On the expo floor
Today I visited the expo at our ASTD International Conference and Exposition, where 340 booths represent a wide range of companies from all over the world. I talked with a handful of them but at least glanced at all of them.
The booth that's drawing the most attention is an oxygen bar. You can inhale oxygen mixed with aromatherapy (orange and peppermint, lavender and tangerine, cranberry, or mountain berry) to feel energized and to detoxify. I'm not sure how well it worked on me--I mainly felt a tickling feeling in my nose as the oxygen went in. But it was fun to try because I'd heard of oxygen bars but never experienced one.
The same company also offers a live animated character, "Dr. D", who interacts with attendees via a flat-panel screen and wireless camera. He is created by a "virtual puppeteer," a human with electrodes on his face to register his expressions.
Giveaways are always popular at expos. This year's favorites are Gillegan's Island bobbleheads ("your e-learning data won't be lost on a three-hour tour"); green sponge dinosaurs("don't buy a dinosaur--go ASP"); and blinky smiley faces and squishy brains. There is also a lot of candy offered, as usual.
New or different offerings or booths I noticed on my rapid tour of the expo floor:
-- interactive whiteboards (you can project images from your computer and then write on them)
-- experiential training through drumming
-- interactive training games for PowerPoint using remote controls
-- an ergonomic flipchart/whiteboard that moves up and down, has pockets for pens and other materials, and has no rounded edges
-- corporate space camp!