I wore Snap’s Spectacles for the weekend. And I’ll do it again.

Snap, the tech company behind Snapchat, released a limited number of Snap Specs late last year and we managed to get our hands on a pair of the not-so-unisex coral-coloured 10 second video capturing sunglasses.

Snap Inc, the brains trust behind the widely popular social media app Snapchat are known as tech & social innovators, but not so much hardware visionaries…until now. As a camera company, Snap’s biggest competitor is your phone’s camera and this weekend when I was wearing the Snap Specs, my iPhone camera function was nowhere to be seen.

When I first popped the Specs on and synced them up I thought “Ok, what am I going to do with these?”. So I pinched them from work to try them out over the weekend. I wanted to learn how they worked and why people would choose to record footage through Specs rather than their phones.

A weekend with Snap’s Spectacles from The Royals on Vimeo.

As I started capturing some footage at Laneway, I quickly learnt that the back of people’s heads really wasn’t where the fun was at. It was in the “look Mum, no hands!” footage. So this was pretty much the set-up for the following couple of days and seventy-three 10” Snaps later.

After wearing them for the weekend, here’s why I think people will enjoy Snap Specs and why I believe they’ll champion your phone’s camera:

  • Free hands. Specs let you do what you want to do without taking your eyes off the prize. Over the weekend I captured myself clapping, drinking, praising, cheering, catching, hugging, hi-fiving and dancing. It was this content that got a great response from my friends on Snapchat and drove intrigue with them asking “how are you recording that?” and “what’s going on here?”.
  • No phones obscuring the view of others, or me. I didn’t have to watch anything through my phone screen, I got to see it all with my own eyes. Specs allow you to enjoy being in the moment without the obstructions.
  • People weren’t offended by them. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they were aesthetically pleasing with one friend commenting “cutest glasses ever!”, completely unprompted, I swear. Plus, when people asked what the light was they were so surprised to discover they were recording and after shrieking with excitement, instantly grabbed them to have a wear.
  • Seamless connectivity and control over what you post and to whom. You can still add all your favourite overlays, filters, comments and emoji’s to the snaps when they’ve synced to your phone. Plus, they didn’t drain my phone battery despite the automatic syncing all day. 👌👌
  • The sound quality is fantastic. Whether capturing conversations between your mates or your favourite bands tune that is playing over hundreds of heads in front of you or simply you narrating the snap.

There’s nothing ground-breaking about what Snap Specs allow you to do, but they definitely helped me capture some fantastic memories, moments and stories (get it 😉) for me over the weekend. Snap Specs have successfully made wearable tech people aren’t embarrassed to wear that allows you to be in the moment, unhindered.

Chrissie Malloch
@misschrissiemal

Tell it to the lights

Here’s something. We love our Lifx lights, but we thought, “wouldn’t it be great if we could talk to them? So..

Introducing “Tell it to the lights”. Simply email thelights@theroyals.com.au and our kitchen lights will flash and blink and colour themselves based on the mood of your message. Because they listen. And they care.

Having a bad day? Let the lights knows. Pumped about getting your work finished? Tell it to the lights. Feel like sending an email, but deep down, you know it really shouldn’t be read by a human? The lights will hear you.

Try it out.

How it works: We set up a service that monitors the email address and then passes all content through a sentiment analysis API called “Tweet Sentiment API” (made for Twitter, obviously, but you can push anything through it). Then we made Maker Recipes on IFTTT to trigger our Lifx lights based on the mood expressed in the email message.

Heaps of fun :)

Paul and Dave

 

 

Cardio Tennis installation at The Australian Open

If you’re heading along to Melbourne Park for The Australian Open Tennis over the next two weeks, pop your head into the Cardio Tennis tent. We just finished a collaboration with Tennis Australia and the wonderful A-Live event people to create an interactive, multiplayer tennis thingy. Get active, wave your arms around, and play a form of tennis that doesn’t have any of the pressure of the centre court. Heaps more giggles though!

Download “Bergensbanen” (the seven hour train video)

At the party on Friday we had quite a few people asking about the ‘train video’ we were projecting. Below is a link where you can download it for yourself (probably steer clear of the 246Gb version unless you’re housesitting or working somewhere very temporarily). It’s an extraordinary piece that works beautifully as a wall:

Download the 22Gb torrent here.

But also note, from the NRK site: “The original file was 165 GB, too much for most people to download. We coded a 720 50P, 1280×720 version, resulting in a 22 GB file. You need a filesystem on your drive that takes files bigger than 4 GB. Most external drives have a FAT32 filesystem, which has a limit of 4 GB. NTFS and HFS+ works fine.”

More info here: http://nrkbeta.no/2009/12/18/bergensbanen-eng/

StoryStool

Look what we made. This is the first iteration of the StoryStool. It receives phone interviews and audio that’s uploaded to a client’s website and plays them back via the handset on loops for people instore. The next version has a pressure sensor in the seat that triggers a phone ring when people sit down (and it has a surface transducer in it. Because it sounds cool).

UPDATE: StoryStool hits the park