The world is your playground, quite literally. And it's about to get even more fun. Stop Smile Stroll is a new concept for the Playable City Award from design and technology consultancy Hirsch & Mann. The interactive crossing design encourages pedestrians to dance, rather than walk, across roads 'bringing strangers together for a serendipitous shared moment'.
What's the best thing to do in a playground? Play games of course. PokémonGo has already turned the world into an augmented Poké jungle. Central Park offers its own 'Pokémon Go Safari'. Using the same AR technology, start-up Snatch has partnered with brands from Topshop to Marmite, to transform streets into a virtual treasure hunt. Players grab hidden parcels, then protect them from other players who are trying to snatch them. There's no wonder a town in the Netherlands is trialling special pavement lights designed to help smartphone addicts cross the road safely.
We're not just gamifying our cities, we're doing the same to our products too. Sound Scouts was winner of the SXSW Accelerator Event in the Health and Wearables category. In collaboration with Australia's National Acoustic Laboratories, the start-up has gamified a test to identify hearing problems that can affect a child's ability to learn, communicate and socialise. The children don't even know they're being tested. Similarly Alvio has turned controlling asthma into a game. A breathing trainer that acts like a game controller connects to a digital blowfish. By inhaling and exhaling kids can move the blowfish through the sea completing challenges.
"Imagine what the world looks like with a 5G network streaming latency free gaming to every device you own...The length of distance I drive in my Tesla on the way to work might mean that I get more juice in Need For Speed...A world where games and life start to blend," said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, in his interview 'Your life will be a video game' for The Verge.
Yet this shouldn't come as a surprise. Seemingly everything - from dating to cooking to exercise - now has a digital companion helping users to track, rate and motivate. The launch of the world's first smart condom - the i.Con - shows just how little remains sacred.
When does playtime stop being fun? China's Sesame Credit is a score to show how good a citizen you are. If you're thinking about that Black Mirror episode where your social media rating affects everything from the house you can rent to the friends you keep, then you've pretty much got it. Sesame Credit scans your social data, purchasing behaviour, it even scans your friends (you lose points for having friends with low Sesame scores). Welcome to Big Brother's kinder, gentler hand.
As the world continues to become more gamified, the question is, are you ready to play?