- Bunnie Huang Live (YouTube) — talk given at the Make:Live Stage at Maker Faire NYC, covering his experiences and advice for getting hardware made. (via Makezine)
- Bill Gates’s Best Books of 2013 — interesting list!
- The Robots are Here (Tyler Cowan) — a bleak view of the future in which jobs that can be done by robots are done by robots, and concomitant power spiral towards the rich. I let this one sit for a while before posting, and I still think it’s wildly important.
- Philips Hue Lightbulb — awesome widely-available commercial ambient display.
"future of manufacturing" entries
IP Woe, Deep Learning Intro, Rapid Prototyping Bots, 3D Display
- TPPA Trades Away Internet Freedoms (EFF) — commentary on the wikileaked text of the trade agreement.
- Deep Learning 101 — introduction to the machine learning trend of choice.
- Large Scale Rapid Prototyping Robots — an informal list of large rapid prototyping systems […] including: big 3-axis systems that print plastic, sand, or cement; large robot arms with extruders and milling bits; and large industrial arms for bending metal and assembling modular structures.
- Dynamic Shape Display (MIT) — a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example moving objects on the table’s surface. (via Fast Company)
Huxley Beat Orwell?, Cloud Keys, Motorola's DARPA, and Internet Archive Credit Union
- Huxley vs Orwell — buy Amusing Ourselves to Death if this rings true. The future is here, it’s just not evenly surveilled. (via rone)
- KeyMe — keys in the cloud. (Digital designs as backups for physical objects)
- Motorola Advanced Technology and Products Group — The philosophy behind Motorola ATAP is to create an organization with the same level of appetite for technology advancement as DARPA, but with a consumer focus. It is a pretty interesting place to be. And they hired the excellent Johnny Chung Lee.
- Internet Credit Union — Internet Archive starts a Credit Union. Can’t wait to see memes on debit cards.
Ant-Sized Computers, Digital Manufacturing, Dictatorship of Data, and Mobile Shielding
- Ant-Sized Computers (MIT TR) — The KL02 chip, made by Freescale, is shorter on each side than most ants are long and crams in memory, RAM, a processor, and more.
- Some Thoughts on Digital Manufacturing (Nick Pinkston) — Whenever I see someone make a “new” 3D printer that’s just a derivative of the RepRap or MakerBot – I could care less. Only new processes, great interfaces or super-low price points get my attention anymore. FormLabs being a great example of all three – which is why they were a massive hit. If you’re looking for problems: make a cheap laser cutter, CNC mill, or pick-n-place machine. See the Othermill.
- The Dictatorship of Data (MIT TR) — Robert McNamara epitomizes the hyper-rational executive led astray by numbers. (via Wolfgang Blau)
- A Field Test of Mobile Phone Shielding Devices (PDF) — masters thesis comparing various high-tech fabric-type shielding devices. Alas, tin-foil helmets weren’t investigated. (via Udhay Shankar)
Software is adding more and more value to machines. Could it completely commoditize them?
I’m a sucker for a good plant tour, and I had a really good one last week when Jim Stogdill and I visited K. Venkatesh Prasad at Ford Motor in Dearborn, Mich. I gave a seminar and we talked at length about Ford’s OpenXC program and its approach to building software platforms.
The highlight of the visit was seeing the scale of Ford’s operation, and particularly the scale of its research and development organization. Prasad’s building is a half-mile into Ford’s vast research and engineering campus. It’s an endless grid of wet labs like you’d see at a university: test tubes and robots all over the place; separate labs for adhesives, textiles, vibration dampening; machines for evaluating what’s in reach for different-sized people.
Prasad explained that much of the R&D that goes into a car is conducted at suppliers–Ford might ask its steel supplier to come up with a lighter, stronger alloy, for instance–but Ford is responsible for integrative research: figuring out how to, say, bond its foam insulation onto that new alloy.
In our more fevered moments, we on the software side of things tend to foresee every problem being reduced to a generic software problem, solvable with brute-force computing and standard machinery. In that interpretation, a theoretical Google car operating system–one that would drive the car and provide Web-based services to passengers–could commoditize the mechanical aspects of the automobile. Read more…
Titan Improved, Security Tweeps, Probabilistic Programming, and 3D-Printable Optics
- Titan 0.3 Out — graph database now has full-text, geo, and numeric-range index backends.
- Mozilla Security Community Do a Reddit AMA — if you wanted a list of sharp web security people to follow on Twitter, you could do a lot worse than this.
- Probabilistic Programming and Bayesian Methods for Hackers (Github) — An introduction to Bayesian methods + probabilistic programming in data analysis with a computation/understanding-first, mathematics-second point of view. All in pure Python. See also Why Probabilistic Programming Matters and Trends to Watch: Logic and Probabilistic Programming. (via Mike Loukides and Renee DiRestra)
- Open Source 3D-Printable Optics Equipment (PLOSone) — This study demonstrates an open-source optical library, which significantly reduces the costs associated with much optical equipment, while also enabling relatively easily adapted customizable designs. The cost reductions in general are over 97%, with some components representing only 1% of the current commercial investment for optical products of similar function. The results of this study make its clear that this method of scientific hardware development enables a much broader audience to participate in optical experimentation both as research and teaching platforms than previous proprietary methods.
Building DroneNet, Manufacturing Help, Native Mobile Look, and Libre 3D Printing
- DroneNet: How to Build It (John Robb) — It’s possible to break the FAA’s “line of sight” rules regarding drones right now and get away with it to enable fast decentralized growth. This strategy works. e.g. PayPal flagrantly broke banking laws and regulations in order to out-compete a field of competitors that decided to follow the law. (via Daniel Bachhuber)
- How to Make a BOM (Bunnie Huang) — yet more very useful howto information for people looking into Chinese (or other) manufacturing.
- Junior — A front-end framework for building HTML5 mobile apps with a native look and feel.
- LulzBot — robust 3D printer, with full specs for making your own. (via BoingBoing)
Vanishing Landlines, Factory Help, Spectral Analyzer, and the State of the World
- Wireless Substitution (BoingBoing, CDC) — very nice graph showing the decline in landlines/growth in wireless.
- Maker’s Row — Our mission is to make the manufacturing process simple to understand and easy to access. From large corporations to first time designers, we are providing unparalleled access to industry-specific factories and suppliers across the United States.
- mySight (GitHub) — myspectral.com Spectruino analyzer for light spectra in UV/VIS/NIR.
- State of the World (Bruce Sterling, John Lebkowsky) — always a delight. Come 2013, I think it’s time for people in and around the “music industry” to stop blaming themselves, and thinking their situation is somehow special. Whatever happens to musicians will eventually happen to everybody. Nobody was or is really much better at “digital transition” than musicians were and are. If you’re superb at digitalization, that’s no great solution either. You just have to auto-disrupt and re-invent yourself over and over and over again.
Tweet Cred, C64 History, Performance Articles, Return of Manufacturing
- Credibility Ranking of Tweets During High Impact Events (PDF) — interesting research. Situational awareness information is information that leads to gain in the knowledge or update about details of the event, like the location, people affected, causes, etc. We found that on average, 30% content about an event, provides situational awareness information about the event, while 14% was spam. (via BoingBoing)
- The Commodore 64 — interesting that Chuck Peddle (who designed the 6502) and Bob Yannes (who designed the SID chip) are still alive. This article safely qualifies as Far More Than You Ever Thought You Wanted To Know About The C64 but it is fascinating. The BASIC housed in its ROM (“BASIC 2.0″) was painfully antiquated. It was actually the same BASIC that Tramiel had bought from Microsoft for the original PET back in 1977. Bill Gates, in a rare display of naivete, sold him the software outright for a flat fee of $10,000, figuring Commodore would have to come back soon for another, better version. He obviously didn’t know Jack Tramiel very well. Ironically, Commodore did have on hand a better BASIC 4.0 they had used in some of the later PET models, but Tramiel nixed using it in the Commodore 64 because it would require a more expensive 16 K rather than 8 K of ROM chips to house.
- The Performance Calendar — an article each day about speed. (via Steve Souders)
- Mr China Comes to America (The Atlantic) — long piece on the return of manufacturing to America, featuring Foo camper Liam Casey.