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Augmenting Tradition with Technology

An Interview with CCO and Innovator Juan Ciapessoni

— April 4, 2018 — Tech
Innovating in the tech space isn't easy. Not only are there countless players scrapping to find the best ideas, but the industry giants have virtually limitless budgets to throw at any whim. The Electric Factory, an innovation company working in technology, media, and consulting, knows these travails well, having recently surmounted them. The Uruguayan brand recently won the top prize in the "Innovation in Connecting People" category at SXSW, besting the likes of Microsoft and Airbnb. Trend Hunter spoke via email with Juan Ciapessoni, the founder and CCO of The Electric Factory, about 'Read to Me' (his award-winning project) and how people-focused innovation creates successful products.

At this point, it's basically self-evident that mediated technologies are enmeshed in children's upbringings. Debates are raging about the potential impacts of these digital devices, often viewing them as exclusively negative. Rather than venturing to eliminate technology altogether, the SXSW award-winning 'Read to Me' harnesses technology to create a more human experience out of a daily routine: bedtime. It's a voice-controlled lamp that projects story-specific animations onto the walls of a darkened bedroom. The standalone content, which will soon expand to include third-party content through a white-label, open access app, responds to a parent or child's voice, progressing the animation based on where one is in the story.

"We don't believe that technology arrived to replace traditions, but augmented reality can make the experience richer and more memorable," said Ciapessoni. "Our creative goal is to conceive technology in a very invisible way so that it becomes more human and builds memories within the physical world." For Ciapessoni, 'Read to Me' is a human-centric solution to the problem of decreased contact, with technology enhancing relationships rather than effacing them.