Aug 15, 2011

Electronic Sensor Tattoos

Researchers at University of Illinois have developed a kind of temporary tattoo that can sense electrical signals in the body. They are using for medical purposes, but I think I smell a game controller! They've already tried putting one on the throat, and analyzing signals to see if they can see what words you are saying. Full article here.

Aug 1, 2011

Aloha to Akoha

Ahoka? Akoha? I never could get the name right. Doesn't matter now. These guys were some of the first on the gamification bandwagon, starting up in 2008. It was an interesting idea, giving trading cards to people as a way to encourage acts of kindness. It sounded good in theory, anyway. I received a few from students, and was always too embarrassed to pass them on. Why would I pass on an obligation? As far as I was concerned, the cards might as well have been +10 Guilt cards. Someone told me a story once that they got a "take a friend out for coffee" card, and so they did. At the coffee, they gave the friend the card, and explained the system. The friend was apparently incensed: "I thought you wanted to go for coffee because we were friends -- turns out you're just playing some damn game." Ah, the perils of extrinisic reward systems. As Randy Pausch often said, "You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs." Aloha, Akoha. Your experiment was noble and brave. May you receive a +Infinity in that big Internet in the sky, and may we all learn from your example.

Here's the complete text from their farewell letter:

Akoha will be shutting down on August 15th 2011

Dear Akoha Community Member,
We're writing today to tell you the unfortunate news that after 3 years of will be closing its doors on August 15th 2011. Please note that you will be able to sign-in and play missions up until that date.
In the fall of 2007 we set out to create a new type of community to highlight fun, real-world activities that would help people explore and enjoy life to the fullest. From all the amazing missions that the Akoha community has played over the past 3 years we feel comfortable in saying that we were able to reach that goal.
Unfortunately and despite our best efforts, we weren't able to generate enough revenue to cover our expenses so we're left with no other choice but to close the site.
We'd like to thank all the dedicated Akoha team members who have contributed their energy and talents to the project and also to our investors for the support that they have shown us over the past few years.
And finally, we'd like to thank you, our incredible community members, for being part of this journey with us. We have been delighted, inspired and moved by all the wonderful missions you have played. We hope Akoha has brought a little additional enjoyment and satisfaction to your lives.
For those who would like to save a pdf archive of all your Akoha activity please see below for instructions.
Thanks again for being part of this incredible journey with us!
The Akoha Team