Monthly Archives: June 2015

Cardboard Revolution




A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating on a panel at SASCON, Manchester about Wearables with Martyn Bryant of The Next Web, and Tom Cheesewright, an Applied Futurist. Tech talking head on TV and radio.

Wearables is a broad topic of course, time was of the essence, it was late on a friday, so I decided to hone my deck and gist down to the phenomenon of Google Cardboard.

Cardboard just earnt itself one of the highest creative industry accolades in Cannes.

Google Cardboard wins Cannes  GRAND PRIX

A crucial aspect about Cardboard is you have to experience it to truly ‘get’ it. Cardboard is an inexpensive, delightfully simple optical ilusion that serves as a brilliant introduction to the world of VR.

Pop your smartphone in, hold it close to your face, open an app or view some media and woah time!

Ladle man is Cardboard

Whenever I’m asked about Cardboard and I’m not carrying one, I show them ladle man.

Ladle man

I call him Ladle Man, I’ve no idea who he is or where he came from.

Because in spirit, ladle man for me at least,  conveys the experience and fun of VR.

Here’s a more official polished video:

VR and 360º video is tipping

There’s a confluence of factors in 2015 that are poised to tip VR and immersive filming mainstream.

YouTube already offer 360º content and when viewed via mobile, a clickable cardboard icon above the playback bar will stereoscopically split the screen to allow optimum Cardboard viewing experience.

And it’s not just video, there’s a copious amount of shared panoramic photography in forums and groups from stunning locations around the world that are best enjoyed with a Cardboard like viewer.

During IO 2015, Google announced SDK iOS Cardboard availability and a v2 of the Cardboard viewer that allows iPhone compatibility with the repositioned trigger button now on the top right.

That development alone is a force multiplier for 360º content for developers and companies alike and at Droiders we’re thrilled with the prospects ahead.

Google Cardboard LabsVR is #notagame

A year ago, many derided Google’s entry to VR as little more than a light hearted side project. As a counter indicator to that thought, a few weeks ago, the chief designer of Search, Jon Wiley, became the chief designer of Google Cardboard and his task will include introducing guidance on some much needed universal UX vocabulary into the ecosystem of designing for VR.

A new UX for Virtual Reality

As Jon observes;

how do you walk around in a VR game? How do you touch a VR button? What does a menu or file system look like in an immersive, 3-D environment?

It’s a whole new exciting area of design. At Droiders we recently trialled UX inspiration from common building safety exit and motorway signage for nascent VR design cues.

The CardboardDesign Lab app from Google is a great VR design primer.

A crucial aspect of VR design is consideration of heightened use of audio.

A crucial aspect of VR design is consideration of heightened use of audio.

Facebook is soon to introduce spherical video content as the web’s video publishing explosion continues, and meanwhile 360º video production is booming at both ends of the market.

Despite high end devices like the Lady Bug or the recently unveiled impressive JUMP rig combining sixteen GoPros on a carousel rig with high powered cloud stitching, consumer grade devices and technology is breaking out of the crowd sourced niche, with products such as the Ricoh Theta and the imminent consumer available Giroptic.

At Droiders, we’ve been toying with VR in other fields for medicine and retail with Oculus and Cardboard, and continue to develop VR and 360º projects as demand increases with rising awareness of the technology.

The 360º revolution has only just started. It’s all around you.

Warning: This deck contains references to Mr McGuire, Joey “The Lips” Fagan, Ladle Man and a double rainbow front cover. Just like Cardboard, you have to be there really.

With thanks to Richard Gregory and the organisers of SASCON. Many of the presentations of the highly engaging speakers of the two day marketing event are available here and if you want another perspective of the event, this will offer you a flavour of the proceedings:

Again, marketing conferences or saroa (singular) as colloquially known in spanish, as with Cardboard, you have to be there really, to experience it.

ps. If you want to enjoy branded colour Cardboard (v2) viewers for your agency or brand campaign and need 360º or VR development, follow us for exciting news soon or get in touch, either through form or info AT

China #throughglass: What Chêng Ho teaches us




Looking at the world #throughglass, it is known that the search of objects such as The Ark of the Covenant, Merlin’s Wand, Excalibur or of mythical places like El Dorado, Shambhalla or Atlantis, has long encouraged all sorts of sincere entrepreneurial truth-seekers and neo-gurus. There is nothing new about this; ever since “Man” – and of course, “Wo-Man” – were able to say “I Am”, there has been a search for meaning, for answers. In the world of today’s turmoil, there is only a different language to express all this.

Let us read an example. In the year 1433 AD, Chêng Ho (Zheng He), born of a Muslim family from southern China and a top-notch Imperial Court’s eunuch, had returned home due to the new Emperor’s strict policy forbidding the Chinese from traveling abroad. His birthplace, Kunyang, is a 900-km (550-mile) drive to Droiders’ office in Shenzhen along the South to the East China Sea.

Admiral Ho established diplomatic and/or tributary relations with peoples ranging from Nanjing (northern China) to Kochin (southern India) to Mecca and down to Mogadishu (actual Somalia). The Indians, Persians and Arabs could not envisage how the most powerful naval force known to that day, a 27.000-man crew with mastodonic nine-mast four-deck ships, was used primarily for exploration and seafaring. Now, that was truly a search for the Grail of trade and meaning!

Back at home, the same story: an old battle between Confucian bureaucrats and Court eunuchs.

What should we learn, not from Admiral Ho himself but from the new Emperor’s attitude? This is to say, how upper management  in companies across the market board must find means and meaning by being ready and up for the challenge; this is one of the issues we address at Droiders, every day: our product, Streye, is the means as those ships and firmness of purpose were for our protagonist. How reinvestment, effort, the search for technical perfectibility and the Herculean challenge of human reason produce the best results. These are the questions people like Chêng Ho have to master: a sense of enterprise by looking at China and the world #throughglass. If you are a Google Glass explorer just go ahead and feel free to do it!

Let a thousand flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend“, said Chairman Mao Tse-T’ung. After him, he Chinese started in quite a different way where Chêng Ho had been compelled to leave off.

Here is the moral (and the morale) of this piece of history: Admiral Ho and his vast fleet could have “discovered” the European continent, had they been able to carry on. Then, sixty years later the Treaty of Tordesillas and Vasco Da Gama opened the way for Europeans to “discover” China in 1513 AD…

… the new Emperor should not have listened to mere bureaucrats.