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gh_blog

Google Wine Guide

My first chatbot! A friend at work named Stu Carnes was trying to launch this wine guide for the Google Home. I used api.ai to structure all the things you can ask it and created a backend api that allowed him to easily add/edit what the responses would be. If you have a Google Home or use Google Actions give it a try.

mario_car

Bluetooth LED Pinewood Derby Car

My son is in the Cub Scouts and wanted to build a “Star Power Mario Car” for the pinewood derby. There are a lot awards other than fastest that you can pickup so I decided to go for style points. I used a Tinket, Bluefuirt and Neopixel strips from Adafruit and basically combined this and this tutorial.

It worked great for the judge but during the actual race the neopixels weren’t working. I think didn’t have enough power going to them.

Here’s a video demoing what we built:

kickstarter-fail

My Failed Kickstarter Project

Unfortunately, my Kickstarter idea did not get funded. Due to the way the product gets manufactured I needed A LOT of money up front. It was a stretch but sometimes these things take off, sometimes they don’t. In this case it didn’t. The process of coming up with an idea, developing it, launching a Kickstarter and trying to promote it was a really fun learning experience for me. I’m looking forward to the next project where I can get out of my comfort zone and try something new.

rga_office

R/GA Office Screens

A lot of my time in 2015 was spent on these large screens at the cafe of the R/GA office. I was the technical director and there was a large team of creatives and developers on this project. 30 separate displays all working together, able to to be updated in real-time all in full resolution. It was not easy putting together a solution but on January 4th 2016 when we moved into the new office it was all online. Shortly after launch I figured out a way to use LISNR technology to allow people to hear the audio for the videos on their mobile devices.

You can read about the new office here:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/michellegreenwald/2016/05/23/rga-moves-into-to-the-worlds-most-connected-office/#32cb6f466515

unfollow-trump

Unfollow Trump

An ex-coworker of mine had an idea of organizing a big unfollowing of Donald Trump to make a statement. So with the help of another web developer we built http://www.unfollow-trump.com It didn’t really catch on but it got some attention in the press:

http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/these-agency-creatives-really-really-want-you-unfollowtrump-twitter-171054

Looks like Ayre took the original site down but you can see the staging site here:
http://trump-unfollowing-test.herokuapp.com/

39th-street

#RGAPeopleWalkingDown39thStreet

My most successful attempt at an accidental viral marketing campaign. When I moved seats from 350 W 39th St to 333 W 39th Street I was right up against the window. I created this Instagram account to capture people walking by and I would tag them in the picture. Then this buzz took over the agency wondering in who was taking pictures and the more people talked about it then more subscribers it got. Sadly it all ended when we moved to our new office on 33rd Street.

https://www.instagram.com/rgapeoplewalkingdown39thstreet/

FossilQ

Fossil Q

In the summer of 2014 the Fossil team came to the Prototype Studio to help them build a prototype of what would later be called the Fossil Q. It’s a wearable device that looks like a normal watch or bracelet and would be sold in the existing jewelry counters of department stores. The Prototype Studio had 2 jobs, define the technical constraints the creative teams would have to work around and build an early working version using the devices provided by their hardware partner Intel.

It turned out at the time that the Intel hardware was not quite ready to be sent to us so we had our own board built with the same features the Intel hardware had, we hollowed out an existing Fossil watch and put the board in that. This allowed us and the client to put the watch on and tightly iterate on what the features did and how it worked. It also allowed us to understand the constraints of developing a product like this in iOS and we could work with the creative team to come up with solutions around those constraints.

Eventually the Intel hardware was delivered and we swapped that in. This gave us a great starting place to test the capabilities of the Intel hardware and it’s SDK. Then once we were sure we’d be able to provide a great user experience around the hardware a development team was created to build the consumer facing Android and iOS apps. Then almost a year later the Fossil Q was launched.

tour_post

Lincoln Center Tour App

Because of the nature of prototypes I don’t get to work on things that are actually released to the public very often but this is an application we built that anyone with an iPhone can actually download. It’s an audio tour app for our Lincoln Center client. One of the major challenges here was releasing an app chock full of content with a download size under 100 meg. But now my swift and interface builder constraint skills are strong….so very strong.

UPDATE: Looks like the client pulled it from the app store to button up a few things.

Click here to give it a try:

Link to the iOS app
Link to the Android App

holiday_dreams

Samsung – Holiday Dreams

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.