Thirsty pedestrians in Brooklyn and Manhattan may have been a little startled recently when they took a sip from an unassuming water fountain. Rather than the usual drink-and-dash experience, drinkers found that the H2O dispensers actually started talking to them.
The talking "Drink Up" fountains are part of the #spreadthewater iniative created out of Y&R and VML New York, for the Partnership for a Healthier America. They strike up conversation only when drinkers' lips touch the water --which is the point because the campaign's aim is to get Americans to do more good for their bodies, simply by drinking more water.
The VML team used Arduino, MaKey MaKey and Raspberry Pi -- hardware pieces that run on low voltages and plug into software-- an synced them to carefully sound bites while prototyping the fountain. They tested the average amounts of time people spend drinking at water fountains in order to improve the voiceover's delivery and sync the recordings. From there, interactive design collective YesYesNo built the final product.
For more on the campaign. Read the Behind the Work story on Ad Age.com.