Tag: Sally Luc

Shapeways

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Questions:

  1. Shapeways print a lot of different things for people across the globe. Are some of the designs made by the workers in Shapeways, or are they mostly from clients?
  2. Back in Toronto, there is a company called Hot Pop Factory, which is a start up that prints 3D objects and laser cuts different items. They offer printing and cutting where the client can get their stuff printed and leave. Does Shapeways have that leniency for people to come up and pick up items, or is the process mostly online?
  3. A lot of people use plastics for printing. However on the website, there are various other materials such as metal. How are those made? Would the machines be able to do mix media, meaning print different types of materials at once?

Summary:

The class arrived at Shapeways Factory, and was guided to the lounge area nearby the kitchen to settle our belongings there. Eleanor then introduced herself and talked a bit about Shapeways. Shapeways is a 3D printing company that uses and experiments with a variety of materials, such as nylon, sandstone, cast metal, steel, and porcelain.

IMG_20150318_164250They are a company that started in the Netherlands, which they then opened a branch in New York. The two branches work collaboratively in order to proceed with faster shipping all across the globe. The Netherlands branch covers the Eastern side of the globe, while the New York branch covers the West. Eleanor described that the job they do could possibly for Etsy as well. They print off designs that people could not print themselves, as well as make their own. Some objects include figurines, drone parts, jewellery, iPhone covers, and so on.

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After the introduction, we were brought into the different equipment rooms where we were shown various different types of 3D printers, the process of making each print, and how different material and machines are moved around the factory. We ended the visit with a brief Q&A session with Eleanor, and concluded the day from there.

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Personal Reflection:

Shapeways is a very remarkable factory from any other factory I have seen before. I find it remarkable because there are not a lot of factories out in the world that accepts custom designs to be printed out. Not only do they allow custom printing, they also allow users to sell the made items in a shop. They have an application that allows users to do so. They are one of the first companies to initiate printing in various materials as well, which is not something I have ever encountered before. Eleanor spoke of printing ceramics and printing metal. Normally ceramics are moulded, and metal are melted in order to create a shape. The company brings new materials to light using the new 3D printing systems. It makes me think that soon enough, these printers are not only able to print using a large scale amount of materials, but they will also shrink in size, where people would be able to create their own models and prints within their own homes.

Relevant Links: http://www.shapeways.com/

Kickstarter

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Questions:

  1. Campaigns are often looking for a lot of support. Is it against the policy if a kick-starter gets accepted to both Kick Starter and Indiegogo campaigns? If not, what does Kick Starter do to prevent this from happening, or how do you catch them?
  2. Indiegogo and Kick Starter are both very similar businesses. Are there any queues to users to pick one between the two? What are the differences between the two companies?
  3. Kick Starter has many campaigns running that needs crowd funding. How does the tracking system for each of the start-ups work? How many people are involved?

Summary:

The class arrived at Kickstarter and was brought inside to see the workspace. While looking around, we saw Eleanor from Shapeways Factory, who hosted our tour the day before.

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We were then guided into their theatre room where our host, John, spoke about Kickstarter. He explained that the company has been around for at least six years, and their incentive is to help people realize their business. Their motto, company, project guidelines, and integrity differ from Indiegogo. He describes the business as a for-profit organization, but they do it with a cultural sense. Kickstarter, similarly to Indiegogo, speaks of start-ups being transparent and honest. They do not tolerate any businesses that have hidden intentions.

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John also gave the class a few tips on how to start a start-up, and some success stories that happened with them. Some of these tips included: stay away from ego, commercialize well, focus on and show audience how it would fit people’s lives, and get feedback. John ended the presentation with telling us that Kickstarter is not really a place to start companies, but they genuinely help people gather and start an idea. The class ended the visit with Q&As until John left for his next appointment, where we then headed out to our next location.

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Personal Reflection:

Before arriving at Kickstarter, I expected Kickstarter to be the same as Indiegogo. It is hard not to compare the two companies since they both carry out the same tasks to help people with their campaigns. Even though at this moment I find them highly similar, there are differences between the two companies. Disregarding the differences that were set out by Kickstarter, one of the biggest difference to me is that Indiegogo seems to be more about helping people start their ideas and potentially make them into businesses. Throughout Indiegogo’s presentation, Steve Tam explained a lot about how to create a successful business and startup. Meanwhile, John explains that Kickstarter is not a place for companies to start a place to start a company. This brings a bit of light to both of the companies’ mottos, where Kickstarter is more for helping people with the idea, while Indiegogo tries to make the idea successful.

Relevant Links: www.kickstarter.com

MAGNET – Game Innovation Lab and Ken Perlin

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Questions:

  1. The current future of gaming seems to revolve around 3D virtual worlds and the Oculus Rift. How do you see games and technology grow within the next couple of years? Would it be refined around the themes that everyone is hyped about now, or is there a grander scale out there you’re hoping to see?
  2. What are some values that you see in gaming? In your opinion, which values are important in a game?
  3. I am currently working on experiencing games in a new aspect through game controllers. What new technologies are being developed or experimented to bring out new gaming experiences?

Bonus Question: When the Oculus was introduced to me, I saw it as a usage for mostly games virtual reality and augmented reality. How do you see the system’s usage change from the current way of using the Oculus?

Summary:

After the tour we received at the NYU Game Center, the class waited in the presentation area of the hall for our Game Innovation Lab’s tour, lead by Ken Perlin.

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We were lead into the sound room where we met one of the programmers and grad student who was working on the Oculus Rift and Samsung collaboration project that projects reality into the virtual world. The team first set up markers around the sound room that would be indicators of where each wall is. Connor and his partner Zack then programmed the Samsung and Oculus to be able to detect the markers, which would replicate the room within the Samsung phone. We each tried out the system and explored around the virtual room.

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(Daniel testing out the tech)

The virtual room showed the walls with the markers on them, and a rectangular object that represented the table in the room. When the table in the real world moved, the table of the virtual world moves along with it. The values of each object were mapped perfectly, unless the program crashes or offsets due to glitches. After the demonstration, we had a small presentation from David Smith, the person who is cooperating on this project to create lenses for the oculus.

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He spoke a little bit about the lenses he was developing, and passed around a couple of prototypes that he was working on. We were able to experience a slightly smaller scale of the Oculus Rift, which also uses the Samsung phone. After the presentation, we hung around to check out some of the behind the scenes programming with Connor, and to talk a little bit with the presenters.

Personal Reflection:

Thinking about the Oculus, I was never able to see what other application it would have other than gaming. After this visit with Ken Perlin, I was able to visualize a further application of the Oculus Rift. Talking with Emma, she explained that the Oculus and the technology that Perlin and his team is building has the capability to connect people all over the world for meetings without having to leave the office space of the corresponding countries. The technology is quickly taking steps forward to not only create a virtual reality game play, but can be applied to real life situations where people can use it for meetings. The malleability of the technology is endless, and as long as it is applied to a possible idea, more technology will be built. It is incredible to think about the cycles that lead us to the technology we have today. After seeing the lab at the NYC Gaming Center, it is inevitable that the program should request space art and tech developments such as this one, to further student knowledge and studies.

Relevant Links: http://mrl.nyu.edu/~perlin/

littleBits

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Questions:

  1. Was the Arduino circuit board the inspiration for the project? What was the inspiration to the project?
  2. A lot of the pieces are built in systems, like attachable sensors and what not. Does the business intend to break down the parts even further to allow even more customization to the snapping?
  3. Are/were there any big changes to the original model that was set in mind? The class was talking about how the past can change the future. How would the past of littleBits shape littleBits of the future? Essentially, what is in store for littleBits for the next couple of years?

Bonus Question: Lego Mindstorm does competitions like First Lego League. Other companies like Vex do higher tech competitions with robots as well. Does littleBits plan to do anything similar, such as competitions or hacker labs?

Summary:

When the class arrived at littleBits, we settled in the lounge area where our hosts, Paul Rothman and Jordi Borras, introduced themselves and the company. We toured around the space and were introduced to some of their finished projects. The company, littleBits, has created an SMS machine and doorbell answering machine using their technology. Next, they showed the class their project with the Makey Makey. This project uses modules and voting systems to create various sine waves in the LCD monitor.

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We were also able to see a synthesizer that connects to a computer, a glove and machine that plays rock paper scissors with the user, a solar panel car, and much more. We discussed briefly about the rock paper scissors machine because a couple classmates have built one recently for the project. Moving along the tour, we were shown two large glass display tables that documented the company’s history. Paul explained that the company started the funding round around 2011, where it processed through the Series A funding in 2012 and Series B in 2014. They were first self-funding within 2008 to late 2009, and made prototypes by 2009. As of now, they have around 50 employees. In the span of 7 years, the company expanded from a kick-starter to a medium sized company.

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Personal Reflection:

littleBits has proven to be a very innovative company to make technologies and circuits less alienated to people. I am always for educational products and toys that would be able to teach students how to create systems from young ages. Like the Lego Mindstorm, I am really hoping that littleBits would consider doing hack labs, hackathons, or local/global competitions that would encourage students to learn how to build with technologies. From my previous experiences, the First Lego League competitions use visual coding to teach students the logic behind making the lego robot respond. However, I have had a vision in the past where visual coding is eliminated and straight on coding would be taught instead, because understanding the words of the code is different from visual coding. I believe that littleBits is another inspiring company, and it would be great to see them expand even further.

Relevant Links:

littleBits – littlebits.cc

NYC Independent Evening Activity: Visit to MoMA

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Summary:

A group of us went to visit the MoMA on Friday evening to see the different art pieces there, and to visit the exhibit “Botanicalls”. “Bontanicalls” is a piece made in 2006 that sends a message to the user every time a plant needs to be watered. We were able to find the piece in the third floor of the MoMA, along with various other technological pieces that uses the Makey Makey, littleBits, Arduino, and so on.

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We later explored the area a bit more and came across some 3D modelled pieces and laser printed art works that were made into furniture. The wooden piece that was laser printed was made in 2004, and is called the Cinderella Table. The table was made by slicing each vertical layer and gluing them together by hand.

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After walking around a bit more, we found a room that exhibited old musical technologies, radios, and communication receivers.

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We passed by the gaming section where Minecraft was displayed along with some old arcade style games. Sadly, we were not able to play any of them due to one of the machines being broken, and the others were occupied. However, we did see the piece “Random Distribution of 40,000 Squares Using the Odd and Even Numbers of a Telephone Directory” by François Morellet. Morellet used the game of chance as his inspiration to create this painting, which depicts the numbers from his telephone directory in Cholet, France. Blue indicates even numbers, and red indicates odd numbers.

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As we moved along, we also found some old media prints and posters made in the past. We ended the evening by going to the gift shop and meeting up with everyone before leaving the MoMA.

Personal Reflection:

Visiting the MoMA has been a very inspiring event. Not only did I get to see a lot of amazing art pieces, I was able to relate some of them back to my assignments and the places my class has visited while in Toronto and New York City. For example, “Botanicalls” is an example that explains how electronics can be applied differently using the Arduino board that the class has been experimenting with for the past two years. “The Cinderella Table” relates to our visit to Hot Pop Factory, where 3D laser printing was used to create sculptures and art pieces. Rather than making sculptures, the Cinderella Table shows that with current technology, we can use it to make far more complex items such as furniture. “The Random Distribution of 40,000 Squares Using the Odd and Even Numbers of a Telephone Directory” is similar to the “Game of Life” piece that the class studied last semester. Both pieces use the idea of games and rules to generate pixelated artwork. Lastly, the sounds exhibit reminisces of how current sounds are created, and without the machinery from the past, we are unable to generate certain sounds today. This exhibit makes me think of the visit to the Office of Creative Research. The research facility was able to neatly generate tones that indicate various actions, which helps indicate clear data visualization of the program they are designing. The MoMA became a great way to wrap up the entire trip of New York City.

StudioY

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(Inside Studio Y – Community Gather and Discussion)

Questions:

  1. StudioY cohorts 25 new people each year. How are these 25 people chosen?
  2. After the fellowship, people can choose to pursue one of the following three categories: Education, Enterpreneurship, and employment. Do you have any successful cohorts that have graduated this program without going into one of these three categories, and have applied the skills? (Successful meaning stable living or good career).
  3. Who are the supports of the Studio Y program? Are any of those companies related to what Studio Y is trying to achieve?

Summary:

When the class arrived at Studio Y, our host, Hilary Predko, greeted us at the door. She first explained to the group about what Studio Y is about, and then asked every one in the room for 6-8 possible topics to talk about. The different topics included techno-cyber inclusion, community business structures, story telling and the truth/false of stories, how tech plays into varying abilities, educational segregation, the future of digital component in teaching, and how games, mechanics and narration unite together. After the topics were chosen, people got to choose which topic they wanted to talk about and relocated to different locations in order to talk more about the subject. The subject I participated in was educational segregation. Speaking about the topic, we were able to define the possible problems of the educational system. We determined that in most schools, school systems believe their educational system is “perfect”, and enforces students to take classes according to that structure. We also discussed about the possible changes to this system and how students over certain ages should be able to choose what is best for them. All of the groups later reconvened at Studio Y and discussed the various topics as a larger group.

Personal Reflections:

Studio Y’s open space environment has proven to be a very communicative setting. The weekly group meetings to discuss various topics open up many ways of thinking and interaction. I was especially thrilled to hear about all of the different topics to talk about, such as the story telling, game making, and education. Joining in on the education segregation topic, I believe that it is true that students are sometimes guided too tightly within the parameters of the school system. From primary school to high school, the plan for some schools has not reached its strong point. In my past experience of schooling, I clearly remember that I was forced to learn the same level of math in each year in different grades. This idea of enforcing math at a lower level but multiple times made me realize I have wasted quite a bit of time to do certain subjects I have already mastered. School systems also don’t offer electives early on, which puts stress in students to figure out what path they want to take in the four years of high school. During middle school, the teachers chose students they want to keep when they taught a higher grade, manipulating the education system. This act segregated students from the teachers’ “favourites” to the ones teachers are less interested in. Students feel enough stress as is trying to learn, fit in, and be students. The problems listed here are not all of the possible problems, but it would be great if education system for primary to high schools would change for the better.

New York Times R&D

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Questions:

  1. For Kepler: In order to predict the trends for the next five years, how are different media and a data points collected?
  2. For Kepler: In order to get a wide range of data on media coverage, a lot of information needs to be stored and managed. How is the team managing the information beyond the point of using StreamTool? (How is the database being stored?)
  3. For Listening table: A friend of mine was talking about how taking notes in his university is brutal and how system like this would be great for students who need a little assistance taking notes. He suggested creating an application for taking notes for laptops. The Listening table uses a strong imbedded voice-translating system to grasp sentences of words. Does New York Times consider creating an OpenGL for systems like these?

Summary:

When the class arrived at NYT, we were brought inside where the host, Noah Feehan, greeted us and gave us a tour. He first showed the class the system installed in the hallway called the Kepler. The Kepler is a system that tracks different types of media that are being read by people at the time, and stores that information as data in terms of location, time, and other categories in order to show various trends of news being accessed. The project is to help NYT determine the types of media people are most interested in, and the trend that it follows for the next three to five years.

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The class then relocated into the NYT office, where Feehan showed us the program Cascade, a project that analysis world related news trends in social activities.

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Feehan later showed us various other projects, such as the StreamTools. StreamTools is a program that helps filter and map out various trends and data that is being sent from the start point and helps plot the data into programs like Cascade and Kepler.

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After that presentation, Feehan also showed us the Listening Table, an interactive table that records snip-bits of certain information and returns the information into a text log on a screen.

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Lastly, Feehan exhibited a program that retrieves old image databases that would allow users to retrieve news articles based on the image from ads. This allows users to experience a piece of old history’s news and art, since photographs were not used in the past. We ended the meeting with a Q&A session.

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Personal Reflection:

New York Times has proven to me that technology has advanced immensely. Not only is a news paper company using tracking data to figure out the trends of places all over the world, the company is also representing it beautifully on screen, making it intuitive and easy to read. As Feehan spoke more about data visualization, I thought of ways to explore more about the possibilities of what data visualization can do, and how much further it would progress. This presentation made me think if it is possible to create an application using data visualization to give data and information about the different locations we will be attending in New York. Data visualization aside, the Listening Table sparked a program/application my friend asked me to build as a side project. The program is for students who take notes in lectures, which would have voice recognition and voice-translation to help student take down important parts of notes in order to prevent missing information. The table made me think how convenient it would be if some of these tables were installed within universities, or if this table can be translated into an application or program. Due to the high demand of help in note taking from students, this project may be a potential kick-starter.

Relevant Links:

Kepler: http://nytlabs.com/projects/kepler.html

Listening Table: http://nytlabs.com/projects/table.html

StreamTools: http://nytlabs.com/projects/streamtools.html

Push

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(Host Speaker: Mike Lovas)

Questions:

  • How much research was involved in order to perfectly plan out what was needed for the application?
  • How many people were involved to bring all of the pieces together to build the device and app?
  • How do you apply for the opportunity to start a business at Mars? What was the process of applying to Mars like?

Summary:

At Mars, the class met up with Mike Lovas, one of the co-founders of the project Push Strength He gave us a tour around the Mars building from where his project started to where he continued to work on the Push Strength device. He explained that the device started as an application to the program called Jolt. The device’s application passed, and they were granted a space within an office to build on the product. After eight weeks, the product is passed to the other side of the office where it can be further developed. Eventually, Mike and his team gained a space downstairs at Mars to prototype and work on Push Strength. In this presentation, Mike explained the benefits of the Jolt program and how it pushed the device forward. He explained how each person within the team has different roles in order to bring the device and app together. Without splitting up the tasks, the project would have been very tedious to build.

Personal Reflection:

Mike’s presentation was very inspiring because he talked about his experiences of starting this business. He explained that he was able to do two jobs while being part of this project, which explains his busy life, and was able to get the incubator space with his team at Mars. This information about the process is helpful because a couple of us are developing health applications as well for diabetics and have been researching into different possibilities that would help use build the app. Our application also plays on the idea of wireless communication, like Push, and sending data via Bluetooth to the app. The similarities between the process to execute Push Strength and our diabetes app are very big. It is easy to apply the Jolt program as part of our possible incubators.

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