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One-stop event tech idea cheatsheet

"If this happens do that" is a very common scenario for in-person physical events and is the bedrock of many many different activations.

Instead of going through higher-level ideas like we've done in previous posts, today we're going switch it up and share our brainstorming mind-map of low-level triggers you can use to generate your own activation ideas.

Consider these suggestions the building blocks of in-person experiences when you want participants to interact with something on-site. When you're trying to think of something new, run through them to prompt some ideas.


Use hardware sensors to detect interactions

  • Light - "try get a hole in one on the putting green"
  • Acceleration - "who can swing the sword the fastest?"
  • Force - "who can hit the punching bag the hardest"
  • Distance - "guess how far away a penalty spot is"
  • Temperature - "you're warm - cool down with a refreshing beverage"
  • Sound - "who can hit the high note?"
  • Weight - "place 1KG of coins here to win"


Use hardware inputs to kick off activations.

  • Buttons - "answer true or false by pressing the button"
  • Levers - "pull here to activate the fruit machine"
  • Switches - "toggle the switches in the right order to defuse the bomb"
  • Dials
  • Musical instruments - "record your tune to be in with a chance to win"

Power & actuators

Hardware the can move things, open things and power things on command.

  • Remote power switches - "turn on the Christmas tree lights"
  • Remote locks - "guess the right code to open the safe box and win"
  • Pumps - "remotely activate the SuperSoaker water gun"
  • Actuator - "activate the spookey ghost to scare a passerby"

Codes & scanners

Use hardware sensors to detect all sort of different outcomes.

  • Barcodes - "show your ticket to see if you've won a prize"
  • RFID - track mini-marathon runners and show personalised messages or timings.
  • QR Codes - "get this receipe online"


Use common camera vision techniques to interact with people at events.

  • Gesture detection - have your activation greet somebody when they wave at the camera
  • Motion detection - light up the activation when somebody approaches.
  • Crowd counting - give different responses to different groups of people.
  • Face detection - “smile to send a message”


Use novel screens to allow people to interact on-site.

  • Interactive glass - place activations behind shop windows while allowing the public to interact
  • Tablets in kiosk - allow for autonomous activations without the need for brand ambassadors
  • Touch-screen TVs - have bigger and better interactions with large TVs or monitors
  • LED scrollers - have social media or SMS messages appear in real time

User device sensors

Make use of what's already in peoples' hands.

  • NFC - "beep your phone on a barcode scanner to receive a sample or freebie"
  • Bluetooth beacons - "come inside to see our latest deals"
  • Location - "you're only 5 meters away from the secret stash"

Social media

Use social media APIs to detect when your tag or event is mentioned and trigger some sort of event when it happens (play a video, set off an alarm, light up a tree, …)

  • Twitter
  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

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