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February 25, 2020

Blue Stag Selects: February


Welcome to Blue Stag Selects: February edition, where we serve up some of the most inspiring and interesting stories we have seen each month.

Celebrating and showcasing the innovative work that is shaping and influencing our culture today, February Selects include the surface of a comet to avatar robot cafes.

Blue Stag Selects: February - Takahiro Kurashima

Poemotion: An interactive illusion book

Art Director, Takahiro Kurashima, has designed an elegantly simple and technical set of visual elements, which are brought to life by the reader through interaction. The abstract graphical patterns are set in motion when you move the attached special foil across them: known as the moiré effect.

Moiré effect is a visual perception that occurs when viewing a set of lines or dots that is superimposed on another set of lines or dots, where the sets differ in relative size, angle, or spacing. It’s almost magical the way very simple, static elements can become very beautiful and dynamic.

The book shows the interactive playful opportunities that are available with print. This is one of three books by Kurashima available exploring this moiré effect within the print.

Blue Stag Selects: February - DAWN Cafe with Avatar Robots

Cafe run by disabled patients using robot avatars

The DAWN Cafe (Diverse Avatar Working Network) in Akasaka, Tokyo, is staffed by robot avatars, which are remotely controlled by people with severe physical disabilities, who otherwise would not be able to work and have very little day-to-day human interaction. Powered by human intelligence, the robots are able to take your order, serve you food and drinks and respond to have questions or requests.

This pioneering approach to technology is providing unique opportunities to people, fulfilling their desire to work and be a part of society despite their disabilities. Many people are worried that technology is replacing human interaction, but actually this cafe is enabling it and empowering people.

Kentaro Yoshifuji, the CEO of Ory Lab, the organisation running the project said “I want people with disabilities to know that they can work even if they can’t move their body or go outside… At the same time, I want everyone to know that there are many people who want to work even though they can’t move. If they have an opportunity to get a job, it gives them confidence as people who are needed.”

Blue Stag Selects: February - Comet surface by ESA

Incredible footage showing the surface of a comet

Remember the Rosetta spacecraft which launched in 2004? The spacecraft was on a 10-year mission to catch a comet that was 317 Million miles away and land a probe on it.

The spacecraft arrived at its target, The Rubber Ducky Comet (or 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko), on Aug 6, 2014. The mission included the Philae lander, which made the first touchdown on the comet.

Unfortunately, it did not stay down. Scientists at the European Space Agency said Philae unexpectedly bounced twice before landing on the comet when the probe’s anchor-like harpoon system failed to fire.

Philae ended up in shadow near a cliff face on the head of the 2.5-mile-wide comet. The probe fell silent on Nov 14 as its solar batteries ran out of power. The probe might have failed but Rosetta continued to study its comet, which has a mass of approximately 10 billion tonnes, for almost two years. It beamed information and photographs back to Earth.

The photos that Rosetta sent back have been freely available for a while, but it was only recently that Twitter user landru79 has taken the photographs and pieced together a short GIF revealing dust and cosmic rays on its surface, with stars moving in the background. It looks like it could be footage from the top of Everest but this is from a comet that is flying through space, orbiting the sun every 6.5 years at speeds of 84,000 mph.

Blue Stag Selects: February - Accessibility Matrix

Accessible colour palette builder

Making websites accessible is an important part of website design. This means ensuring contrast is high enough across all elements, including buttons, menus and footers. As everyone’s sight is different, you cannot rely on the designer or developer’s eye to ensure accessibility. Thankfully, Atul Varma has created a useful tool to help with this problem.

The accessible colour matrix is a neat little tool that lets you check a brand palette usability in a matter of seconds. We find it really useful in our design and handover process from design to development. It saves time and rounds of feedback between our design and dev team when making small design decisions like button hover states, which are often overlooked.

electronicos fantasticos

Barcode scanners turned techno musical instruments

The very creative and imaginative tech group, Electronicos Fantasticos, have hacked barcode scanners and turned them into techno inspired musical instruments.

They create the techno beats by scanning a series of assorted line patterns and the modified devices play different rhythmic electronic, scratching and percussive beats.

This playful way of adapting a regular (and quite boring) object into something interactive and fun brings out the inner child in all of us. Could you imagine a late-night Tesco techno rave, where everyone was given barcode scanners to come together and make music?

The leader of the tech group, Ei Wada is a Japanese artist and musician, who turns old electronic appliances into musical instruments. These creations have included Electric Fan Harp, CRT-TV Drums, Air Conditioner Harp, which created music using electromagnetic waves. One of Electronicos Fantasticos‘ latest projects is the barcode dress, which is exploring a new kind of music and dance expression.

Diverse skin tone plasters launched by Tesco

In a big step forward for diversity and representation, Tesco has launched a range of plasters for diverse skin tones. The fabric plasters are now on sale in three skin tones – light, medium and dark – for £1. As the first supermarket to offer this diverse range of plasters for their customers, Tesco hopes to inspire other retailers to follow suit.

The idea stemmed from a viral tweet about the lack of representative skin tone plasters by Dominique Apollon, which has had over 500k likes and 100k retweets.

In response to this, BAME at Tesco, which is a Black Asian and Minority Ethnic internal colleague network, developed the range of plasters available for light, medium and dark skin tones. It aims to make a positive impact on colleagues and customers by raising awareness of diversity, culture and inclusion at Tesco.

The advertising campaign is the creation of Bartle Bogle Hegarty London (aka BBH London), and debuted in the Evening Standard and Metro on 24th February with the tagline, “About bloody time”. It has been very well received across social media, as well as being picked up by all news outlets. The messaging and visuals are clever, simplistic and elegantly done, with the plaster covering the word ‘bloody’. Bravo BBH London & Tesco, you absolutely smashed it.

Thanks for reading Blue Stag Selects: February, check back next month for our next selection of inspiring and interesting stories from around the world (and beyond!).

Dan Sargent

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    There’s a rustle in the Welsh woods that has been whispered about for generations. They believe it to be Blue. They say it’s not sasquatch, but Stag. All that’s been spotted is the odd antler in the overgrowth or hoofprint on the forest floor.

    We’ve taken matters into our own hands and set up a series of cameras to try and locate Seb the Stag for ourselves. Brave visitor, can you help us in our quest to unravel the mystery and marvel at the myth?

    Launch forest cam
    Number 4
    Craig-y-Nos Country Park
    51.8815° N, 3.4435° W