A 3-D pen that lets you draw objects in the air
February 21st, 2013
11:43 AM ET

A 3-D pen that lets you draw objects in the air

By Brandon Griggs, CNN

We're all doodlers by nature. Give most people a pen, paper and some down time, and they'll fill the margins with the fruits of their imagination.

But imagine if you could wave a pen in the air and create a three-dimensional rendering: A toy, a sculpture, a crude architectural model.

Soon you will. A Boston-based startup, WobbleWorks, has created what they are calling the world's first 3-D printing pen. It's called the 3Doodler, and it's been a sensation on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site, since it debuted there Tuesday morning. The makers of the 3Doodler set a modest fundraising goal of $30,000; within 48 hours, backers had pledged more than $1.1 million.

"We knew it was a great product. But we didn't expect the response to be this fast," said Daniel Cowen, a spokesman for the gadget, which is still a prototype. "The velocity of the response caught us by surprise. It's phenomenal." FULL POST

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Filed under: Architecture • Art • Design • entrepreneurs • Innovation • Tech
January 4th, 2013
02:35 PM ET

Lino’s Lesson

Editor's Note: Jim McKelvey is an engineer, entrepreneur, artist, environmentalist, co-Founder of Square and Third Degree Glass Factory and general partner of Cultivation Capital. He is a man who embraces challenge in many forms. Tune in Sunday, January 6 at 2 P.M. E.T. to watch The Next List's full 30-minute profile on McKelvey.

By Jim McKelvey, Special to CNN

Most glassblowers agree that one man, Lino Tagliapietra, is the best.

Who’s the most skilled programmer? Who’s the most talented singer? Who’s the smartest attorney? Who knows? But in glass, we all agree that this 80-year-old Italian dude is the best in the world. Imagine what you can learn from someone who is undisputedly the best in the world.

I got to study with the “Maestro” at a time when he took only 10 students a year.

During the week I spent with Lino, every student got to ask him one question. It could be anything. Lino always knew the answer.

Your one question was a big deal. Students either asked ultra-complex technical questions or requested that Lino make the glass behave in ways nobody thought possible.

My question was elementary. I asked the world’s best glassblower how to properly center a foot on a bowl.

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December 13th, 2012
04:39 AM ET

Jim McKelvey: 'People who solve problems are happier'

Who: Jim McKelvey is an engineer, entrepreneur, artist, community activist, environmentalist, and citizen of the world. Co-Founder of Square, Co-Founder of Third Degree Glass Factory, Co-Founder of Mira Publishing, Director of Emerald Automotive, General Partner of Cultivation Capital, he is a man who embraces challenge in many forms. Tune in Sunday, January 6 at 2 P.M. E.T. to watch The Next List's full 30-minute profile on McKelvey.

Why you might know him: McKelvey is most well known as the Co-Founder of Square, the mobile-payment system. In fact, it was his belief that small entrepreneurs endured abuse in the credit world that led Square to focus on payments.

Why he matters: He’s tackling some really tough problems with imagination, passion and grit. Most notably, McKelvey is working on creating a new economic model to help keep the struggling publishing industry alive. Why? Because “that’s meaningful work - people who write, they need every bit of resource they can get.” If that’s not enough, he’s launching an initiative to try to help reduce violence and provide a path to jobs for highly motivated but poorly educated kids in crime-ridden sections of St. Louis.

McKelvey’s philosophy: That any problem can be solved with enough resolve and the right people. Even if a problem was too big yesterday, everything is changing all the time and new tools are available every day to take on even the most complex problems.

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December 7th, 2012
02:39 PM ET

Printing 3D Buildings: Five tenets of a new kind of architecture

Editor’s Note: Neri Oxman is a designer, architect, artist and founder of the Mediated Matter group at MIT’s Media Lab. See Oxman's full 30-minute profile this Sunday 2 P.M. E.T. only on CNN.

By Neri Oxman, Special to CNN

In the future we will print 3D bone tissue, grow living breathing chairs and construct buildings by hatching swarms of tiny robots. The future is closer than we think; in fact, versions of it are already present in our midst.

At the core of these visions lies the desire to potentiate our bodies and the things around us with an intelligence that will deepen the relationship between the objects we use and which we inhabit, and our environment: a Material Ecology.

A new model of the world has emerged over the past few decades: the World-as- Organism. This new model inspires a desire to instill intelligence into objects, buildings and cities. It is a model that stands in contrast to the paradigm of the Industrial Revolution, or the World-as-Machine.

While I believe that the new model will eventually become the new paradigm, it coexists for the time being with the old model: our minds are already at home with this new view of the world, but we still employ the building practices and design traditions that we inherited from the industrial era.

For instance, today’s buildings are made up of modular parts and components that are mass-produced and interchangeable. A furniture piece can easily be replaced by a ready-to-assemble kit of parts while a damaged tooth-root or bone can be replaced by the design of a titanium implant.

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3-D photo booth makes a miniature you
November 15th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

3-D photo booth makes a miniature you

By Heather Kelly, CNN

If you've always wanted a smaller replica of yourself, but are hesitant to commit to the cost and stress of parenthood, there is now an alternative. If you're in Tokyo, you can sit for a 3-D portrait.

Omote 3D Shashin Kan is a pop-up portrait studio that uses a handheld scanner to create a three-dimensional model of your entire body.  A 3-D printer then makes a small, intricately detailed plastic figurine. The final, full-color models look exactly like the larger you, down to the wrinkles on the clothes and part in the hair.

The 3D photo-booth project is part of a photography exhibition at the Eye of Gyre gallery in Tokyo's Harajuku neighborhood. It's the brainchild of PARTY, a young ad, branding and entertainment company based in New York and Tokyo. FULL POST

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October 8th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Japanese artist gives statue monumental abode

Written By Heather M. Higgins, CNN
Video Edited By Nina Raja, CNN

New York - On October 8, the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American heritage will travel up New York's Fifth Avenue in honor of the exploration and the courage that inspired Christopher Columbus’s discovery 520 years ago.

However, just three blocks to the west, residents and tourists have a rare opportunity to discover Columbus for the first time - at a whimsical art installation that has already caused intrigue and irritation within the community.

“When will you ever get the chance to have this face-to-face experience with the monument, the statue of Columbus,” said Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund, a non-profit with a mission to bring dynamic, contemporary art projects to New York City.

“I think it’s a way of creating an intimacy and turning the public into the domestic in a very unique way," Baume continued. “And I think it’s a work about imagination, turning a fiction into a temporary reality.”

Japanese intervention artist Tatzu Nishi’s first major U.S. work, “Discovering Columbus,” places a 13-foot-high icon in the center of a modern American living room six stories above one of the city’s most bustling intersections.

This fresh vantage point offers dramatic views of Central Park and Midtown Manhattan from four loft-style windows. But more importantly, many see this exhibit as a teachable moment about Columbus, the statue, and the circle itself.
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September 18th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Neuroscientist: Progress follows 'lots and lots of ideas'

By The Next List staff, CNN

(CNN) – Whether he’s peering into the mind of a mass murderer or spinning tales of the afterlife, bestselling author and neuroscientist David Eagleman is wrestling with some of the most profound questions of our existence. What is time? What is consciousness? How does the human brain construct reality?

“I’m very interested in the perceptual machinery by which we view the world,” Eagleman says, “and how we make decisions, our beliefs, our actions in the world.”

As head of the Laboratory for Perception and Action at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Eagleman and his students are pursuing some 50 different projects on the human brain. They study topics from time perception and brain plasticity to synesthesia, a condition characterized by a blending of senses. For research assistant and synesthete Hannah Bosley, synesthesia means that she associates letters and numbers with different colors.

“For example,” she says, “the word dog is D-O-G. It’s also yellow, clear and green to me.” FULL POST

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June 1st, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Swap-O-Matic: A vending machine for bartering with just about anything

By Laura Ly, Special to CNN

New York (CNN) - On any given day, the vending machine at Ample Hills Creamery in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, may offer anything from books to original artwork to toys.  If you see something you want, however, no need to take out your wallet.  The ‘Swap-O-Matic’ vending machine allows you to swap and trade items, rather than buy them.

“The Swap-O-Matic recognizes that there is a thrill in getting things.  The vending machine satisfies our desires for instant gratification, but it co-ops it and re-appropriates it to something that is a more sustainable method of acquisition, which is through swapping and trading,” said Lina Fenequito, the creator and primary designer of the ‘Swap-O-Matic.’

Fenequito wanted to call attention to issues of overconsumption and needless waste and aimed to find a creative way to encourage trading and reusing.  For her senior thesis project at Parsons School of Design, she built an earlier, low-tech model.  In August 2011, with the help of visual designer Ray Mancini and electrical engineer Rick Cassidy, Fenequito built upon her thesis project and created a machine with touchscreen capability and digital locks. FULL POST

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May 9th, 2012
01:30 PM ET

Jad Abumrad: radio that's close to filmmaking

When's the last time someone told you about something they heard on the radio?

In an age of constant connectivity, social media and instant-access video, radio seems to literally be old news – a relic of past generations.

But the innovative, wildly popular WNYC-produced show Radiolab is looking like the exception.

"Being on the Internet has only increased our reach and the number of people who consume public radio," says Ira Glass, who hosts NPR's "This American Life," arguably the most popular radio show currently produced.

The Internet has transformed radio into live streams and podcasts. The inherent nature of radio has transitioned from ephemeral to enduring.

Think about it. A podcast by its very nature is permanent. It has an address – a url. It can be searched and, more importantly, downloaded. Listeners can 'own it,' play it repeatedly and share it with friends.

Traditionally radio has also been a social binder – families gathered around the radio to listen to the lastest news, fisted-clinched sports fans  listening with eager ear to last inning of the ballgame. But today its digitalization is making radio a more personal experience.

"When you're on a podcast you're deep into someone's ear canal. Maybe they're on the subway, maybe they're jogging, or maybe they're just sitting there," says Jad Abumrad, co-creator and host of Radiolab.

"Somehow you own them in a way you don't on the radio," says Jad Abumrad about how his work can engage his audience more deeply. "So subconsciously that gives us permission to do all kinds of things."

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Why Rube Goldberg machines still matter in 2012
May 7th, 2012
06:48 PM ET

Why Rube Goldberg machines still matter in 2012

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Rube Goldberg machines - those contraptions that, like the board game Mouse Trap, aim to accomplish a simple task in a needlessly complex way - don't really fit in an age obsessed with efficiency and perfection.

Yet, online, these fun-to-watch systems do seem to have incredible currency. Think OK Go music videos, for starters.

The machine below, called Mini-Melvin, caught my eye this week. Housed inside two suitcases, Mini-Melvin employs an alarm clock, a smartphone, a child's xylophone, a toy train and many other trinkets - all to stamp a short message on a postcard.

Check out the video below:

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