Future Academy is AKQA’s Creative Technology apprenticeship. Each quarter, multidisciplinary makers, thinkers, and doers are chosen to spend 12 weeks at AKQA. Their mission: Don’t just think it, make it.
The imaginative application of art and science to create beautiful ideas, products and services.
FLOCK & FEATHER
Flock & Feather is a connected birdhouse that uses technology to monitor and help threatened city bird populations.
A built-in pressure sensor and microphone identifies the different birds that perch on it, and sound is used to scare away predators.
Designed to look like an interactive textbook, the app connects to its birdhouse and helps children and adults better understand the birds in their locale. An interactive timeline indicates which birds have visited the birdhouse, and an alert is received when an unwelcome bird is scared away.
Ultimately, this data can be used to track the populations, migration patterns, and nesting habits of city birds.
Soundflake is a service that lets people create a unique, 3-D-printed snowflake by using their voice.
Soundflake uses the audio wave generated by the user’s voice to form a one-of-a-kind snowflake that can be 3-D printed using commercial 3-D printing APIs and delivery services.
The simple-to-use mobile website, or kiosk, lets anyone create their own snowflake by speaking into the microphone. The next step is to build a reader that allows users to play back the message contained inside each snowflake.
Flow is a connected product that affixes to a skateboard and records its tricks in 3-D.
Using its built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass, Flow tracks spatial data and sends it in real-time, via Bluetooth, to your phone.
The experience lets you review a timeline of tricks, by location and date, and share and compare it with your friends. Future applications could include other action sports — e.g., snowboarding and BMX-ing.
Pilot is a tandem bicycle that helps new employees find new places and meet new friends.
Using built-in GPS, Pilot directs its riders to a secret location by signaling left and right turns via haptic signals and LED lights that are built into the bike’s handlebars. After the ride, the app displays the final destination and route taken to get there and gives riders a voucher to spend with their newfound friend.
The concept of navigating without relying on a map has wider implications and could affect how the visually impaired find their way or how one stays on course when using a map isn’t convenient, such as with urban running.
Anica is a smart plant pot that helps people who don’t have a green thumb to care for a plant.
Using an array of built-in sensors that measure light levels, soil moisture content, and pH balance, etc., Anica assesses the health of the plant and the suitability of its environment.
Sensing when someone is nearby, Anica communicates by voice, asking for more water or more light if needed. Anica even tracks the weather, letting you know if it’s going to be a hot day that will necessitate extra water, or if it’s going to be sunny and she’d like to spend the day near a window.
JOIN THE FUTURE ACADEMY
We are always looking for the next generation of Future Academy Apprentices.
If you think you have what it takes to create genre-defining work like what you see here, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.