this year at sxsw09 tom and i decided to launch a little prototype qr code-based game, something we came up w o the saturday afternoon and deployed over the next 24 hours. our goals were primarily to test qr codes in a large-scale environment, and more than anything to see what would happen.
i shared an ignite presentation (heh… an adventure ;) with matt milan last week at a workshop here in toronto called situate.us – a day long session exploring the applications and design of situated computing. all in all an amazing day, and major props to matt, michael and daniel for organizing ( as well as the other participants for bringing diverse flavours of awesome).
the premise of the project was this: imagine you’re an intrepid explorer who has stumbled upon sxsw09 for the first time, and it is the technological equivalent of the galapagos islands. the media you discover are somewhat familiar, and echo that which you’ve seen before, but some are completely new species, and essentially you think ‘what the hell is this intarweb?’ and you communicate your discoveries via twitter.
the technical side was pretty lowtech – we wanted to use readily available tools due to time and $$ constraints, so twitter, a qr generator, tinyurl & fedex were the basic platforms, as well as qr readers available on smartphones. every time our explorer found something, he twittered about it and linked to the site via tinyurl. each tweet generated a qr code, which we printed out on paper and distributed across the conference.
the results? well, it sort of worked… it was a good learning experience, in that we found out that printing qr codes on glossy paper = reader FAIL. we used tinyurl, when really we should have used bit.ly for tracking purposes. also, we didn’t really talk it up, preferring to see how ppl would react to random qr codes distributed across the conference (taped on streetposts, tables, walls, etc). turns out, with no context, not very well. so it didn;t work as well as it could have, but that’s what experiments are for!
ps – the last slide w the T800 and lentils is from tom’s recent presentation on augmented reality.