News & Views

Most Contagious / London / Ivan Poupyrev

by Contagious Team

After his success in speaking at our previous Now / Next / Why session in New York, we've invited Disney Research's Principal Research Scientist, Ivan Poupyrev to join us on stage at Most Contagious in London on December 11.

What new technologies will you be talking about at Most Contagious?

I am going to discuss some of the technologies that I talked about in New York to share them with London audience. This includes our work on sensors, such as Touche and interactive plants, as well as REVEL, the tactile feedback display we developed last year. I will also present our most recent work on free air tactile feedback interfaces, where you can feel objects in free air, and novel energy generation techniques which allow to create electrical power by rubbing pieces of paper and thin sheets of plastics and then turn on displays and control devices with it.

Why has Disney been researching these technologies? What is the competitive advantage for Disney as a brand?

Creating new and compelling experiences is important for Disney, therefore I believe that any technologies that can help to achieve this are important for the company.

What are the creative possibilities for other brands of these technologies?

Creating experiences has become the most important medium for communicating with the customers for any company. In the world that is always "on", it is not sufficient anymore to simply tell people how great something is. People must feel it, experience it. Those brands that can achieve this will thrive.
What do you think is the most exciting area of research currently, and why?

The days when there were one or two areas of research that were "hot" and that were supposed to be the "thing" to do, are gone. We are moving in a new territory where innovation is expanding exponentially in multiple fields and in parallel. Just look at any indicator that may be used to quantify innovation: e.g. the number of patents or research papers published, or others. We cannot just say "plastics" or "internet" anymore, it is wearabales, implantables, personal data tracking, synthetic biology, robotics, energy harvesting, printed and flexible electronics, additive manufacturing, quantum computing, big data and the list can go on and on. In all these fields the changes that are happening are nothing short of revolutionary. I myself feel like a kid in a candy store, so many amazing things I can do.
How will these technologies change our everyday lives, do you think?

We were supposed to have flying cars in the year 2000 and it did not happen. Most of the predictions except for the most trivial ones are always wrong. But there are some clear technological trends that are unavoidable: one of them is that digital computing and experiences are moving into the real world into everyday objects, environments, human body, the world is not going to be analogue anymore, you call it the World 2.0. How that happens and how exactly it is going to be manifested, what technologies have to be invented to make it happen and what are the killer apps, these are all gazillion dollar questions and, therefore, even if I knew the answer, I would probably not tell it. But the reality is that I do not think anyone really knows, at this point we are just painting the dots, we are not connecting them yet.

Purchase tickets via Eventbrite,or if you are a Contagious Feed or Magazine subscriber, contact to take advantage of your discount.

Most Contagious will also be taking place in New York on the same day, where Google Glass' head of marketing, Ed Sanders, designer Richard Seymour and Julia Schwarz will all be speaking.

For more information on the event, or to book tickets, email