Cannes Lions is upon us, a.k.a. the Oscars of advertising and creativity. In just a few days, the creative industry's largest egos will descend upon Cannes, France. There they will schmooze, listen to inspiring speakers and party on yachts. A select few of the 15,000 attendees will accept highly sought after trophies.
In the running for the 2017 Innovation Lions are 35 campaigns and projects from around the world. Thirteen of those shortlisted are from the United States. AdWeek rounded up all 13 projects, which were created by tech companies, advertising agencies and in-house teams. It's a mix of expected players such as Google and Intel and surprising ones like the U.S. Postal Service and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Here are a few of our favorites.
Intel's Super Bowl Drone Light Show
Remember the drones during Lady Gaga's Super Bowl halftime show? ICYM, while Lady Gaga began her performance, hundreds of choreographed drones light up the sky behind her. Intel engineered a new drone that could sync up with other drones in flight.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre's Production of The Tempest
Can Shakespeare and technology mix? The Royal Shakespeare Theatre proves they absolutely can. In the theatre's performance of The Tempest, Intel collaborated with theatre production company Imaginarium to bring digital magic to the stage. It was all in motion-sensor technology, similar to how the character Gollum was brought to life in Lord of the Rings. Intel captured real-time information from the suit worn by the actor, then projected it during the performance. New York Times described it as "high-tech puppetry."
Google's Tilt Brush
This might be the most creative use of VR technology we've seen yet. Put on VR headset. Grab your brush. Artists are no longer limited by a one-dimensional canvas. With Google's Title Brush, you can paint in 3D. The app itself is only $19.99. But to try it out, of course you'll need an Oculus Rift ($499.99) or HTC Vive ($799.)
U.S. Postal Service's Blue Box
Snail mail gets an upgrade. Got a letter to mail but no stamp? No problem. Just walk it to a smart Blue Box and talk to it to buy a stamp by talking to it. It's powered by solar panels and uses AI technology to talk and listen in 37 languages. The smart boxes weigh items and give them the appropriate postage. They're designed to fit on the 150,000 USPS blue mailboxes around the country, though I couldn't find where any actually exist.
Whirlpool's ZERA Food Recycler
The sleek, unobtrusive kitchen appliance looks just like an expensive garbage can. But inside, it's kind of like a mini-composter, turn your food scraps into nutrient-rich fertilizer. ZERA can turn a week's worth of food waste into fertilizer in 24 hours and helps to deflect methane-producing waste from landfills. It's available for pre-order on Indiegogo, but it'll cost you $1,199.