September 10, 2019

Mashups and Bootlegging

 

 

A new product can be a truly new idea or it can be a combination of existing ideas that one would have not thought of.

The panoramic image above was created by Google from four individual cell phone photographs. in the 90's, to create an image like this, I would have rented a Fuji GX617 panoramic camera that only provided 4 exposures per roll of film and required a tripod, light meter and a fair amount of skill.

A server farm dedicated to freely (at the user's cost of privacy) creating panoramic or enhanced photographs with no user effort that combines multiple services mashes up multiple ideas to create a new product.

We have:

  1. AI: in this case TensorFlow recognizing similar features in photographs and recognizing the potential for creating a panoramic image
  2. Homography: Combining the images to make the panorama with little distortion
  3. Server Farms with petabytes of storage
  4. GPS coordinate mapping. (Most phones embed coordinate information in the photo's meta data)
  5. Seamless integration with disparate phones and applications.

Another example:

Danger Mouse's Grey Album: changes the concept of the remix album by combining two disparate genres. Traditionally, it would be the vocal track of a song with a new, and hopefully different melody. For example

MF Doom's Gazillion Ear has been remixed numerous times but regardless of the incarnation, e.g... the Jneiro remix, it is nothing one would find to be strikingly unique.

Danger Mouse combined the a capella version of Jay-Z's Black Album with samples from the Beatles' White Album that one could easily say was quite original unlike music sampling the and hackneyed Amen Break which was so influential that the Economist wrote about here.

This technique was derided by the copyright holders and was considered bootlegging but in the non music space it is an example of one taking an existing thing and using it for something else.

 

One technique of Brainstorming can leverage mashups/bootlegging can be leveraged with a simple grid and applying some randomness.

If I wanted to design an audio player, I could possible create some key variables and topics: for example

 

Brainstorm phase 1
# Form Factor User Group Activity Interface feedback
1 wrist band children none tactile haptic
2 phone/hand-held athletes swimming ocular (eye movement) visual
3 pill bottle elderly walking sub lingual olfactory
4 wafer visually impaired sleeping vocal aural
5 eye glasses factory workers working lingual gustatory

 

With these 25 categories we now will randomize each key variable for a possible idea.

First is form factor. we randomly select 2 out of 5 and continue the process until we have all key variables selected.

Brainstorm phase 2
# Form Factor User Group Activity Interface feedback
1 wrist band children none tactile haptic
2 phone/hand-held athletes swimming ocular (eye movement) visual
3 pill bottle elderly walking sub lingual olfactory
4 wafer visually impaired sleeping vocal aural
5 eye glasses factory workers working lingual gustatory

 

Brainstorm phase 2 (continued)
# Form Factor User Group Activity Interface feedback
1 wrist band children none tactile haptic
2 phone/hand-held athletes swimming ocular (eye movement) visual
3 pill bottle elderly walking sub lingual olfactory
4 wafer visually impaired sleeping vocal aural
5 eye glasses factory workers working lingual gustatory

 

Brainstorm phase 2 (continued)
# Form Factor User Group Activity Interface feedback
1 wrist band children none tactile haptic
2 phone/hand-held athletes swimming ocular (eye movement) visual
3 pill bottle elderly walking sub lingual olfactory
4 wafer visually impaired sleeping vocal aural
5 eye glasses factory workers working lingual gustatory

 

Brainstorm phase 2 (continued)
# Form Factor User Group Activity Interface feedback
1 wrist band children none tactile haptic
2 phone/hand-held athletes swimming ocular (eye movement) visual
3 pill bottle elderly walking sub lingual olfactory
4 wafer visually impaired sleeping vocal aural
5 eye glasses factory workers working lingual gustatory

 

Brainstorm phase 2 (continued)
# Form Factor User Group Activity Interface feedback
1 wrist band children none tactile haptic
2 phone/hand-held athletes swimming ocular (eye movement) visual
3 pill bottle elderly walking sub lingual olfactory
4 wafer visually impaired sleeping vocal aural
5 eye glasses factory workers working lingual gustatory

 

After iterating through the table we can now think about a wrist worn audio player for factory workers that is controlled by sensing eye movement and provides haptic feedback.

A use case could be an large factory where the wrist band could provide directions to a person, part or area of the factory.

If the activity were working, the device could provide instructions for tasks requiring maximal hand/eye involvement e.g. using a table saw. Hands are on the workpiece and the wrist band could detect eye movement and provide instructions while working.

Similar products/methodologies are leveraged in IDEO method cards or Brian Eno's Oblique Strategy Cards