For the last 2 years and change I’ve been the Technical Director for the R/GA prototype studio. We just released a new sizzle reel. Click here to see what we’re all about.
How do you get 74 Samsung devices all playing different videos synchronized at exactly the right time? You call Aaron and myself from the RGA Prototype Studio. We built a node.js/socket.io/Android platform to allow the director to start/stop/reset the videos on all the devices simultaneously. The devices were all Wi-Fi’ed into a heavy duty router and there was a Samsung laptop running the node server. The director had a slick web-based management console to run the whole thing. The system took 4 days or so to build and it ended up working great. The RGA Content Studio and RGA Samsung team put the whole thing together and it came out amazing. Take a look:
Scrub to 1:30 to see me talking.
So as it often happens a project we work on at the Prototype Studio takes a while before it actually becomes real and sees the light of day. We worked with the Equinox team about a year ago on this idea. They came to us with some connected stationary bikes and software that was supposed to aggregate all the data. The question posed was “How can we use this to build a polished spin class experience for our members?”. After a few weeks we had a working prototype where 2 riders could compete head-to-head in 2-3 simple games, all built on the same equipment used in the gym. After we got that up and running we handed it off to the Equinox team in RGA who worked months and months on the final consumer-facing experience being launched.
Back in May of 2013 we received our Google Glass and we were dying to build something on it. After much deliberation we decided that the best idea would be to integrate with the newly launched CitiBike program. Users could be on a bike, pull over to the side, quickly get information on the surrounding bike share stations. Then they could follow the visual and audio directions to their destination. The application was picked up by Fast Company:
We built and released this app using the Glass Mirror API. We then submitted it to Google for approval. They rejected it saying that we should use the new GDK. So we rebuilt it, submitted it and as of now it’s the Google approval queue.
Did you just Google “Who is Pickles at RGA?” to find out who this person is? Well it’s me. Real name is Michael C Piccuirro. I started working at R/GA in 2005 and I’m currently Technical Director of the Prototype Studio and the Data Visualization group. I am also an active software developer for Java, Objective C, HTML/CSS..etc. I’m from New Jersey and here is a picture of me and my son (daughter not pictured):
The nickname came about 15 years ago. It was during the heyday of the show Sopranos. Because of my affiliation with the Garden State coworkers nicknamed me Mickey Pickles as a play on my first and last name. It was then shortened to Pickles and it’s been that ever since.
Marc, Wade and I did a few speaking engagements to the students at MSU. This was lots of fun talking the the students about our careers and R/GA. The recruiter actually ended up hiring a couple students at R/GA. Also at the Protoype Studio we nabbed 2 summer interns from MSU. And of course we got to go skiing at Bridger Bowl and drink beer while stewing in a natural hot spring.
Here’s an article about the trip:
Google Livable was a prototype I built with the Google team at R/GA. The idea was to use the Google Places API to give a score to a specific area.
It was never actually released but the prototype won an AICP Next Award. Here’s a video explaining the idea:
Since I started working at R/GA I’ve been working on the Nike+ platform off and on. From 2005 to 2007 I was on the team that built and launched the first version of Nike+. I was a technical lead and backend Java developer building the services the Flash front end used. I also spent time working with Apple on the integration with the iPod and iTunes as well as how to secure the communication.
A few years later I also worked on a major Google Maps integration with the site.