‘Alonso’ Figueiredo.
The ladies, not to be outdone, also put in a great performance with Silvia Santos coming in 17th and Helena Rocha and Teresa Brás following shortly behind.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for the company’s next official Go-Kart event. All are welcome, and from the way some of you pull into the company parking lot I know you’ve got what it takes See you at the track!
YVeteran Antão Almada looking calm, cool and collected before the big race
Now what we’ve all been waiting for – the results!
1st Peter Figueiredo, best lap: 1:06.47
2nd João Frazão, best lap: 1:06.38
3rd Rui Malvarez, best lap: 1:06.57
4th Tiago Fonseca
5th Vítor Duarte
6th Alfredo Saboga
7th Antão Almada
8th Bruno Neto
9th Luís Alberto
10th Filipe Tavares
11th Armindo Silva
12th Pedro Matos
13th Miguel Gomes
14th João Dornellas
15th Afonso Tavares
16th Sérgio Barata
17th Sílvia Santos
18th Luís Carvalho
19th Helena Rocha
20th Teresa Brás
21st José Danado
22nd Ranjeet Kumar
23rd Ricardo Luiz
The ladies’ winning circle
After a good clean race the gang rounds up & heads off to celebrate
* Special thanks to Helena and Mariana for the fun pics!
Often we’re asked to imagine futuristic scenarios for possible products and projects. Often the first ideas are stuck to already available technology. So I also often remember a great article on the Whole Earth Review 25th anniversary edition (1993).
The article in question was titled Unthinkable Futures. The authors, Kevin Kelly (Wired magazine editor) and Brian Eno (musician), show how to open our minds beyond what’s technologically predictable.
One of my favorite quotes:
News is understood to be a creation of our attention and interests (rather than “the truth”) and news shows are redesigned “thinktanks”, where four interesting minds from different disciplines are asked the question, “So what do YOU think happened today?”
Some “moving out” moments as we get ready to move to our brand new headquarters:
Boxes emporium at Alcântara’s Offices, 10 am:
On the other side of the river, at Caparica’s main room, YDreamers finish playing a real life game of Sokoban:
And then they celebrate!
Production room finds some lost bottles amidst the moving and also celebrates! In sepia tone!
By then YLabs is also celebrating the discovery of a new revolutionary technology (their daily routine) and the fact that they have figured out how to seal up the moving boxes
People at Alcantara’s offices open up umbrellas, defying bad luck and paying tribute to all the floods they have been subjected to during the last year
In the meanwhile, someone forgot to tell the HW department that they should be engaging in silly celebration and phototaking, so they stare in disbelief at their PC screens when celebration pictures start circulating on the internal mailing lists
And speaking of silliness, someone found out that thinking out of the box is really the way to go
In the very near feature we’ll have a new version of the Virtual Sightseeing Scenic Viewer, our Augmented Reality landscape exploration device. Here’s a teaser, courtesy of Pedro Cardoso, our Art Director:
It’s a game that uses a platform with 5 sensors (switches), each with a symbol. Sequences of symbols are displayed on the screen and the player has to step on them accordingly. The player can just step on these symbols or freestyle dance…