February 29th, 2012
01:58 PM ET

Yves Behar: Shooting with CNN

Editor's Note: Yves Behar is a designer, entrepreneur, founder of the design firm Fuseproject and Chief Creative Officer of the wearable technology company Jawbone.  Behar is one of the most foremost industrial designers in the world.  Mostly known for designing MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child $100 laptop.

By Yves Behar, Special to CNN

CNN’s "Next List" producer Elise Zeiger and three cameramen appeared in my office on the coldest day of the warmest winter in San Francisco’s human memory. The plan was four days of tracking my life, including design brainstorms, riding bicycles on The Embarcadero and even a surf session.

In the morning, I met Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who had just flown from Los Angeles. He was visibly chilly on the banks of San Francisco Bay. We chatted about his recent fire-eating performance, and very quickly a small swarm of Sanjay admirers formed around us. We jumped on the local three-wheeler bikes that my team at Fuseproject recently designed. We did this both to escape the crowd and to get the conversation going. We immediately realized the main advantage of the very stable ride: We could talk, laugh, gesticulate and have an in-depth discussion about design - all while on the lightweight cargo-style bicycles.

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Filed under: Art • Design • Tech • The Next List • Video
February 28th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

A social entrepreneur in action

From his hometown in Western Kenya to the mega-slums of Nairobi, Dan Ogola has blazed a trail of opportunity in some of his country’s poorest regions. Using health and education as his tools, he’s launched new businesses, created jobs and inspired a generation to better their lives by taking better care of themselves.

Raised in poverty, Dan witnessed the connection between poor health and hopelessness from an early age. Dr. Hernando Garzon, Director of Global Health services for California’s Kaiser Permanente, sees it as well. “We learned a long time ago that if you have an unhealthy community the potential for economic development is less. So if people are out, sick days, if children are not attending school because of illness and high illness rates, the chances for economic development and prosperity are less.”

As founder and director of The Matibabu Foundation, an indigenous health and education initiative serving some 60,000 Kenyans, Dan's ability to recognize the talent often overlooked in poor communities has led to an economic boom in his hometown. But for this agent of change, success is about more than money. “ I want to communicate the health situation of my people with anybody,” Ogola told The Next List. “It’s something that I love, so I don’t need to force myself to see it. Anytime I meet you, I want to share with you, I’m Dan Ogola. I come from this community. And I don’t say it when I’m shy. I say it with a lot of vigor, because I love my community.”

“We are just trying to make a difference in our own community,” he adds. “The goodwill that we have, yes, those make Matibabu truly unique.”

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Filed under: The Next List • Video
February 28th, 2012
01:53 PM ET

Kinect-powered shopping cart follows you around, knows what you're buying

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Here's a cool demo from a group called Chaotic Moon Studios:

In the clip, which a reporter from GeekWire filmed at a Microsoft event on Monday, a Whole Food shopping cart follows a shopper around and helps him complete his shopping list. The cart appears to be equipped with a tablet computer that's connected to an Microsoft Kinect motion-sensing camera.

The camera scans items as they go into the cart and checks them off of a shopping list. When the man in the demo finishes shopping, it says: "That completes the items on your shopping list."

It also knows a thing or two about the shopper's preferences. In the demo, a man puts a box of spaghetti into the cart only to be scolded by the talking machine.

"Note you have indicated you prefer gluten-free. This item contains gluten."

Then it helps him find a similar product that does not contain gluten.

Oh, and it's motorized. The camera senses your location and then - with a few hiccups, as the demo shows - follows you around the store. (This sounds awesome on its face but might be a nightmare on a crowded Sunday afternoon, when grocery stores can look like scenes from a zombie apocalypse).

It's unclear when if ever this technology will actually show up in stores. Libba Letton, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods, said the company provided the shopping cart and is interested in the technology but has no immediate plans to implement it.  "Whole Foods is always trying new stuff," she said.

She gave credit for the invention to Austin-based Chaotic Moon Studios, which has come up with all kinds of wacky and cool ways to use Xbox Kinect cameras. Check out this video clip of a mind-controlled skateboard, for instance. They call it the "board of imagination."

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Filed under: Design • Innovation • Tech
Future phones: packed with new features but 'hopelessly dorky'
February 28th, 2012
09:44 AM ET

Future phones: packed with new features but 'hopelessly dorky'

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - If you've been following Mobile World Congress, the tech show happening this week in Barcelona, Spain, you've heard a lot about the technical specifications of the new class of smartphones.

They're faster, bigger - and one has a 41-megapixel camera.

Lost in all of the talk of photo resolution and processing power, however, is a glaring trend: Phones also are getting super nerdy. FULL POST

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Filed under: Innovation • Smartphones • Tech
February 24th, 2012
01:15 PM ET

Yves Behar: Good design 'accelerates the future'

By Yves Behar, Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Yves Behar is a designer, entrepreneur and founder of the firm Fuseproject. One of the most influential designers in the world, he's know for designing the $100 laptop as part of Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child project. He's also Chief Creative Officer of the wearable technology company Jawbone. Behar will be featured on CNN's The Next List on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

(CNN) - Why Design?

Having one foot in design, and the other in sustainable and social projects, I hear this question quite often: “Why does the world need another chair?” My answer is that the world needs another chair/bicycle/car or any new product for that matter, like the world needs another book. The human and environmental factors of today are changing, and just like books that reflect our psyche, products need to evolve to reflect our needs.

The next 20 years will see a radical change in the way that everything is made, shipped and consumed. Sustainability will be a key driver, but another is how companies relate to their customers through social and environmental leadership. Finally, the experience of any product or service will need to be delightful, attainable, and intelligent. Design is a big part of this holistic approach: How things are made, how things interact with the world, how things delight is at the core of what designers do.

I am passionate about what design can do - how far it can support the new ideas and the new ways of living of this 21st Century. Good design accelerates this exciting future where manufacturing is local, materials and processes are cradle to cradle, business models are both socially and financially driven.I truly believe that everything Sci-fi taught me as a child about an efficient and wondrous world will be happening in my lifetime.

The work ahead is both humbling and full of promise. Let’s get to it.

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Filed under: Design • Innovation • The Next List • Video
A real-time 'Seaview' of the Great Barrier Reef
February 23rd, 2012
06:19 PM ET

A real-time 'Seaview' of the Great Barrier Reef

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Google's Street View makes it possible for Internet users to travel virtually to the peaks of mountains, the depths of the Amazon rainforest and the halls of famous art museums (maybe it's time to change the name from Street View?).

Now the tech giant is going to help a scientific research group broadcast images of an unprecedented, robot-enabled expedition to Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Called the Catlin Seaview Survey, the research project will use 360-degree cameras to film the reef in an unprecedented way, traveling from the surface to depths of more than 300 feet, the group said in a press release Thursday.

Some of the images will be broadcast live on Google's social network, Google+. The group also plans to release thousands of "360-degree underwater panoramas, which, when stitched together, will all people to choose a location, dip underwater and go for a virutal dive at all of the locations visited by the expedition." FULL POST

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Filed under: Environment • Innovation • Science • Tech
February 23rd, 2012
04:02 PM ET

The magic of making: Dale Dougherty on CNN's 'The Next List'

Dale Dougherty believes everyone is a maker. Whether you're into cooking or art or you're someone who tinkers in the garage, we all have the ability to make something that has meaning to us. Dougherty is on a mission to empower people to make what’s important to them.

CNN's "The Next List" recently featured this leader of the "maker" movement. Take a look at these videos to see what he's all about.

 

And here's some background: Dougherty organizes a yearly event called Maker Faire, where people gather to show off their projects and creative concoctions. He publishes Make magazine, which is jam-packed with fantastic do-it-yourself projects – everything from making squishy circuits to building your own robot. And now he’s taking his make philosophy into classrooms across the country, with Makerspace where Dale wants to empower teachers and students to make things – whatever they want! Dale is at the helm of a full-on movement.

Are you ready to join?

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Filed under: Innovation • Science • Tech • The Next List • Video
This London advertisement knows your gender
February 22nd, 2012
11:41 AM ET

This London advertisement knows your gender

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Here's a creepy-cool development in the marketing world:

A billboard that went up on Wednesday in London uses facial-recognition technology to know - 90% of the time - whether you're a man or woman. And it gives you a different advertisement depending on your gender.

Women who walk up to the billboard, which is located at a London bus stop and will be viewable for two weeks, are greeted with a 40-second film explaining the plight of women and girls in poor countries around the world, who often are denied eduction and opportunities that are afforded to men. FULL POST

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Filed under: Innovation • Social change • Tech
Report: Google is developing 'Terminator' glasses
Apps already use augmented reality technology; glasses would take the concept further.
February 22nd, 2012
11:06 AM ET

Report: Google is developing 'Terminator' glasses

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Looks like we're all about to get way more familiar with the concept of "augmented reality."

According to a report on The New York Times' Bits blog, Google is developing a set of glasses that will display digital information on top of the real world. Or, for the pop-culture inclined, they're making "Terminator" glasses.

Here are some details from the report, which CNN has not confirmed: FULL POST

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Filed under: Google • Smartphones • Tech
Look, no hands! The driverless future of driving is here
The driverless car 'Made in Germany' (MIG), being put through its paces at Berlin's Tempelhof airport, October 13, 2010.
February 22nd, 2012
07:27 AM ET

Look, no hands! The driverless future of driving is here

By Doug Gross, CNN

Will there be a time in our lives when cars don’t crash? When a Mustang can warn a BMW that it’s changing lanes – or when we can just sit back and relax and our cars will drive themselves?

Auto technology experts say “yes." And they say that some of those advances may happen quicker than you might think.

“We are seeing just seismic changes as we speak,” said Scott Belcher, president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. FULL POST

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Filed under: Future • Innovation • Science • Tech
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