"Internet of Things" entries

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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Four short links: 11 January 2016

Four short links: 11 January 2016

Productivity Mystery, Detecting Bullshit, Updating Cars, and Accountable Algorithms

  1. Why Americans Can’t Stop Working (The Atlantic) — summary of a paywalled economics paper on the mystery of increasing productivity yet increasing length of the work week. (via BoingBoing)
  2. On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit (PDF) — These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. (via Rowan Crawford)
  3. Tesla Model S Can Now Drive Without You (TechCrunch) — the upside of the Internet of Things is that objects get smarter while you sleep. (In fairness, they can also be pwned by Ukrainian teenagers while you sleep.)
  4. Replacing Judgement with Algorithms (Bruce Schneier) — We can get the benefits of automatic algorithmic systems while avoiding the dangers. It’s not even hard. Transparency and oversight with accountability.
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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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Mike Kuniavsky on the tectonic shift of the IoT

The O'Reilly Radar Podcast: The Internet of Things ecosystem, predictive machine learning superpowers, and deep-seated love for appliances and furniture.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Radar Podcast to track the technologies and people that will shape our world in the years to come.

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In this week’s episode of the Radar Podcast, O’Reilly’s Mary Treseler chats with Mike Kuniavsky, a principal scientist in the Innovation Services Group at PARC. Kuniavsky talks about designing for the Internet of Things ecosystem and why the most interesting thing about the IoT isn’t the “things” but the sensors. He also talks about his deep-seated love for appliances and furniture, and how intelligence will affect those industries.

Here are some highlights from their conversation:

Wearables as a class is really weird. It describes where the thing is, not what it is. It’s like referring to kitchenables. ‘Oh, I’m making a kitchenable.’ What does that mean? What does it do for you?

There’s this slippery slope between service design and UX design. I think UX design is more digital and service design allows itself to include things like a poster that’s on a wall in a lobby, or a little card that gets mailed to people, or a human being that they can talk to. … Service design takes a slightly broader view, whereas UX design is — and I think usefully — still focused largely on the digital aspect of it.

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Yancey Strickler on Kickstarter and public benefit corporations

The O’Reilly Solid Podcast: Kickstarter’s CEO on different models for viewing a company’s success.

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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Kickstarter is one of just a handful of large companies that have become public benefit corporations — committing themselves legally to social as well as financial goals.

In making the transformation, Kickstarter’s leaders have taken a pragmatic, active position in promoting social good — neither purely philanthropic nor purely profit driven.

In this episode of the Solid Podcast, David Cranor and I talk with Kickstarter’s co-founder and CEO, Yancey Strickler, about his decision to take the company through the public benefit process and his promise not to go through an IPO.

Strickler will be among the speakers at the Next:Economy summit, November 12-13, 2015, in San Francisco.

Discussion points:

  • Kickstarter’s reasoning behind its decision not to go public. Why not just sell the company and devote the proceeds to charity?
  • The difference between a B corp and a public benefit corporation
  • The “public good” principles in Kickstarter’s Benefit Corporation charter
  • Determining metrics that can quantify public benefit goals
  • Strickler’s thoughts on how Kickstarter’s PBC designation might influence a corporate model “different than hyper-growth, hyper-capitalist models that aren’t good for anyone other than people investing money”

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Dialects of the IoT

How intimately we talk to our stuff depends on what it’s done for us lately.

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In the first post in this series, I mentioned that we’re getting used to talking to technology. We talk to our cell phones, our cars; some of us talk to our TVs, and a lot of us talk to customer support systems. The field has yet to settle into a state of equilibrium, but I thought I would take a stab at defining some categories of conversational interfaces.

There is, of course, quite a range of intelligent assistants, but I want to consider specifically different types of conversational interactions with technology. You might have an intelligent agent that can arrange meetings, for example, figuring out attendees’ availability, and even sending meeting requests. Certainly, that’s a useful and intelligent agent, but working with it doesn’t necessarily require any conversational interaction.

Classifying conversational interfaces

As usual with these kinds of things, the boundaries can be fuzzy. So, a particular piece of technology can have aspects of multiple categories, but here’s what I propose.

Voice interfaces: Understand a few set phrases

The most basic level of speech interactions are simple voice interfaces that let you control devices or software by speaking commands. Generally, these systems have a fixed set of actions. Saying a word or phrase is akin to using a menu system, but instead of clicking on menu items, you can speak them. You find these in cars with voice commands and Bluetooth interfaces to make phone calls or play music. It’s the same kind of system when you call into a phone tree that routes you to a particular department or person. Some of these systems allow for variations in how you say something, but for the most part, they will only understand words or phrases from a predefined list.

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