Lucid trips

This virtual reality \”experience\” (it\’s not really a game) does sound like serious fun…instead of the traditional combat-themed shoot \’em up aggression-based environment, this strives to create an out 0f body experience.

\"LucidThe article\’s author says it feels a lot like being Ironman! You\’re floating and sinking and through using your virtual arm and hand positions, interact with different worlds. There is apparently a game component as well….

Virtual and other alternative reality experiencing is going to take off this year. And just like video killed the radio star, it will kill the flat screen video (we are after hyper visual creatures who like escapism). Articles screaming about VR addiction, and treatments, starting in 3…2…1..

Mind controlled virtual reality + the trials and tribulations of Contactless pay

Two interesting thought bites today around mind controlled virtual reality (!) + the trials and tribulations of contactless pay.


First, mind controlled virtual reality.  What fascinating technology it is! – they are creating a mind operated virtual reality interface. By combining virtual reality and motion capture with brain machine interfacing, they hope to help patients recover from traumatic events.

It uses electrodes to sense your brainwaves and muscle activity and a proprietary motion capture camera system to “predict” your movement before you make them – and combine this with VR immersion. The company\’s gotten a $100 million cash infusion from the Hinduja Group, for a $1 billion valuation. Not bad for technology that doesn\’t really exist yet.

Curious how it will solve for the disorientation that happens when your eyes/brain think you\’re moving, but your body senses that it really isn\’t.

And the second interesting find today: How unscrupulous people are taking advantage of contactless pay (much more prevalent in the UK than in the US) to randomly steal in crowded situations. If you\’re not familiar, it\’s when all you have to do to pay it tap your card: no verification needed.


I am curious how this scam works though: someone bumps into you / your card with a point of sale device, which instantly transfers (swipes) some money. Into what account (where he can receive it and not be caught)? – there has to be a recipient account??

I understand there are safe guards in place to deal with this, namely transactions are held in limbo for a freeze period, and you can of course contest it if you see it in your account.

And I\’m curious if there\’s a way to \”swipe\” from one currency to another – i.e. take dollars/pounds and instantly (after the freeze period by your card\’s bank) deposit it into a Bitcoin (untraceable) account.

Personally I think Apple pay\’s biometric confirmation (finger swipe to approve transaction) a safe deal….I mean really, how many seconds do you really need to save for convenience? WHAT DO PEOPLE DO WITH ALL THESE EXTRA SECONDS??!

Enquiring minds want to know.

Opportunity Lost: NikeFuel, Gamification & Making a Difference

Nike+ & NikeFuel are beautiful examples of a brand living their values (Just Do It!) via technology and community. A new campaign by one of the biggest consumer brands in the world brings those elements into sharp focus by combining user\’s NikeFuel points with love for their favorite college basketball teams.

But they missed an opportunity to create something really special.


A good friend posted on Facebook today, requesting his friends who were fellow alumni of his college to \”pledge their Nike+ Fuel and get on board!\”. As someone who has been working with Quantified Self ideas / technology, is a fan of Nike\’s marketing efforts, and pays way too much attention to the use of game mechanics in digital experiences, this was definitely worth a look.

NikeFuel (part of the Nike+ ecosystem) is a line of products including wristbands, apps, and watches that all collect data on movement (calories burned, steps taken), let you set goals, provide insights and convert all of this to points for personal optimization and social sharing. It is a great example of Quantified Self, a movement where users are collecting, analyzing and learning from the their data (via mobile, wearable and pen-and-paper techniques). The Fuel Your Team campaign allows owners of NikeFuel products to \”claim their team\” from a list of US college basketball teams. As each person claim\’s their team (you can claim any team, whether you are alumni or just a huge fan) they can pledge their NikeFuel points to that team, which raises their standings on the leaderboard.


Quantified Self?
Very sharable (don\’t ever underestimate the power of school pride) and Nike has real brand love, and the resulting message amplification to make this take off
Personal earning of points AND seeing my points result in my team\’s standings change = YES. Nike has foreshadowed that as the program rolls forward more achievements will be unlocked (presumably for the team)

All in all, it\’s a pretty simple, yet compelling effort. Users of NikeFuel are advocates and LOVE to talk about their FuelBand and how it helps them. For fans of College Basketball this is the \”most wonderful time of the year\” (you can blame me later for having that song stuck in your head). For all intents and purposes, this program is a win as it stands (will it drive sales of FuelBand? Probably). But there is one thing in the whole program missing, especially all these years after Social Media went from being an experiment to an expectation.

Where is the social-good moment in the program? How is the world\’s biggest sneaker company/iconic brand / driver of sport-as-lifestyle around the world paying it forward/giving it back/starting a movement of people beyond adding points? They have the \”megaphone\” of brand awareness, channel and spend. They have a product their users love (and have racked up over 4 billion points since it\’s launch a little over a year ago). What if they did something different?

  • Every College in the Fuel Your Team program decided to \”adopt\” a cause they and their fans could rally behind:
    • Gonzaga decided to join the fight against Juvenile Diabetes
    • Michigan State fans took on Pancreatic Cancer
    • Syracuse rallied it\’s fans to support the Wounded Warrior Fund
  • Nike and select partners pledge to donate money to the individual causes based on the Fuel points earned.
  • Each school organizes to raise Fuel points from students, alumni and fans AND works on fundraising drives for their \”adopted cause\”.

To get there would take a considerable amount of work, but the concept of Social Good (ht to Drew Olanoff) isn\’t a new one. The effort would require choosing the participating causes, negotiating the minimum contribution they could receive, matching the cause to the individual schools in a way that is fair, getting the budget together for the donations, organizing the fundraising infrastructure that would properly allocate and credit the schools for the donation, digital and mobile efforts, PR and Marketing, the privacy policy and a lot more – but none of these things compares to the work that goes into launching a sneaker, and NIKE literally wrote the playbook for that.


I love what NikeFuel is doing with this program (simple, direct, crowd-driven and based on love for their product AND College Basketball AND the individual schools). NikeFuel + Gonzaga is a fun idea, but NikeFuel+Gonzaga+Cystic Fibrosis is full of awesome. Considering how often Brand-Cause partnerships are looked at with distrust, this is a tough sell, but think about much real change in the lives of real people that Nike, the Colleges and their fans could create with a program like this?

Love it? Hate it? How would you hack this idea?

Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

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