- 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)
"future of manufacturing" entries
Ant-Sized Computers, Digital Manufacturing, Dictatorship of Data, and Mobile Shielding
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.
Poetry for Professionals, HTTPS Setup, Geodata Mining, and 3D Popup Print Shops
- The Benefits of Poetry for Professionals (HBR) — Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman once told The New York Times, “I used to tell my senior staff to get me poets as managers. Poets are our original systems thinkers. They look at our most complex environments and they reduce the complexity to something they begin to understand.”
- First Few Milliseconds of an HTTPS Connection — far more than you ever wanted to know about how HTTPS connections are initiated.
- Google Earth Engine — Develop, access and run algorithms on the full Earth Engine data archive, all using Google’s parallel processing platform. (via Nelson Minar)
- 3D Printing Popup Store Opens in NYC (Makezine Blog) — MAKE has partnered with 3DEA, a pop up 3D printing emporium in New York City’s fashion district. The store will sell printers and 3D printed objects as well as offer a lineup of classes, workshops, and presentations from the likes of jewelry maker Kevin Wei, 3D printing artist Josh Harker, and Shapeways’ Duann Scott. This. is. awesome!
Manufacturing Returns, Android Mystery, 3D Printing Novelties, and Dropping Drones
- Manufacturing Returning to USA (The Atlantic) — because energy and wages. Oil makes shipping pricey, while “booming” US natural gas helps domestic manufacturing. Wages rising in China, dropping in America.
- The Android Engagement Mystery (Luke Wroblewski) — despite massively greater sales, Android users do less with their devices. Why?
- What’s Coming in 3D Printers (Wired) — enormous printers, printers that use sand to help with metal molding, and more.
- Drone Crashes Mount at Civilian Airports Overseas (Washington Post) — The drone crashed at a civilian airport that serves a half-million passengers a year, most of them sun-seeking tourists. No one was hurt, but it was the second Reaper accident in five months — under eerily similar circumstances.
Turing Complete Users, Live Bootstrap Editor, Remix Exemptions, and Automatically Strengthening 3D Designs
- Turing Complete User — General Purpose Users can write an article in their e-mail client, layout their business card in Excel and shave in front of a web cam. They can also find a way to publish photos online without flickr, tweet without twitter, like without facebook, make a black frame around pictures without instagram, remove a black frame from an instagram picture and even wake up at 7:00 without a “wake up at 7:00” app. [… They are] users who have the ability to achieve their goals regardless of the primary purpose of an application or device. (via BoingBoing)
- Bootstrap Live Editor — a WYSIWYG HTML5 Editor built for Bootstrap. It offers a nice and elegant way to edit and beautify html content with Bootstrap-ready UI elements. I love how Bootstrap has become this framework for simpler website creation. I’m just disappointed they’re all startups chasing $ instead of being open source infrastructure.
- DCMA Exemption Recommended for Remix — recommended expanding the noncommercial remix exemption to cover both DVDs and online services. The reference to “motion pictures” covers “movies, television shows, commercials, news, DVD extras, etc.”
- New Tool Gives Structural Strength to 3-D Printed Works (Science Daily) — Findings were detailed in a paper presented during the SIGGRAPH 2012 conference in August. Former Purdue doctoral student Ondrej Stava created the software application, which automatically strengthens objects either by increasing the thickness of key structural elements or by adding struts. The tool also uses a third option, reducing the stress on structural elements by hollowing out overweight elements. (via BoingBoing)
Sandy's Latency, Better Buttons, Inside Chargers, and Hidden Warranties
- Fastly’s S3 Latency Monitor — The graph represents real-time response latency for Amazon S3 as seen by Fastly’s Ashburn, VA edge server. I’ve been watching #sandy’s effect on the Internet in real-time, while listening to its effect on people in real-time. Amazing.
- Button Upgrade (Gizmodo) — elegant piece of button design, for sale on Shapeways.
- Inside a Dozen USB Chargers — amazing differences in such seemingly identical products. I love the comparison between genuine and counterfeit Apple chargers. (via Hacker News)
- Why Products Fail (Wired) — researcher scours the stock market filings of publicly-listed companies to extract information about warranties. Before, even information like the size of the market—how much gets paid out each year in warranty claims—was a mystery. Nobody, not analysts, not the government, not the companies themselves, knew what it was. Now Arnum can tell you. In 2011, for example, basic warranties cost US manufacturers $24.7 billion. Because of the slow economy, this is actually down, Arnum says; in 2007 it was around $28 billion. Extended warranties—warranties that customers purchase from a manufacturer or a retailer like Best Buy—account for an estimated $30.2 billion in additional claims payments. Before Arnum, this $60 billion-a-year industry was virtually invisible. Another hidden economy revealed. (via BoingBoing)