How about a little chit chat while you hydrate? Y&R, New York, and digital agency VML, New York, collaborated with the Partnership for a Healthier America to create a water fountain that starts talking when drinkers’ lips touch the water. It’s part of a new campaign to promote Drink Up, an initiative to encourage Americans to drink more H20….
The chatty dispenser, built with the help of interactive design collective YesYesNo, provides actual incentive to keep drinking. The talking stops every time the thirsty pedestrians’ lips leave the stream of water. Those curious as to where the fountain’s pep talk is going or how it’s going to end have to keep drinking to find out. “The more you drink, the more content you listen to,” said Harsh Kapadia, a senior creative at VML New York.
The fountain began as a less sophisticated prototype. The VML team used Arduino, MaKey MaKey and Raspberry Pi — hardware pieces that run on low voltages and plug into software — along with alligator clips to set up an in-office demonstration with cups of water and sample sound bites. “We did a lot of testing to see how long people drink water so we could line up audio files to it,” said Mr. Kapadia. If words ended too abruptly, the voiceover would have to work hard to correct his diction and maintain his cadence.
Making sure the water condensed properly was also a concern, if it was too hot, it would not be enjoyable; if too cold, it could ruin all of the electronics inside. The perfect setting ended up being just a little cooler than room temperature
…For the campaign launch, Y&R placed one fountain at New York City’s popular Brooklyn Bridge Park with cameras hidden close by to catch people’s startled reactions. “We put it in a busy public space where it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary and people are likely to drink up,” Y&R creative director Bruce Jacobson explained.
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