Today microcontrollers and Twitter are stimulating a new class of consumer interaction that business needs to pay attention to. Tweets are no longer just bite-size communications between people, they are now being sent by objects and even unborn babies. This new trend is being advanced by DIY’ers and their motivation may be as simple as the novelty of communicating like never before.
Here are three examples from the land of Twitter-tech, where things in the world are starting to talk to us.
How’s the world feeling right now? The World Mood in a Box will tell you. It continually searches Twitter for tweets with emotional content, collates the tweets for each emotion, does some math, and then fades the color of the LED to reflect the current World Mood; red for anger, yellow for happy, pink for love, white for fear, green for envy, orange for surprise, and blue for sadness. If an unexpectedly high number of tweets of a particular emotion are found, then the LED will flash to alert us to the possibility of a world event that has caused this unusually strong emotional reaction. Perhaps the value of this gadget is simply to compare your mood in the morning to the collective human consciousness that has been active while you were sleeping.
“I kicked Mommy”, read the tweet. The Kickbee band tweets when the baby kicks in the mother’s womb allowing Dad to stay in touch with the growing fetus when not at home. This requires the pregnant mom-to-be to wear a stretchable band with built-in vibration sensors that post a message to Twitter when a kick is detected. The Twitter account also acts as a data log that can be accessed later for visualization, giving new meaning to the concept of baby monitoring.
And finally for those who want a close connection to their plants, Botanicalls (that is not a typo) enables your plant to call you when it is thirsty and send status updates on how it is feeling. The voice drive of each plant is based on its botanical characteristics. For example, the groundcover plant Scotch Moss has a thick Scottish accent when it calls. No kidding.
Social media has the power to make us feel more connected to a larger community, and often through those connections relationships are formed, except of course when we are talking about things at the other end of the tweets and phone calls. People report that being on a computer gives them a feeling of belonging, and a sense of feeling connected to something much bigger. Are these new interfaces just another extension of these same feelings? After all people have been talking to unborn babies and house plants long before technology was available to amplify the experience.
This trend may signal a consumer appetite for products to talk like never before. Perhaps my medicine bottle should call me when it is time to take it or my car should send a tweet to tell me I left the windows down and the weather report is calling for rain. How can interactions like these improve the product or service experience for consumers rather than just annoy them throughout the day with tweet-spam? Whether this innovation trend is important for your category, is food for thought around the creative table.
image credit: tummytime & botincalls
Donna Sturgess is the President and Co-founder of Buyology Inc and former Global Head of Innovation for GlaxoSmithKline. Her latest book is Eyeballs Out: How To Step Into Another World, Discover New Ideas, and Make Your Business Thrive.