Ikea adds smartphone apps and augmented reality to its newest catalog

Ikea prints 211 million copies of its product catalog every year. That’s more than 20 times the population of Sweden, the home of the build-it-yourself furniture empire. These are impressive numbers for a print catalog in a digital world, but Ikea is now changing with the times with a head-first dive into augmented reality.

“A lot digital stuff becomes very interesting when you mash it up with the tangible items of the real world,” said Andreas Dahlqvist, Global Deputy Chief Creative Officer of McCann, the creative agency behind the catalog.

Augmented reality features will roll out in the 2013 edition of the print catalog, which will arrive in customers’ mailboxes later this month. Amid pictures of Expedit bookshelves and Boksel tables, Ikea fans will see special printed symbols, each an invite to launch new iPhone and Android smartphone apps for an augmented reality experience.

When you wave your smartphone over pages with digital content, a variety of features appear.

 

Source: Wired Gadget Lab – Ikea’s Augmented Reality Catalog Will Let You Peek Inside Furniture

 

 

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Microsoft implements “carbon fee” – to push the company into carbon neutrality

Beginning in fiscal year 2013 (which starts this July 1), Microsoft will be carbon neutral across all our direct operations including data centers, software development labs, air travel, and office buildings. We recognize that we are not the first company to commit to carbon neutrality, but we are hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies large and small to look at what they can do to address this important issue.

In addition to our commitment to carbon neutrality, the part I’m most excited about is our plan to infuse carbon awareness into every part of our business around the world. To achieve this goal, we have created an accountability model which will make every Microsoft business unit responsible for the carbon they generate – creating incentives for greater efficiency, increased purchases of renewable energy, better data collection and reporting, and an overall reduction of our environmental impact.

To put this into action, we’re creating a new, internal carbon fee within Microsoft, which will place a price on carbon. The price will be based on market pricing for renewable energy and carbon offsets, and will be applied to our operations in over 100 countries. The goal is to make our business divisions responsible for the cost of offsetting their own carbon emissions.

via – Making Carbon Neutrality Everyone’s Responsibility

 

// Photo – ToddABishop

La Niña leaves on Thursday – El Niño could be coming

Changes are brewing in the equatorial Pacific, and they could profoundly affect weather across the U.S. and much of the globe next winter and spring.

La Nina, which has held sway since last fall, will be officially declared a goner Thursday, an official at the Climate Prediction Center in Maryland told InsideClimate News. And while nobody is quite certain what will happen next, some long-range forecast models are pointing to the possible emergence of the opposite phenomenon: El Nino.

Climate scientists are still trying to determine what role climate change plays in the La Nina/El Nino cycle. One study by scientists with NASA and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle suggests global warming may already be affecting the intensity and impacts of El Nino.

Regardless of climate change’s role, a shift away from this year’s La Nina could dramatically alter temperature, precipitation and extreme-weather patterns.

…keep readingAdios, La Nina. Hola, El Nino?

 

// Photo – Vinoth Chandar

SimCity 2013 – goes green with limited resources, pollution, and sustainable principles

Any computer gamer old enough to remember floppy disks probably paid at least a fleeting visit to SimCity, the legendary franchise that let players build — and destroy — the metropolises of their imaginations. After passing through half a dozen incarnations in the two decades since its debut, the game is back, and its creator, Maxis Studios, says that this time, it’s putting more than bricks and mortar into the mix.

Slated for release in 2013, the new SimCity invites players to grapple with tough choices about energy generation, environmental costs and the responsibilities shouldered by inhabitants of a planet with finite resources — choices faced by real policymakers on the very real planet Earth.

To the game’s original repertoire of fire stations and governor’s mansions, power lines and city budgets, Maxis is adding a cocktail of new challenges, including limited resources and the spillover effects of pollution.

more on the “green” design of the gameScientific American

 
The official trailer, which doesn’t contain any reference to the pollution or green aspects, just natural disasters:

 
// Thx to Nasry Al-Haddad