Pecking in the Picnic

On: September 26, 2009
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About Margarida Fonseca
I am currently a Project Manager and mostly work on web related projects: websites, intranets, web advertising and usability projects at the Portuguese Telecom. This year I decided to take 1 year off work to learn new approaches and to gain insight. Since 1995 I’ve worked on all sorts of web related projects. I started as a Communication Designer (BA at IADE, Lisbon) and then learned HTMl and moved to webdesign. In 2001 I started working as a Project Manager and in 2006 I became a certified Project Manager by the PMI. Besides Project Management I also like Design and whenever I find the time I like to do illustrations and photography.


picnic09Yesterday was the last day of the PICNIC event, and even though the “main course” was only acessible to conference ticket owners, there were still plenty of activities to be involved in, people to meet and games to try out.

The people from Mediamatic had a handful of Interactive Social RFID games going on indoors and al fresco, and people who played along really seemed to have a good time. Once you got into to the registration area you were given an ikTag, a plastic pink heart shaped RFID, that had the information you gave about yourself on the Picnic website, and it served as an interface between the games you played on the Picnic event (offline) and your profile (online), an interface for social networks . It seemed a very innovative and playful application of RFID technology.

One of those games was the ik-a-sketch, the world’s largest sketching tool, just like with an etch-a-sketch you have two handlers, but in this case they are just too far apart for one person to operate, so you need a friend to operate it with you.

After finding a friend, you just need to swipe the ikTag on the ik-a-sketch, you also have to be able to coordinate with him/her because one handler only draws vertical lines (up and down) and the other handler draws the horizontal lines (left and right).

While you are drawing there’s a lot of interaction going on between the two ‘designers‘: you really have to be in sync with the other person in order to get your mission accomplished. The final results may vary depending on the level of interaction and engagement you put in it, but they all seemed pretty much like a 5 year old’s sketch and diagonals are just out of question!

But that didn’t distract people from the fun of having something done in a collaborative fashion. The process and not the final result was important thing.

Once you’re done, your picture is automatically uploaded to your Picnic profile page without a computer being necessary and also you become instantaneously connected with the profile of the person you drew it with. To clean the ik-a-sketch for the next team you just have to quickly jump in front of the screen.

The whole experience of getting to draw with a perfect stranger from Mediamatic,  and having our profile and work connected online in real time and afterwards finding out  his name and other contacts; was one of the most refreshing moments at Picnic, because of the new dynamic of getting to know people:  We didn’t knew each other before, we got connected through a collaborative task and after that it was able to access to each others email address, contacts and works. Swiping your RFID tag is so much more fun than card swaping!

The ikTag

Gabi and the drawing we did together. Watch him explaining how it works.

My Profile page at the Picnic website, with the drawing I did with Gabi and his contact connected to my page

Another RFID game was the ikspin: Two teams, two frisbees, four targets and a lot of people watching and having fun (watch the movie of Mark Wubben from Mediamatic talk about how ikspin works)



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