Editor's Note: Karyn Lu is Turner Broadcasting's Manager of New Media Insights & Inspiration. Each week she scouts out amazing innovations, cutting edge technology and, well, just really awesome stuff and shares them right here. Before it goes mainstream, it's going to be one of her favorite 5 Things From The Future!
1. Swings made from strings
Two wonderful, giant playground installations from Japan and Australia caught my eye this week. Think your kids would enjoy climbing around on a playground made entirely of yarn? Japanese artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam spent three years crocheting this very installation, called the Rainbow Net, for a national park in Sapporo, Japan. BY HAND.
Meanwhile, another magical playground popped up on the same side of the world, where LEGO is celebrating 50 years in Australia with this life-size LEGO forest!
2. Try on clothes from your chair
Virtual mirrors and fitting rooms are coming soon to a department store near you. But even sooner than that, you can now try clothes on at home using your computer screen as an augmented reality mirror. The Webcam Social Shopper app uses your webcam to scan and track your body and lets you “try on” various virtual garments. You can even adjust size and color in real time, take photos, and share with your social networks. Is this the future of shopping?
3. A hidden library, everywhere you go
The Austrian city of Klagenfurt does not have a physical library, so instead, the entire city has now become a library with 70 QR codes and NFC chips placed throughout the city. These codes & chips correspond to 70 literary classics that are often placed in relevant locations (e.g., you can find Arthur Schnitzler’s The Killer near the police station). This wonderful idea is reminiscent of another recent initiative from Monmouth, Wales, which became the world’s first Wikipedia town.
4. Lemonade prices rise and fall with the heat
There seems to be no shortage of brilliant and often hilarious vending machine concepts popping up all around the world recently (remember the Argentinean machine that dispensed beer only if you rugby-tackled it?). Now, here’s a lemonade-dispensing vending machine out of Spain that changes prices based on the temperature. Basically -- the hotter it gets, the more expensive the drinks become. And the opposite is true as well. Genius!
On a related note, how far would you go for a free snack from one of these machines? Would you press a button 5,000 times, or do the chicken dance... in public? Apparently, in Australia, the answer is yes.
5. Disappearing book strongly encourages speed-reading
Would you be more motivated to read new books promptly if somehow, the words were to magically vanish within two months? That’s the idea behind Argentinean bookshop and publisher Eterna Cadencia’s new series “El Libro que no Puede Esperar” -- literally, “The Book that Cannot Wait.” The books are silk-screened using a special ink that, once opened, literally vanishes within two months. In the era of Kindles and eBooks, there’s a part of me (the recovering English major who never has time to read anymore) that is instantly in love with this project.