Jon Bruner

Jon Bruner is a data journalist who approaches questions that interest him by writing and coding. Before coming to O'Reilly, where he is editor-at-large, he was data editor at Forbes Magazine. He lives in New York, where he can occasionally be found at the console of a pipe organ.

The new hardware movement at CES 2016

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: Observations from the Consumer Electronics Show.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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David Cranor and I have devoted this episode of the Hardware Podcast to a recap of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. It’s probably the last recap you’ll hear, since the show happened four weeks ago, but that just means it’s had more time to marinate.

Signs of the new hardware movement were everywhere this year in the innovative new products as well as the cloud of fast-follower devices that surrounded each successful piece of hardware.

Items of note:

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Matthew Berggren on making electronics accessible

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: Better ways to design electronics.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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In our new episode of the Hardware Podcast, David Cranor and I talk with Matthew Berggren, who at the time the interview was conducted last December was senior director of product at Supplyframe. (Berggren is now director of Autodesk Circuits at Autodesk.)

Our discussion focuses on the need for abstracted modules and better metadata in electronics. Berggren gets to the root of it here:

There are 30 software developers for every hardware engineer in the world. That’s not only a tremendous bottleneck, but if you accept the premise that the next generation of products are going to be some hybrid of hardware and software—and really, hardware is the means to interact with the real world, and I want to write software applications that will interact with the real world—then there is this massive blue ocean out there that should present tremendous opportunity to semiconductor manufacturers, or anyone else who wants to get into that space.

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Roger Chen on hardware and robotics startups

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: Hardware from the venture capitalist’s point of view.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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In this new episode of the Hardware Podcast, David Cranor and I talk with Roger Chen, formerly a principal at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, O’Reilly Media’s sister VC firm.

Discussion points:

  • Chen’s perspective as an investor on companies that are creating 3D robotics, drones, and satellites
  • The Maker movement’s impact on the hardware startups
  • Etsy’s influence on the new hardware movement
  • Trends in robotics, and the outlook for robotics startups

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Charles Fracchia on a new breed of biologists

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: The merging worlds of software, hardware, and biology.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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In this new episode of the Hardware Podcast—which features our first discussion focusing specifically on synthetic biology—David Cranor and I talk with Charles Fracchia, an IBM Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and founder of the synthetic biology company BioBright.

Discussion points:

  • The blurring of the lines between biology, software development, hardware engineering, and electrical engineering
  • BioBright’s efforts to create hardware and software tools to reinvent the way biology is done in a lab
  • The most prominent market forces in biology today (especially healthcare)
  • How experiments conducted using Arduino or Raspberry Pi devices are impacting synthetic biology
  • Pembient’s synthetic rhino horns

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Joe Biron on IoT platforms

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: Building systems to get the most from connected devices.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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This episode of the Hardware Podcast features my second discussion with Joe Biron, VP of IoT technology at ThingWorx, a PTC business that offers a platform for rapid deployment of Internet of Things applications.

Discussion points:

  • How IoT platforms provide the functionality that enables advanced capabilities for IoT products
  • The common architecture of properties, services, and events
  • How to future-proof an embedded application
  • Platforms for industrial versus consumer devices
  • The potential for products that can update their own behavior
  • Embracing—or avoiding—smartphone creep, in which functions once performed by specialized hardware are taken over by a phone

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Mengmeng Chen on demystifying manufacturing

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: Making manufacturing accessible.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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In this episode of the Hardware Podcast, we talk with Mengmeng Chen, head of U.S. operations at Seeed Studio.

Discussion points:

  • Chen’s work on—and thoughts about—the Pop-up Factory, a production line that manufactured connected devices on the floor of the Solid 2015 conference
  • Ways to start manufacturing in Shenzhen without a gigantic first order
  • Seeed Studio’s “Open Parts Library,” a standard library of approximately 1,200 parts that can be assembled quickly and inexpensively
  • Differences between the component supply chains in the U.S. and China
  • Seeed’s Wio Link Kickstarter campaign

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Robert Brunner on designing and building great products

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: The critical role of design in creating iconic products and brands.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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Our expectations for industrial design have risen immeasurably in the last decade. Think of any piece of consumer electronics from 2005—a BlackBerry, for instance—and you’ll think of something that was encased in plastic painted silver to imitate metal, with a too-light heft and a rattle when shaken.

Now, nearly every successful piece of consumer hardware is the result of careful design and exquisite manufacturing. Apple deserves a great deal of credit for that shift by resetting the baseline with the iPhone in 2007, but new tools and processes have played an important role as well. Digital design has become easy and sophisticated, and contract manufacturers can do spectacular things with glass, aluminum, and semiconductors that were nearly impossible just a few years ago.

Our guest on this week’s episode of the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast is Robert Brunner, a founder of this new era of design. Brunner was director of industrial design at Apple from 1989 to 1996, overseeing the design of the PowerBook. He was the chief designer of Beats by Dr. Dre, the design-driven line of headphones that Apple acquired for $3 billion last year. And he’s the founder of Ammunition, which has worked with startups and large companies on a wide range of innovative consumer products.

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Ari Gesher and Kipp Bradford on security and the Internet of Things

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: Evolving expectations for privacy.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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In this episode of our newly renamed Hardware Podcast, I talk with Ari Gesher, engineering ambassador at Palantir Technologies, and Kipp Bradford, research scientist at the MIT Media Lab.

Gesher is the co-author of The Architecture of Privacy: On Engineering Technologies that Can Deliver Trustworthy Safeguards. Bradford is co-author of Distributed Network Data: From Hardware to Data to Visualization, and he’s spoken twice at Solid.

Discussion points:

  • The difference between security and privacy
  • Ari’s notion of what it means to be “polite” in a world where everything is recorded
  • The need and rationale for standards and protocols for IoT devices

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Marcelo Coelho and Colin Raney on 3D printing and the digital manufacturing revolution

The O’Reilly Solid Podcast: Lessons from the Pop-up Factory.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Solid Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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In this episode of the Solid Podcast, David Cranor and I talk with Marcelo Coelho, creative director of Marcelo Coelho Studio, and Colin Raney, chief marketing officer at Formlabs.

Coelho and Raney worked with Cranor on the Pop-up Factory, a production line that manufactured connected devices on the floor of the Solid 2015 conference. The four of us reviewed the process of spinning up the factory (which took just two months from beginning to end), and the impact of live fabrication on attendees at the conference.

Discussion points:

  • Manufacturing as a creative process, and as an input for designers
  • How 3D printing reduces iteration time and enables design and production to occur simultaneously
  • Manufacturing as deployment
  • Why the Pop-up Factory is analogous to the Hollywood model of film production

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Robert Bodor on digital fabrication

The O’Reilly Solid Podcast: Software intelligence in the manufacturing process.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Solid Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

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In this episode of the Solid Podcast, David Cranor and I talk with Robert Bodor, vice president and general manager for the Americas at Proto Labs, a rapid-prototyping service that’s been able to digitize large parts of the fabrication process.

Discussion points:

  • Proto Labs’ contribution to the Pop-Up Factory at the Solid 2015 conference
  • How Proto Labs infused software into the injection molding process, enabling 24-hour turnaround on tooling
  • 3D printing vs. injection molding (that old battle)
  • Parts of the process that defy automation
  • The pros and cons of in-house prototyping

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