In­no­va­tion of the week

The Week (US) - - News -

Car­ni­val Corp. is pop­u­lat­ing its ships with vir­tual avatars that fol­low pas­sen­gers through­out a cruise, said John Gau­diosi in Wired.com. The avatars, or “Ta­ga­longs”—each takes the form of a sea tur­tle, sea­horse, or an­gelfish, which pas­sen­gers can then cus­tom­ize to their lik­ing—ap­pear on screens that pas­sen­gers pass by, and even on their cell­phones. They are ac­ti­vated by a “Medal­lion,” a poker chip–size to­ken worn as a neck­lace or bracelet. The chips were in­tro­duced last year with 7,000 sen­sors wired into the 19 decks of Car­ni­val’s Caribbean Princess. Now the en­tire Princess fleet of 17 ships has been retro­fit­ted to ac­com­mo­date them. Car­ni­val hopes that even­tu­ally the “very de­sign of fu­ture cruise ships could evolve based on both the feed­back” from the ubiq­ui­tous sen­sors and pas­sen­gers’ in­ter­ac­tions with the Ta­ga­longs.

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