Glen Martin

Glen Martin covered science and environment for the San Francisco Chronicle for 17 years, and has freelanced to more than 50 magazines, including Wired, Audubon, Discover, The Utne Reader, Men’s Journal, Science Digest, National Wildlife, BBC Wildlife, Outside, Sierra, The Financialist, Reader's Digest, and publications for the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, Notre Dame University, the University of Colorado, and San Francisco State University. His latest book, Game Changer: Animal Rights and the Fate of Africa's Wildlife, was published in 2012 by the University of California Press.

The evolving purpose of design

Design is about communication and respect as much as function.

For more than a century, design has been determined by its applications to the physical world. As architect Louis Sullivan expressed in an 1896 essay, “
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Wearable intelligence

Establishing protocols to socialize wearable devices.

The age of ubiquitous computing is accelerating, and it’s creating some interesting social turbulence, particularly where wearable hardware is concerned. Intelligent devices other than phones and screens — smart headsets, glasses, watches, bracelets — are insinuating themselves into our daily lives. The technology for even less intrusive mechanisms, such as jewelry, buttons, and implants, exists and will ultimately…
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Let there be (intelligent) light

Smart lighting's greatest impact won't be in connected homes — it will be in commercial and industrial sectors.

New technologies often manifest their most dramatic effects through things that are commonplace, even prosaic. Consider the electric light: it’s ubiquitous and, well, boring. But meld it with some modern technology and you get intelligent lighting — wirelessly networked LED lights augmented by software and sensors. Early adopters have included creators of Las Vegas shows and productions, but in the…
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Resilience over strength

Why the connected world should hang loose.

As we accelerate toward the great convergence of hardware and software — where almost everything we do may be monitored and transformed into commoditized data points — a 1989 observation from novelist and essayist Cynthia Ozick seems increasingly, and uncomfortably, germane: “The passion for inheritance is dead. knowledge — saturated in historical memory — is displaced by information,…
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Death to the screen

Is freedom just another word for a smart environment?

You know the “Next Big Thing” is no longer waiting in the wings when you hear it dissected on talk radio. That’s now the case with the Industrial Internet — or the Internet of Things, or the collision of software and hardware, or the convergence of the virtual and real worlds, or whatever you want to call it….
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Slo-mo for the masses

Thinking about technology in highly disruptive ways has made high-speed videography affordable.

The connectivity of everything isn’t just about objects talking to each other via the Internet. It’s also about the accelerating democratization of formerly elite technology. Yes, it’s about putting powerful devices in touch with each other —…
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I, Cyborg

Being better cyborgs may make us — paradoxically — more human.

There is an existential unease lying at the root of the Internet of Things — a sense that we may emerge not less than human, certainly, but other than human. Well, not to worry. As Kelsey Breseman, engineer at Technical Machine, points out, we don’t…
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More 1876 than 1995

Jim Stogdill explains how the Internet of Things is more on par with the Industrial Revolution than the digital revolution.

Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition of 1876 was America’s first World’s Fair, and was ostensibly held to mark the nation’s 100th birthday. But it heralded the future as much as it celebrated the past, showcasing the country’s strongest suit: technology. The centerpiece of the Expo…
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Drone on

UAVs will rule the skies (unless the FAA says otherwise).

Jeff Bezos’ recent demonstration of a drone aircraft simulating delivery of an Amazon parcel was more stunt than technological breakthrough. We aren’t there yet. Yes, such things may well come to pass, but there are obstacles aplenty to overcome — not so much engineering snags, but cultural and regulatory issues.
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The new bot on the block

How robotics are changing everything

Fukushima changed robotics. More precisely, it changed the way the Japanese view robotics. And given the historic preeminence of the Japanese in robotic technology, that shift is resonating through the entire sector. Before the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami of 2011, the Japanese were focused on “companion” robots, says Rodney Brooks, a former Panasonic Professor of Robotics at MIT, the…
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