Makers: isn’t it time to embrace and extend?
Yes, 3D printing and the Internet Of things are ‘turning everyone on to the idea of making stuff themselves’, but what about working together with the ‘old-school’ DIY, craft and…
A truly social network where humans are (mostly) excluded
The truly driverless car is a distant prospect whose arrival will be preceded by cars driven not so much by their human drivers as by their need to learn what other cars know about the road ahead
Stand by: this is a platform alteration announcement
Due to an incident involving the wrong kind of interface design, all services by Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft will be subject to change without notice. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause
What if the synapse isn’t really doing what we think?
It’s hard to find a more profound challenge to a central tenet of neuroscience: in our so far unrewarded struggle to locate our elusive memories within the junctions between brain cells, shouldn’t we also be looking inside the neuron itself?
High Frame Rate for everything, not just action shots
Mantra Fail: High Frame Rate (e.g., 48 fps instead of 24 fps in movies) supposedly ‘only for action shots’: non-action shots ‘look fake’, revealing so much detail that props don’t look real: NOT!
The other six: VR hardware projects funded on KickStarter
Apart from the Oculus Rift, there are currently six other Virtual Reality hardware projects that have been successfully funded through KickStarter
Is the ‘point’ of solar about to change?
Whilst panels were expensive, titling an array of flat rectangles towards the sun was the most economical way to gather light. Much cheaper panels may make this approach obsolete.
The wild frontier of innovation intelligibility: an edgy video
I’ve been having a serious struggle deciding whether or not to share this important video because I’m just not sure how much of a struggle with intelligibility you’ll be able to tolerate
Sam Altman, tomorrow’s Mark Zuckerberg?
Over $5 billion jump in valuation in one month, even though none of their highest valued investments has yet had an exit? At this rate, Sam’s startup club may start putting Facebook to shame
Which new technology market is expected to reach $177 billion in five years?
Suddenly nanomedicine is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but ask those typically clued-up about science and technology to define it: the answers may be surprisingly inconsistent
12 things wrong with educational games
It’s just a list, it’s probably way too harsh and uncompromising, so educational developers, I know you care: please don’t take it personally, let’s just start making a bit more progress towards putting these things right
Healthcare’s identity crisis: is a massive role reversal looming?
There was a point where professionals felt as if they were being turned into robots, forced to spend more time processing data about their patients than engaging with them as human beings.
What’s wrong with the pictures in our heads?
Whatever’s going on in our imagination, we tend to think of it as being like ‘movies’ that we ‘watch’, but this description isn’t doing justice to the way that imagery really works in our minds
“There was no national infrastructure for this, so I’ve funded it”
An Intensive Care Unit where it’s needed. In every home. Millions already connected. He cashed out two startups, spent some exit money (he’s still got $7 billion left). The Steve Jobs of healthcare?
Your clients can innovate faster than you can, so why not pay them to do it?
What are the implications for those of us outside of the games business of Gabe Newell’s claim that his customers are better innovators than his best creatives
Stodgy, predictable, strategic research? It doesn’t need to be
‘Going against the grain’ is getting some surprising endorsement in the rarefied upper strata of professional industry analysts
Usability is utterly broken
The last time it was declared broken, it was Web browsing behaviour that totally invalidated ‘traditional’ usability testing: this was soon fixed with new metrics, but now there’s another elephant in the usability lab
Alas poor Oculus, I knew you well
Until the day before yesterday, it was the toast of the gaming hardware world: today, John Carmack’s illustrious involvement notwithstanding, maybe the Rift is just toast.
Two ubiquitous technologies most techies know nothing about
Every major factory on earth depends upon a network technology you’ve never even heard of. Ok, maybe you don’t care about factories, so how about cars? Different network, built into every mass-produced car for decades, the same ignorance
On the Internet of Bits and Pieces, “just works” won’t be good enough
Yesterday’s light switch just works. Dark? Click. Light! Today, ‘Just works’ is lame. I want things that can see, hear, remember and tell me what they’re doing. In fact, I want anything with a switch on it to be able to do whatever I want, maybe even before I know I want it to do it
Musicians: video editing is now officially part of your skillbase
Just ‘gigging, recording and getting discovered by a record company’ is yesterday’s intro to a musical career. Nowadays, you need to be able to build your own online TV channel that does justice to your best songwriting and performances.
Farming machinery’s next big move? Stop getting bigger
Squeezing bigger crop yields out of the soil by just upgrading to larger, heavier, more powerful machines doesn’t look sustainable. Up to 90% of the energy used in crop cultivation is wasted on dealing with the damage caused by the cultivation equipment itself
Are robots with analog AI the future?
Digital brains are just too big, slow and unreliable to interact seamlessly with the fast-moving natural world. Human interaction may be the only phenomenon slow enough to make digital look impressive
What’s it like writing story-worlds for others to inhabit and shape?
Job titles like ‘interactive storyteller’ or ‘narrative designer’ do little to convey the joys and nightmares of today’s videogame writing experience: we’ve found writers eager to share an inside perspective
What is soft robotics?
Solutions to just about every hard engineering problem in robotics can be found in the biology of animals, where nature seems to be telling us to ‘take a softer approach’
Why not bake augmented reality into your hardware startup?
Start looking for ways to ‘transcend physical user experiences’ by liberating your device’s mobile app from the constraints of the real world
The switch from doing jobs to starting startups: will we even notice?
Could our increasingly online lifestyles morph smoothly into self-employment if today’s culture of ’employee-based careers for all’ gradually fades into oblivion?
Viewing the TV implications of Steam from 50,000 feet
Google TV, Apple TV, Facebook TV, Netflix, you need to watch your backs. A more ‘socially optimised consumer experience’ may give Valve’s Steam an unbeatable edge over other contenders for tomorrow’s TV
Lean Startup Methodology, Critical Design Theory: Separated at birth?
Lean startups use wild speculations about imaginary products to start conversations with customers aimed at eliciting real requirements. Critical Design aims to make things which provoke enlightening responses. Snap?
The post-screencast era
Screencast videos are almost all painfully harder to watch than they need to be: here’s our top 5 suggestions for making screencasts infinitely more watchable, mostly just by adding a little bit of post-production.
A formidable new contender on the tech review scene
His YouTube channel alone is an eye-opener: is a new standard for consumer technology review videos being set?
Is video content heading for the holodeck?
It’s time to ask whether recent technological advances should make us revisit some long-abandoned dreams about interactive content
The contest for your living room gathers Steam
Apple TV, Google TV and let’s not forget Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft or Sony. Here at the iij, our money is on someone else.
Neurologist pivots to schoolteacher, then to teaching teachers neuroscience
She was seeing a 5 to 10x spike in teacher referrals for students with epilepsy, ADHD and OCD symptoms: mysteriously, those symptoms failed to show up outside the classroom. Did they come from changes to teaching methods? What she found made her switch careers, twice
Top guitar innovation videos of 2012
Yes, you’ll find some pretty lame excuses for also including some (admittedly awesome) clips which are sometimes more about exceptional inspiration than innovation
MOOCs, cheap smartphones and dire poverty: about to flip the planet?
Moore’s Law is rapidly putting the entire third world online. This fact, combined with MOOCs, may just turn the rest of the world upside down
It’s official: Apple has windows, Microsoft doesn’t
Microsoft has ditched the window metaphor in order to make its OS feel like a mobile app, but Apple’s desktops, tablets and phones all still use a window metaphor
Cultural literacy education theory humbled by games culture
A fashionable return to 19th century teaching methods is being challenged by astonishing findings on the impact of online games culture upon ‘hopeless’ struggling learners
Rescuing serious journalism by productively reducing it to mindless fun
Few news editors would claim that they are not an endangered species, so even the most whimsical-sounding ideas are no longer quite so easily dismissed as being irrelevant or unnecessary
The MOOCs are coming! The MOOCs are coming!
The educational world, terrified by Massive Open Online Courses, is putting on a brave, smiling face and joining in, because it sees them as unstoppable and hopes it can somehow survive and even benefit from them
12 Robotics projects, all successfully funded using KickStarter
There are hundreds of other robot-themed projects on Kickstarter, I’ve just left out out the books or films about robots, as well as most art, education, hobby and toy projects
Post-Genomics: Wikipedia says no
There is no Wikipedia article on this subject at the time of writing, but it is now a well established field which cries out for a much wider public understanding
Science shows that self-discipline taxes the soul
We wisely use our ‘self-restraint muscle’ to get things done, but research shows that even exercising it just a little bit can turn the most robust of minds into momentary marshmallow