22-YEAR-OLD MINI MASCOT, THE ENGLISH BULLDOG CALLED SPIKE, IS TRANSFORMED INTO AN ONBOARD DIGITAL ASSISTANT
MINI is a British premium automotive brand, and it makes sense then that when the need arose (did it really?) for a digital assistant it would be based on something very British - like the beloved bulldog. Guessing that’s thanks to old Winston Churchill. Spike has been a MINI mascot of sorts since the modern MINI was introduced back in 2001, and his current incarnation was recently revealed to the world, the iconic pet has been reimagined and brought to life in the digital world to guide drivers through the operating concept of the future MINI model family. Thanks to its compact and powerful stature, British heritage and likeable nature, the bulldog was considered the perfect animal equivalent of the MINI. The MINI Design Team developed Spike from an initial sketch into a versatile companion that draws attention beyond just the vehicle. Spike has already been staged as an art toy as part of the world premiere of the MINI Concept Aceman. Art toys are independent works of art that combine elements of toys and sculptures in the style of urban pop culture. MINI is enabling comprehensive insights into the digital world of the new model family and Spike’s diverse functions help owners navigate the onboard systems that can be a little daunting at times.
Spike just made his first major appearance at the Auto Shanghai international trade fair in China, where he will become an art toy welcoming visitors to the MINI stand as a large-format sculpture. He will also appear as an active protagonist in the cockpit of the new MINI Concept Aceman. The new Spike mode sets the perfect stage for the digital companion, which is presented to the public for the first time on the circular OLED central display and dashboard. “MINI will always be synonymous with emotions and remarkable experiences,” said Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design. “That’s why we are now taking Spike into the future as a digital character. And he is not just a design experiment – he is becoming a characterful companion for the user experience.” Wherever Spike appears, he delivers unexpected experiences and exciting encounters and will no doubt be a hit with kids. Spike is not just a design experiment, he’s a companion that has been designed to enhance and add a personal touch to the driving experience - basically turning a MINI car into a giant, mobile Tamagochi. We can’t help but wonder if Spike will be a possible distraction while driving, but the men in white coats will have likely have already thought of that and put measures in place to keep all the car’s occupants safe.
Take a look at the YouTube video that shows a little about the new onboard digital assistant for new MINI models in the near future - a cool animated English Bulldog that's pretty much the car version of that weird little paperclip assistant you used to find in Microsoft Word years back: MINI Spike - a new digital assistant makes its debut | CWMedia
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