Beacon Hack Day

Watch Creatives Get Creative

One of Moonshot’s longstanding obsessions is exploring the ways new technologies change how we interact with the world. We’re also deeply curious about the ways technology changes how we work. And we aren’t content to satisfy these curiosities in the abstract, writing papers and posts, we want to make thought leadership tangible.

In that spirit, we recently hosted a hack day in the lab. We picked a trending tech, bluetooth beacons, and teamed up pairs of designers and developers. We wanted to explore the hypothesis that the designer + dev duo is the new nexus of creative power at agencies, the new “creative team.”

We gave the teams an overview of beacon technology from both a cultural and technical perspective, so that they’d have a solid foundation for experimentation and contextual grounding for ideation. Then we set them loose and told them to come back with ideas. Their ideas could be anything, as long as they used a beacon as a central component of their experience or product.

After a midday check-in to present and refine ideas, the teams went to work developing working demos. In less than a day, each team imagined and made real a functioning prototype of their beacon product. Some of them also created pretty slick pitch decks to sell their idea to the judges. The ideas ranged from the sublime to the, well, sub-sublime. They included an app to assist visually disabled children, an app that provides hikers with information about points of interest and unique flora along their route, as well as an app that promised to make sure you never had to go in a crowded bathroom ever again.

At the end of the day, we not only generated a bunch of new potential products, we helped create awareness and enthusiasm for new technologies, explored a new style of working and helped to satisfy (for a while) a couple of curiosities.

Seek is a collection of proximity games for the visually impaired. Using different types of sounds, amplification, and frequency, visually impaired user could participate in scavenger hunts, interactive learning through sound differentiation, and obstacle courses.
Cluster is a tool for the crowded workplace. Cluster uses ibeacons to find colleagues, items and rooms around the office, and to check real-time crowd levels in bathrooms and other frequented locations.

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