frank's blog

Hello Future – The Bionic Exoskeleton

Posted in innovation, pioneers, quality by aldorf on January 5, 2012

Ekso is the bionic exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to stand and walk.

How it works
Guided by a clinician, Ekso utilizes four electromechanical motors and
an intelligent algorithm to provide patients with a smooth natural gait.

It will debut in rehabilitation centers in early 2012
and enable users to stand, walk, make turns and sit.


Invoked Computing For Ubiquitous AR – Complete Change of Perspective

Posted in design, innovation, pioneers by aldorf on December 5, 2011

We currently place a lot of emphasis on the digital gadgets we own.

What if we were looking at the wrong paradigm and it’s not about the form factor or the physical object?

What if instead was all about what we wanted to do and achieve?

Welcome to the world of Invoked Computing from the University of Tokyo.

Think of the consequences…

1. All the stuff we could get rid of.
2. The environmental benefits of doing that
3. The lamented demise of the electronics product designer and product design (via Core 77)

Tangible Programming Game Designed For Kids

Posted in design, pioneers, quality by aldorf on October 25, 2011


T-Maze is a tangible programming game designed for kids under 6 years old.

The mission of the game is to help young kids to learn computational thinking while playing games.

In the game, children need to manipulate a group of tangible blocks (with certain semantic meaning) to program a route to lead the role escape from the maze.

This project is done by Huaishu Peng @ Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Software

Quantum Levitation [Video]

Posted in conference, design, innovation, pioneers, quality by aldorf on October 25, 2011

Wow that’s awesome! This video from The University of Tel-Aviv showing a disc of yttrium barium copper oxide floating due to quantum levitation. It’s pretty crazy …

 

 

Wow! Microsoft Builds A Functioning ‘Holodesk’

Posted in film, innovation, pioneers by aldorf on October 20, 2011

It’s a start but – wow – that’s amazing and something the world has been waiting for since 1987. It’s not quite a Holodeck, but it’s tantalizingly close.

The reasearch arm of Microsoft, unlike the rest of the company, spends its days spinning crazed dreams into hacked reality.

Today Microsoft Research released a rather fascinating demonstration of one of its projects, what it calls a ‘holodesk,’ which has the potential to change the way we physically interact with digital items. Sounds trippy? That’s because it is. The user, looking down on a pane of glass, sees items (balls, blocks, whatever) on that screen. With their hands underneath the glass, they can move their appendages and digits and prod those images as if they were directly touching them.

It’s a bridge, essentially, between the physical and the digital. Microsoft dubs the idea at the “research project” stage only, so don’t get your hopes up about getting one for yourself. And of course, it uses a Kinect.

Now, if this is only a research project, why does it matter? Microsoft, as a company, is working on all fronts to build on what it calls ‘natural user interfac[ing].” What this means is that the firm is looking past the keyboard and mouse (blasphemy) and is instead working with touch, voice, and so forth. This is especially important in the tablet world that the company is so desperately behind in.

it’s hard not to wish that more of what Microsoft Research was market-ready. (via thenextweb)

“To Do Good, You First Have To Do Something.”

Posted in inspiration, pioneers, Quotes Of The Day by aldorf on August 2, 2011

[Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia]

I recommend reading his book Let My People Go Surfing” 

Just incredible! Robot flies like a bird

Posted in Animation, innovation, pioneers by aldorf on July 27, 2011

 

Absolut energy efficient. Mucho respect for these modern day Da Vinci’s at Festo!

“Creativity, Collaboration and Hacking” – Thoughts Shared by Caterina Fake

Posted in art, conference, design, inspiration, Media, pioneers by aldorf on June 2, 2011

This was her intro to 7 on 7 – Connectin Art & Technology. Make sure to check out their event website 

(by Caterina Fake)

When I was in college, I wrote a paper about a poem, “The Book of Ephraim”, that was about a couple that spent years talking to spirits on a Ouija board, communing with the shades of poets, emperors, and friends. I’d never tried a Ouija board before, but I drew one on a piece of paper and used an overturned teacup to try it out with my friends. Amazing things happened as a result: we recorded conversations with dead army generals from Prussia who’d climbed Kilimanjaro, and conjured a mysterious spirit who spoke only in riddles. It was an addictive activity. Hours would go by, story after story would be told, and eventually the candle, set up for atmosphere, would gutter out, or we had to stop and eat, or pee, or write another paper, or go to sleep.

I didn’t believe (and I don’t think my friends believed) that we were actually talking to spirits, but something much more interesting has happening: my subconscious and the subconscious of my friend were working together to tell a story, a story we couldn’t have made up on our own, but which we were both contributing to.

If you’ve ever been in a band, or played a sport, or danced, or done anything with other people — even started a company! — you’ll know what I’m talking about. You make up a riff, and then the bass player picks up the riff, and then the drummer makes a variation on the theme, reversing it, and you jam on it and make sweet, sweet music together. Hours go by, you are lost in the flow, or the zone, or the jam, or whatever you want to call it. You know when this is happening with your hockey team, when you’re reaching a sublime level of banter at the dinner table, even when your flirting is really hitting the mark. Your subconscious is working together with someone else’s, time vanishes, peace prevails on earth, and everyone is dissolved together into the great, unimpeachable and omnipotent Is.

Hacking and art-making are like this, especially when done together — an artist-hacker matched with a hacker-artist for the day — to jam, invent, make things, do stuff, and have ideas. Both technology and art are about making things new and seeing things new, and the way to arrive at the new is a collaborative, mysterious and Ouija-like process.

This is what Seven on Seven is, and what Rhizome has created for us, here, today. It’s a risky undertaking because you pretty much have to go with your first idea. And your partner — maybe you know her, maybe you don’t. What if you are unable to get in the groove? What if you’re classical and she’s jazz? He’s Rails and She’s Python?

What’s fun about this project, this format and this day is we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. It’s a lark, a plunge. We’re in the middle of the creative process, not the end. It’s a leap-of-faith, seed-stage, put good people together and see what happens day. The seven technologists and the seven artists here today are the top of their respective fields, and they’ve hacked and improv’d their way through the past day.

The assembled awesomeness is inspiring and Lauren has set the scene, a locus for scenius. What do we have? A blank sheet of paper, a Ouija board, an overturned teacup, two people and their imaginations. Or an iPad, a keyboard, Ruby on Rails, some wires, two people and their imaginations.

And our own curiosity, amazement and surprise.

The Startup Genome Report – Patterns Of Successful Internet Startups

Posted in innovation, internet, pioneers, quality by aldorf on May 30, 2011
The Startup Genome Project team came together 3 months ago to attempt to crack the “innovation code” of Silicon Valley and share it with the rest of the world. They just released the first Startup Genome Report— a 67 page in depth analysis on what makes Silicon Valley startups successful based on profiling over 650 startups.
The report was co-authored by Berkeley & Stanford faculty members along with other contributors including Steve Blank, the Sandbox Network team & the blackbox team.

Few findings:

1. The value-add that investors claim to offer in an operational capacity has little to no effect.

2. Startups that pivot once or twice have 3.6 times better user growth than startups who pivot three times or more. Startups that never pivot under-perform startups that pivot once or twice.
3. Startups without a technical cofounder are 80% more likely to scale prematurely, have 152% less user growth and need 45% longer to reach product market fit than startups with 1 technical cofounder.
4. Founders generally underestimate how long it will take to validate a market by 100 to 200 percent.
Read more at startupgenome.cc
Or benchmark your own start-up here»

Grow Your Own Clothes – Experiments with Kombucha-Based Material

Posted in art, fashion, food, innovation, pioneers by aldorf on May 11, 2011

Designer Suzanne Lee shares her experiments in growing a kombucha-based material that can be used like fabric or vegetable leather to make clothing. The process is fascinating, the results are beautiful (though there’s still one minor drawback …) and the potential is simply stunning.

Fashion designer Suzanne Lee directs the BioCouture research project, which sprang from an idea in her book Fashioning the Future: Tomorrow’s Wardrobe, a seminal text on fashion and future technologies. Her research harnesses nature to propose a radical future fashion vision: Can we grow a dress from a vat of liquid?

Using bacterial-cellulose, Lee aims to address pressing ecological and sustainability issues around fashion and beyond. A Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, she is working with scientists to investigate whether synthetic biology can engineer optimized organisms for growing future consumer products

“I’m also creating new bacterial-cellulose composite swatches looking at eco-substrates like hemp. This month I’m teaching an exciting project exploring systems and synthetic biology to postgraduate textile and industrial design students alongside eminent scientists from Cambridge University.” Suzanne Lee

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