- Clean, low cost, solar powered lighting is transforming daily life for people in rural areas of India, Uganda, and Kenya. We have worked on a few projects in that product/market space - it's great to see it getting more visibility as an important area for innovation.
- Open sourcing of design is sometimes a great idea, but gaps in skills, tool accessibility and time mean that most plans stay plans, never making it into the living room. Will Holman discusses the challenges, explaining that one of his designs has "...roughly 375,000 views but judging by the (imperfect) metric of the comments, it has only been built 21 times."
- For hardware nerds: how MOO is making their NFC business card business work - a look at the details of building the systems that support shipping physical technology products that work how they're supposed to.
- Bolt VC has an excellent series of posts on (hardware) product development, the section on engineering has a particularly good look at what it takes to move the internals of design towards a factory-ready, market ready state.
Roadmapping the Future:
- Robots could be be the key to low cost organic produce - saving high labor costs (or low labor costs that come from abusive practices) while skipping the harsh herbicides typical in U.S. agriculture. We're looking forward to seeing what's next to come out of the Deepfield Robotics program at Bosch.
- The behavioral, cultural and economic realities around ownership and renting of property means the future of smart home technologies could become a new, byzantine set of risks and benefits to evaluate when apartment hunting.
- A fake IKEA catalog presents a number of thought provoking ideas- including a couch that is drastically more expensive because it is not logging and sharing the data that makes up your daily domestic life.
Making Technology Work for Us:
- The elderly are a neglected population when it comes to tech and design innovation that really works for their needs and desires. As the technology layer of the home grows more complex, there will be real opportunities for companies to develop simple, robust and empathetic systems to make sure we're not making the world worse for our elders.
- Maybe you've forgotten about the online world Second Life- but health practitioners are finding it a useful platform for improving outcomes and community-oriented patient education for people that have difficulty making it to in person classes - whether it's because of the very medical conditions they need to understand better, or simply because they are too busy with jobs and family responsibilities to afford them the time it takes to get to and from the clinic.
Bias and Brains:
- Steven Levy of Medium on Silicon Valley's age problem - where the value of experience is undermined by squishy metrics of ambiguous value, like "culture-fit" which has been highlighted as a euphemism for "like the founders." This has proved problematic for building diverse teams as companies scale into the hundreds, the vast majority of their hires are similar to the founders in race, gender, age, and educational background.
- An ad campaign in New York is fighting to get approval to run and the creators think it's because it uses the word "period." The article highlights the fact that many sexually suggestive ad campaigns involving women (for things like weight loss products or breast implants) have been approved in the past, seemingly without issue.
More next week.