Mobile Magic Has Utilitarian Impact

April 8th, 2011

This article was originally published at, where we contribute content for the Direct by Design blog.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” Arthur C. Clark once said. With recent developments in mobile computing, his analogy is increasingly relevant. Sensor-enabled apps like Color have implications on a broad scale.

According to McKinsey, “Closing this loop from data to automated applications can raise productivity, as systems that adjust automatically to complex situations make many human interventions unnecessary.” Mobile apps offer us “micro-efficiencies,” shortcuts that can make our lives easier.

Behind the scenes, Color makes use of every phone sensor it can access. It hijacks the iPhone’s camera to check lighting conditions and the microphone to “listen” to a user’s surroundings. Through this, Color triangulates location in relation to others and generates “elastic networks” for photo sharing. It’s the secret sauce that has sparked fascination among the tech elite. No one really understands it, but Color demonstrates how mobile could eventually change the way we interact in the world.


Participation Trumps Passive: The Future Of Television And Social Networks

March 24th, 2011

This article was originally published at, where we contribute content.

Television, as we know it, is dying. According to the Wall Street Journalthe average age of prime-time viewers hit 51 this year. Kids would rather play Xbox or watch Hulu. Fortunately, television still has something going for it, and we’re not talking about iPad apps or mobile streaming. Rather, we’d like to discuss the emergence of a new hybrid medium.


MobileBehavior TV: Fashism with Brooke Moreland and Ashley Granata

December 21st, 2010

Fashism is a website and mobile application that lets people ask style questions, give advice, and get real-time feedback. We wrote about Fashism when it launched back in July 2009 (and again a year later), explaining:

A new site called Fashism lets you sidestep fashion faux-pas by crowdsourcing other users’ opinions. Snap a photo, email it to the site, and get pinged back with comments and ratings from other users. People are doing this anyway—taking photos in stores and sending to friends for thoughts. This site hopes to create a fashion-conscious community to advise you on your wardrobe in real-time. What fuels the site is our universal need to tell people what we think—we don’t just want opinions, we want to share ours.


Mobile Paths: Android Nexus S and Near Field Communication

December 9th, 2010

During last month’s Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced the next iteration of Android’s operating system would come with near field communication baked-in at its core. This week, Google came through on its promise. Along with a slick new skin, dual camera functionality, and Contour Display, the Nexus S establishes itself as the first Android device to sport NFC technology. It is a sign of what is to come; the Nexus S is the first of many next-gen devices that will influence everything from business to marketing and consumer behavior.