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Initial Impressions of Sphero 2.0: The Best and Worst of the Digital Age

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.15.29 AMLast night I picked up a Sphero 2.0 from the Apple Store as I needed to test it out for a client project. After about 5 minutes I remarked to my wife that, “This is exactly what’s good and bad about my job. On the one hand, I get to play with these neat kinds of toys and call it work. On the other hand, it’s a $129 dollar ball.”

Initially, I thought my 8 month old puppy would love it, as it was more interactive then her usual analog tennis ball, but she was terrified by the thing. My 3 girls however, were enamored right away.

I’ve been using it for about 24 hours now and the thing is remarkably fun. It is after all a Bluetooth controlled robotic ball. It has a range of about 50 feet and is surprisingly fast and nimble on the controls. When on, it activates a color changing LED that adds to the overall whimsy of the experience.

Update: I was remarking to a few folks at the office that I was surprised that it didn’t have a camera, as it can be hard to pilot around walls. One of our admins remarked that if it had a camera, people would use it for upskirt pics. Fair point.

Sphero comes with a ton of potential apps, including games that blend digital and real-world environments for seemingly unique gaming experiences, most of which I haven’t tested yet but will do so soon. The hardware and software platform are open source, making it ripe for experimenting with. As such, here are some of the things I’m going to attempt to try with it over the next few weeks. Read More…

Breaking Pharma’s Web 1.0 Addiction

“We can break the cycle of blandness. We can jam up the assembly line that spits out one dull, lookalike piece of crap after another. We can say, ‘Why not do something with artistic integrity and ideological courage?’”
–  Tibor Kalman

“Click here to learn more.”
– 
 Pharma

As I am often want to do, last week I spent the better part of a day poking around the internet looking at the general scale, scope, and style of what’s being deployed online for the industry. Part of this was research for gathering up content to be included in the social and mobile wiki, and part of it was because I’m curious as to what the ‘State of Pharma Web Design’ is for 2013. Needless to say, the picture is pretty bleak.

To say I’m baffled by this is an understatement. The industry as a whole seems entirely focused on innovation. This is good. I ‘listened’ into the #ePharma stream on Twitter, and there was an enormous appetite for social, mobile, gaming and other emerging trends. This is also good.  But when does innovation become about adopting latest generation thinking across the entirety of the digital medium, rather than just being relegated to the exploration of new platforms and channels?

Which brings me back to my web searches. The state of design in the industry today is abysmal. A-BIZ-MAL. It’s not just the design and user experience, which is bad enough, but the structure, layout, and production values. All of which are state of the art – if you were reading this post in 1999.

Just take a look at the websites of the top selling brands in pharma right now.

Read More…