- Many "smart home" technologies are a minefield for users in their relationships to each other and their living spaces. The technology piece is there, but much of what's been developed fails the social side and requires more technology literacy than the average person knows, or wants to know about.
- Speaking of technology literacy, Buzzfeed nails the tech product review for the latest iPhone by (surprise) writing the review from the perspective and use cases of a real person. It presents the product in the context of our lives, not the other way around. It still covers the nitty gritty product differences, but in a way that shows why we should or shouldn't care. More of this please.
- Formlabs unveiled their latest 3D printer this past week, the Form 2. It's a big step forward in the ease of use and reliability of desktop digital fabrication tools, and a raising of the bar on what user expectations for more affordable machines will be going forward.
- Cloud based solid modeling software got a big boost this week, with OnShape announcing collecting $80M from investors. We have some mixed views on CAD modeling moving to cloud completely, but it's certainly a trend that finally has some real traction.
Roadmapping the Future:
- Foreboding news, the first withdrawal from the "doomsday seed vault" has been made.
- Quirky was supposed to be the future of inventing, pairing the wisdom of crowds with design, manufacturing + distribution know-how. After raising around $185M, they stumbled and finally filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Ben Einstein from BoltVC has a take on the matter, and there's a lot in it that we agree with. Well worth the read.
- Amazon, Apple, and others have been predicting a future where we talk to our devices more than tap or swipe them. Wired discusses the audio interface layer. The field of UI/UX, when used to describe how we engage with our little (and big) screens, is going to be especially shaken up by our devices shifting to audio input as the default instead of our fingers. Will English majors, storytellers and comedians have their tech moment, helping to build systems that celebrate the word instead of the pixel?
Machines for Moving:
- It's not the first cargo scooter design by any means, but with the rise of same-day delivery and on demand errands, vehicles like the Trefor Tripl could be a common sight on city streets in the near future.
- Clearpath Robotics is showing off their latest robot, this time for warehouse applications (many of their previous machines have been for off-road contexts). The need for warehousing / fulfillment solutions that reduce labor are only going up as e-commerce gets wider and deeper, and it's drawing legitimate competitors to pioneers like Kiva Systems. Notably, Harvest Automation, which had been focused on ag-tech robotics has added warehouse robotics and seems to be focusing marketing efforts on moving packages instead of plants. Inevitably this competition will drive down costs- we don't think it will be long before similar machines are stocking shelves at your local big box retailers too.