By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) - OK, I know this sounds ridiculous. But hear me out. An Internet company in Mexico City recently tested the idea of giving responsible pet owners a treat for picking up after their dogs in public parks.
People put their dogs' droppings in a special container which measured the weight of the poop. The container, which doubled as a router, then emitted a set number of minutes of free Wi-Fi for every pound of feces it collected.
Yeah, that's kind of gross. And no, there apparently was nothing stopping Wi-Fi cheaters from putting rocks or other heavy objects in the bins instead of dog poop. But it's yet another example of game mechanics getting tacked on top of the real world we live in - trying to influence our behavior, for better or worse, with rewards. The same kind we give to our pets. FULL POST
Editor's note: Ben Kaufman is the CEO of Quirky.com, which helps inventors bring their ideas to the market. Kaufman is the subject of Sunday's episode of "The Next List," on CNN at 2 p.m. ET.
By Ben Kaufman, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Ninety-nine percent of consumer product companies are incredibly disconnected from the people that they serve. The process of trying to learn about what those people want only creates more distance.
We used to live in a world in which Big Companies made things, and people bought them, sometimes because they were the right things, sometimes because they were the only things. Before the Internet came along, this kind of worked. Before the Web, people’s expectations of how, where and to whom they could express themselves were very low. FULL POST
By The Next List staff, CNN
(CNN) - How many times have you been in the middle of a routine day then - BAM! - a great idea pops into your head. Maybe it's a way to solve some annoying problem or to make a household chore easier. But for almost everyone, the next thought is this: "Never going to happen.”
That’s because bringing a product to market takes so much more than having a great idea. Invention, it sometimes seems, is largely the domain of large corporations, people with access to big time cash or big-time connections.
And that’s where Ben Kaufman comes in. He’s the 25-year-old founder and CEO of Quirky.com, a start-up website that gives would-be inventors a place to go with their ideas.
By Doug Gross, CNN
(CNN) - The winners of the 2012 Webby Awards were announced on Tuesday.
Established in 1996, the Webby Awards are arguably the Internet's best-known honors.
After starting small, the Webbys now hand out more than 100 awards each year.
Many of each year's honorees tend to be celebrities, big companies or well-known online entities. Among this year's big winners are Pinterest (best social media app), photo-sharing app Instagram (breakout of the year), and the comedian Louis C.K., honored by the Webbys for creating "a new precedent for distribution" by releasing his comedy special through his own website.
By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) - Google on Wednesday unveiled something really future-y: Glasses that display digital info on top of the real world.
The prototype glasses project all kinds of information - walking directions, instant messages, phone calls, weather info, calendar reminders and the location of your friends - on the world all around you.
That probably sounds pretty bizarre. So, first, check out Google's vision of how this will look: FULL POST
If you hate waiting for days to get an item that you bought on the Internet, here's some good news. Now you may be able to print the object yourself, at home.
Here’s how it works: You design an object, and then a 3-D printer applies small strands of plastic in thin layers until it’s built your product. These machines have been available for professional use for years, but have only recently become (relatively) affordable for personal use.
By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) - Something strange happened earlier this week: The people of the Internet - not exactly known for their generosity - gave $1 million in a SINGLE DAY to an online game that hasn't even been created yet.
Not only is this a milestone for Kickstarter, the "crowd funding" platform that made these donations possible; it's also an experiment in, as the blog ReadWriteWeb aptly described it, making a game out of the game-making process.
The game is called Double Fine Adventure. As of Friday morning, it had raised $1.2 million on the promise that:
With this project, we're taking that door off its hinges and inviting you into the world of Double Fine Productions, the first major studio to fully finance their next game with a Kickstarter campaign and develop it in the public eye ... This year, you'll be given a front-row seat as they revisit Tim's design roots and create a brand-new, downloadable "Point-and-Click" graphic adventure game for the modern age. FULL POST