Just home from epic road trip holiday adventures from the beach, across the city, offroading through the desert, up into the mountains to find the snow and back ~ truly testing the Audi 2014 Q7 TDI. We found ourselves heading from CA - NV - AZ - UT and back again! Also had fun checking out the Jordanelle Reservoir, Olympic Trials, and making time lapse videos of the drive.
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Here’s the latest from Shawn Sims, our automotive loving NOTlabs Director! He just got back from adventures with Mercedes-AMG in the desert. A pair of Mercedes-AMG C63 507 editions (sedan vs coupé) donut duel in the California desert during the Best of AMG at Willow Springs.
With 2 hours before we had to head to the airport in Nashville, i had to get a peek at Imogene + Willie having seen their store online for years! Unfortunately, armed only with my cell phone (no proper dslr this trip since it was supposed to be a music/vacation/non-NOTCOT trip!) i still couldn’t resist snapping pics of this stunning little store nestled away in an old gas station. From their beautiful denim line (with quite the history! see the touching video on the next page…) to their expansion to include home goods and accessories, many of which will feel familiar to you ~ from Baxter of California and Tanner Goods to Japanese charcoal, terrariums, and much more… it is definitely worth popping in when in Nashville, TN! Next time I have more time in Nashville, will definitely have to get a proper fitting… and they’ll even help cut you the perfect jean shorts! And on lovely gifts ~ they seem to have perfected the bandana! It is so soft, subtle contrast stitching, and a nice minimalist modern print… made in japan, packaged in a cloth bag stamped in Nashville. Take a peek inside the recently redone store (Matt told us that not so long ago, all the sewing machines were still in there!) on the next page!
Let’s start this off with an important lesson i just learned - puppies can not be trusted… they really will sneak off with things even if you turn your back for just a moment… and then they will curl up somewhere and hide and destroy it… like these pretty awesome HD Spy Camera Glasses from Photojojo! Random upside? While i don’t have many videos to share, luckily i tried quite a few and got pics of it all for you before Bucky got to it… and now we have a “puppy teardown” to show you the guts of what is inside and how it works!
The officially named, HD You Vision Video Glasses from Photojojo, come whiteboxed with a very oakley-esque camera case, usb charger, and 4GB micro SD. As for the fit, they are a bit wide and super light plastic (no real lenses and all), and i had a bit of trouble not looking pretty silly in them, but that being said, the video and audio quality was better than i expected! Full HD, pretty fun, good camera angle (third eye spot)… not great in the dark, and not high quality audio, but it will do for fun adventures that need documenting. And when i tried them out on a walk with Bucky, he didn’t seem to pleased to see them on my face (perhaps that’s why they got sneakily targeted later?) They are surprisingly easy to use - plug in to charge, click the button on the side to start recording, hit it again to stop! Take a peek at the unboxing (and unfortunate puppy tear down) on the next page!
Back in October 2012 in Toronto’s Royal Bank Plaza, a shipping container sized structure popped up alongside a new Audi Quattro A4. In the glowing glass container, you’d find quite the slot car track, essentially a tiny Audi wonderland, which you could race through via iPads. Audi Canada and Slot Mods USA took the traditional slot car track to a new level, as this one included 3D printed 1:32 scale Audi A4s that you drive with an iPad and custom cameras. Bummed you missed it? Me too. Lucky for you and I they released a great making-of video about the process of creating the interactive installation.
The short film, Painting Coconuts - The Audi Quattro Experience, is filled with inspiring craft and passion. It follows David Beattie, owner of Slot Mods USA, and his team as they produce the one of a kind interactive artwork. Every detail is painstakingly hand crafted. The trees are made from dried Japanese Sedum flowers, custom circuits were built for the POV cameras, and when sourcing a 1:32 scale model of the current A4 proved difficult, they 3D scanned a real one and used the digital file to 3D print the slot cars. Check out the making- of video and lots of close ups on the next page…
This post is presented by MasterCard. When they reached out to us about sharing some fun Grammy inspired posts, naturally, i turned to our NOTlabs director and music lover, Shawn Sims. First he shared a bit of what we’ve been listening to around the lab in our Winter Inspiration Mix. Now he’s got a bunch of inspiring music videos for us!
Whether its the toy octopus from Wax Tailor’s Time To Go, the never ending panorama shot in The Peach King’s Lonely, OK GO playing music with a car, or the cast of Fraggle Rock making a cameo for Ben Folds Five, there are plenty of surprises in these videos to keep you inspired. Some are simple animations and others highly detailed computer graphics. There are some videos that are shot beautifully and others are packed with high-tech wonders. Bell’s video for Chase No Face is an entire video of projection mapping onto the singers face using the Microsoft Kinect to sense movements and custom software that controls the graphics on her face. Take a look on the next page for all that and more, including dancing ghillie suit people!
Oakley Airwave Goggles with built in Heads Up Display are launching on Halloween! And we had the pleasure of trying them out when we were in SF… i kid you not, the heads up display is gorgeous! Watching full color video in the little prism screen to the bottom right of your periphery was better than you’d expect. And i’m sure in due time, you stop finding yourself tilting your head down and to the right, as if you’d get a better view of it as i did… especially when you have stunning slopes filled with powder visible through the rest of your goggles!
As for what you can control and see in the Heads Up Display - there is everything from GPS/Navigation (routes for a lot of the best slopes around the globe are pre-programmed in), Buddy tracking (you can even find your friends who don’t have goggles, so long as they have the app), Music controls, Speed, Jump Analytics, and more! Of course, via bluetooth you can also pair it with your smartphone and view incoming calls and texts and access your playlists… all controlled by glove friendly wrist remote. The HUD itself comes from Recon Instruments, using “innovative prism technology to display information perceived by the wearer to be the size of a 14-inch screen that is five feet away, so refocusing the eye is not necessary.” And it really is surprisingly good in person. The accompanying app will be available on both Android and iOS, and no worries, even when your phone isn’t connected (or the battery dies) the goggles have built in GPS, Accelerometer, etc so all your data is stored locally until you connect to your phone.
For the best explanation of how it all works - take a look at the video on the next page! And for now, i’ll just keep dreaming about when Oakley takes this further and integrates the fun HUD into more products for every day life!
p.s. It’s worth noting that there’s a HUD SDK available - so if you can dream it, you can make it happen!
We just spent the last week playing with the Mercedes-Benz 2013 GL450 - fully loaded with designo package and all the tech add ons! I must say, after driving it (and the other cars all stayed in the garage - all week!), it’s no surprise that it just won Motor Trend’s SUV of the year… having grown up in/driving SUVs for most of my life, i must say this beast of a car handles amazingly, and is surprisingly comfortable as a passenger (in any of the seats) And the new Active Curve System is magical - “to help control body lean during cornering maneuvers, electrohydraullically variable stabilizer bars for the front and rear axies increase roll stiffness based on driving speed and lateral acceleration, as well as the Adaptive Damping System’s Sport Mode.” Oh, and Sport Mode is a must when not off roading…
But the one detail that blew me away (and that i miss now that the car is gone) - the Surround View System. Anytime you are driving below a certain speed (maybe around 15mph?) you can click into the 360 Camera in the System menu and see the views around the WHOLE car - in various merged super views as well as seeing what each camera (one below the front mercedes logo, one on the bottom of each side mirror, and one that pops down above the license plate in the back) is seeing… while i’d like to think i’m pretty good with the parallel parking and lining up nicely between the lines… there is no question here when you can pop the camera on and see EXACTLY where those lines are. Also as you turn the steering, lines appear showing exactly where your car will go. It is a nicely implemented feature, and beyond pictures, we made some videos for you to see it in action on the next page!
p.s. Now, if only someone could hack it so you could record video out of them…
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Often, the best types of travel takes you unexpected places to experience things you couldn’t even imagine! Next up for NOTCOT is Linz, Austria! We’re thrilled to head to the annual Ars Electronica Festival for Art, Technology, and Society August 30 to September 3rd… where the some of the world’s most incredible cutting edge artists, technologists, designers, scientists, thinkers, and more will come together. From exhibitions, to talks, to getting to see incredible interactive projects we’ve only seen online in person… and a chance to meet the people behind them!
As they explain it, “The 2012 Ars Electronica Festival, the Linz, Austria-based, world- renowned celebration of excellence in media art, opens on August 30. The theme: “The Big Picture - New Concepts for a New World.” This year’s conclave will showcase inspiring best- practice examples from art and science in calling for a new, open perspective conducive to the development of a viable vision for our future. The Festival is an inquiry into what it takes to compose such a Big Picture and just how it can be implemented. Dozens of scientists, scholars and artists from all over the world will convene in Linz from August 30 to September 3. They include: artist/scientist Joe Davis (US); George Church (US), genetics professor at Harvard Medical School; robotics engineer Hiroshi Ishiguro (JP); Adam Bly (CA), founder of the online science magazine Seed; curator, author, video filmmaker and cultural journalist Jens Hauser (DE/FR); and Julius von Bismarck (DE), the hot young star of the European media art scene.”
While an award for the Free Universal Construction Kit is what is bringing Shawn and I to the festival, between preparing for his talk and designing the display for the toys, we’re starting to get giddy about projects we’ll get to see at the Ars Electronica Festival… take a peek at some of the incredible projects on the next page!
This post is sponsored by Ted Baker London, which just opened their new NYC ‘Grand House’ Fifth Avenue store! Thank you for supporting NOTCOT, Ted Baker!
To celebrate and announce the opening of Ted Baker London’s ‘Grand House’ store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, they sent a swarm of 20’s era Maids & Butlers around to clean up the city! In the video of the adventure, you see them polishing subway poles, ironing maps, cleaning the bull on wall street, pouring tea for chess players, befriending horses, singing with the naked cowboy, poop scooping and much more! See the video of all the fun on the next page!
We’ve been long time fans of Project Squadt by Ferg and Playge. You’ve seen our NKD Jack as well as our little team of Fr0g and K11 Sp0ts (s001 + s003). From their intricate details, accessories, branding, and more ~ what’s not to love? In fact, in this year’s Designer Toy Awards, Ferg is up for Artist of the Year, Nozzel S00 Squadt by Ferg & Playge is up for Fan Favorite, Squadt Fr0g S001 & K11 Spot [SWAMP DWLLR] by Ferg & Playge are up for Toy of the Year, and Playge Doctor Skelve (W/ hood) by Ferg & Brandt Peters is up for Best Collaboration. Phew it’s been quite a year for Ferg and his ever growing collection of creatures!
With a K11 Spot (dog like creature that resembles a surveillance camera), we couldn’t help but wonder whether it could be an ACTUAL working camera! Together with Ferg, we decided to try it out! He sent over a Squadt K11 BOOMER (in addition to looking camera like, the little guy’s head opens!) and we went to work in the NOTlabs hacking a little wireless video camera into his head! It ended up needing some dremeling, 3d printing, laser cutting, and more to get the little guy going, but now he may LOOK like another toy on the desk, but he’s streaming video! See the process and video of him in action on the next page!
The Where’s Waldo of the 2012 Olympics is definitely spotting the mini radio controlled MINIs! Justine and i just spent far too long scrubbing through hours of Track & Field feeds and watching the latest coverage trying to spot the tiny minis in action… We shared these on NOTCOT.org, but have since learned more, and been obsessed with finding them in action!
What are the Mini MINIs? According to the BMW Press Release, BMW is proud to introduce another critical electric vehicle to the Olympic and Paralympic fleet: the Mini MINI. This specially developed and designed radio controlled electric car will be used on the field of play in the Olympic Stadium to ferry javelins, discuses, hammers and shots back from the field to the throwing area, saving valuable time during competition.
Three Mini MINIs will be deployed for this crucial task and will be operated by Games Makers assigned and trained for this duty. The cars are roughly a quarter scale of the full-sized car and carry the athletic equipment situated inside, accessible through the adapted sunroof. The Mini MINIs are all blue and feature the same Games livery as the ‘full-size’ official fleet vehicles. Each of the three Mini MINIs will cover around 6,000 metres per day in four-hour shifts across nine days of Olympic and nine days of Paralympic competition.
They are surprisingly hard to spot ~ and now oddly satisfying when we do find them… have you seen them in motion? Actually transporting the javelins, etc? See more pics (and share yours with us!) on the next page!
In Istanbul all week, and while we’re here for one of my dearest friend’s wedding ~ amongst the festivities, it has been hard to figure out what to do and where to go to really get to know Istanbul! Surely there are the usual monuments, museums, bazaars and other must see spots that you find in the touristy guides… then there are the high end luxury shopping sections with brands you can probably find in any major city… and even the Wallpaper guide had a bunch of the same old stuff… but finding resources to share the fun, unexpected in betweens has been surprisingly tough! Even chatting with local friends of the bride, it’s not always easy for people to step back and help direct you to the uniquely different little shops, galleries and spots that they may take for granted…
Thanks to twitter and the internet in general making travel and exploration a smaller world than ever ~ i got the sweetest tweet from the folks at Jotun the other day, which lead to a magical little package arriving on the hotel room bed hours later! Artist, Emel Kurhan, has created a set of guide books (Emel Loves Istanbul and Emel Loves Paris!) that feel like a scrapbook of favorite spots (and why they are loved, which turn to take/door to open for secret spots, etc) leading you into a whole over side of Istanbul! “The 2 Guides are for sale together the price for 2 books is 40TL, the money will be donated to different animal shelters, they come with a ribbon(each has a different color), only 2000 books has been printed and has been numbered by myself!” she says on her site.
So while i still may not get a taste of all facets of Istanbul in this week ~ we’ve done a few cliche tourist things, attended a stunning wedding on the edge of the Bosphorus (and ended up on a boat on it till 4am) with our hand carried NOTlabs photobooth guestbook setup, hidden out at the House Hotel Galatasaray… regardless of what the remaining 3 days hold, this adorable little book is definitely helping fill in more of the blanks! Take a peek inside it as well as a cute video teaser for them on the next page!
Last night i ended up at Milk Studios in Hollywood for the unveiling or the latest Dom Pèrignon limited edition designed by David Lynch. Of course David Lynch also created the whole experience of the evening… creating a fascinating series of spaces and experiences as each room opened up throughout the night. Starting with champagne on the steps as you enter… to gentlemen in top hats handing you chalk to sign your name on the wall… then passing through a mysteriously glowing foggy tunnel… to explore various dramatically lit dioramas of Dom bottles showing part of the process of how they came to the limited editions… while enjoying delicious molecular gastronomy from The Bazaar by José Andrés… and beyond to the reveal of the new bottles and performances by The Kills and Diplo! It was a spectacular night not to be forgotten… take a picture at the experience on the next page!
If you’re in LA before May 6th, Ben Jones’ installation at the Avant/Garde Diaries Transmission LA: A/V Club at MoCA is a must… no pictures or video can do the nauseatingly bizarre feeling of being in a never ending 8-bit race justice… but that being said, in case you can’t make it here, here’s a peek at how it felt on video on the next page!
What’s more appropriate on Easter than ~ Easter Eggs? Of all kinds… Skittles just sent over a fun Easter basket full of Skittles and a teaser of Digital Easter Eggs hidden amongst their hilarious (and slightly creepy) “Skittles Touch” videos on youtube. See a peek at the hidden easter eggs to be found on the next page…
“As Above, So Below” stunningly beautiful projection mapping by Light Harvest at the DUMBO Art Show - including stop motion animation, and the suspension of over twenty performance artists from fly wires at sixteen feet off the ground. The results are beyond mesmerizing… See the video!
I’m amazed and mesmerized watching Rob Whitworth’s video! His view of Ho Chi Min City is an unbelievable look at the flows of a densely urban area, and it’s fascinating to see how much flows through the intersections and ports… and especially the incredible roundabouts! “Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is an amazing up and coming city. This time lapse is a culmination of 10,000 RAW images and multiple shoots capturing some of the cities relentless energy and pace of change. Everyone who has visited Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam knows part of the magic (love it or hate it) is in the traffic. Ever since I first set foot in HCMC I have been captivated by the cities energy. Saigon is a city on the move unlike anything I have experienced before which I wanted to capture and share.”
First things first, if you haven’t seen it, you must check out Corridor Digital’s mini films. They are action and effects filled, and often have fun gaming references, but really they will suck anyone in! In their latest, “Brush With Death” they literally bring street art to life! They even include the classic cartoon move ~ jumping in and out of painted DOORS! Gorgeously shot around LA ~ check it out below!
Clemens Wirth’s Macro Kingdom III is a video poem of sorts diving into “a special place, unseen microcosmos within a unseen universe bind us together.” The way the sounds pull it all together is mesmerizing! See the video on the next page…
First things first, if you haven’t seen it, you must check out The Third & The Seventh. It is a stunning film ~ and I love that Alex Roman asks you to “Fullscreen it, please.” A masterful mix of 3D modeling and rendering of both designer objects and places that exist in reality (Like Kahn’s library at Phillips Exeter Academy) seamlessly combined with the fictitious through 3dsmax, Vray, AE and Premiere. But surprisingly, when it reaches the uncanny valley side of the digital, it’s hard to appreciate just how much went in to this film… until you see the incredible making of below!
On surprises when i went by the Mercedes-Benz Bremen Factory where my AMG C63 Coupé was just built (and unfortunately we missed it on the factory line by a few DAYS), they brought us out on the TEST TRACK!!! To do a few laps with their pro drivers. Apparently EVERY AMG that goes to the USA take a few laps here (and one out of a few for other countries to test). While i unfortunately don’t know how fast he got on the straight away and 60 degree bank of a hairpin turn… it was great fun! And at first i was far too busy experiencing it to take pics/vids… then we tried videoing two laps which you can see below ~ i tried hand holding my 5D MKII ~ as carefully in front of my face as possible without letting the g-forces slam it into my face! You’ve got crazy banking, straight away, speed bump, turns and more on this factory track… Take a peek at the video and pics on the next page!
Wow. So when i first heard about Orient Express’ rebranding and “A Journey Like No Other” campaign coming up, i didn’t quite grasp how magically inspiring it would all be. Then amidst the chaos of running literally ALL over europe at lightning speeds for a few weeks of work trips, they offered the opportunity to experience it first hand, so i’ve been hiding out for a few days in between the madness in Mallorca at La Residencia in Deia. I supposed the truth is, i’m a sucker for other worldly escapes ~ be it in film or photography, there’s something nice about being pulled out of your everyday life, pressing pause for a moment, slipping into as much inspired relaxation as possible before leaping back into the thick of it.
The Orient Express’ seems to have captured the essence of this other worldly escapism perfectly through the 4 perspectives of a family in their new campaign ~ from Father, Mother, Son, and Daughters views spanning travel via luxurious train, boats to Venice, drives to Rio, and more. The mini films (and matching instagram-esque photo galleries) help you feel like you’re peeking into another life ~ and it’s so fun seeing the same trips from various perspectives… both nostalgic and modern, watching them while curled up in Mallorca, a mere few hours before hopping a 7am flight, just makes me want to duck away into yet another Orient Express styled adventure in luxurious relaxation… but perhaps a few more work bursts before the next one is needed! As for now… take a peek at some of the first few “A Journey Like No Other” videos on the next page ~ and see more on the site!
Continuing our exploration of Mini HD Action Cameras (So far there’s the roundup, unboxing the GoPro, and unboxing the Contour+) ~ so here’s an unboxing of the germany based, GoBandit. The packaging is good fun, and they have super playful branding that tells you to Shoot Your Adrenaline! what’s most unique about the GoBandit seems to be its software side ~ tracking GPS, speed, and altitude, there are a variety of skins (perhaps someday customizable?) that can overlay your videos to show the data as well as a map alongside to see where you’ve gone. As far as tech specs, it isn’t the most powerful on the market ~ shooting only 720p video, 5mp camera, 135 degree angle of view ~ but is waterproof up to 1m for 30 min without additional housing, and you can embed your videos complete with navigable maps/altitude/speed graphs! And their GoBandit Community is definitely going for the competitive angle on action cam videos sorting videos by FASTEST and HIGHEST! We’re still playing around with it at the moment ~ but check out the unboxing and details of the camera on the next page!
Currently in Frankfurt for the IAA with Mercedes-Benz, i’ll be hosting a live interview with Christoph Horn, Director of Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars and Anders Sundt Jensen, Director of Brand Communication Mercedes-Benz Cars, about the new products and features at the IAA tomorrow that you can view live on their Facebook page just after the streamed press conference! Please tweet questions you want me to ask with the hashtag #mbLiveTalk, and i’ll try to get answers for you!
As for sneak peeks, tonight was the pre-press conference event with sneak peaks all around… including getting to run around the 3 story “booth” of a space that has housed everything from rock concerts to tennis matches and for the last decade or so ~ Mercedes-Benz at IAA! One of the most noteworthy details beyond the breath taking facade they’ve constructed with in? The history of Mercedes through model cars (and a stuffed MOOSE) that you encounter between the escalators as you head from the ground floor to the 3rd. Take a peek at a video on the next page, as well as more pictures of the space!