You probably already heard of Nabaztag, the smart Wifi-enabled rabbit with its famous moving ears. Its Facebook app was a real hype, and thousands of users fell for the rabbit’s charms. While most people might see this rabbit just as a funny gadget, its inventor Rafi Haladjian told during LIFT08 that there’s a lot more to it.
Haladjian is founder of several Minitel start-ups and Internet providers in France. His latest venture Violet is the company behind Nabaztag. One day, he was sitting behind his desk, thinking about how he could promote his Wifi services. His eye fell on a rabbit and he had his eureka moment. “With creating Nabaztag, we wanted to make a statement”, Haladjian said, “If you can connect a rabbit, you can connect anything.” Just imagine we made a Wifi-enabled frisk. People would have said, ok, so you can connect frisks now. Yet by connecting something absurd as a rabbit, people think: you can even connect rabbits now”.
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After explaining his choice for a Wifi rabbit, Haladjian told about the functions the electronic animal has. I would like to highlight one, namely the speech function. Nabaztag for example updates you on the statuses of your Facebook friends. “Nabaztag tells you about things that are good to know, yet now worth the effort of looking up. The typical Web 2.0 info”.
It’s a great idea. By taking Web 2.0 data -such as Last.fm shouts – off the screen with an Ambient Information Device like Nabaztag, they become more accessible for people who are now only interested in content that IS worth the effort looking it up. Haladjian is also using it as a filter for his RSS reader: “Nabaztag is reading the RSS headlines out loud. I look up the ones that sound interesting.”
We’ve learned yet another lesson at LIFT08: next to the fun-factor, gadgets like Nabaztag also have the potential to change the way we use the web.