- Breakthroughs in microfluidic or "lab on a chip" technologies are enabling some pretty amazing wearable devices that do far more than count steps. The latest isa patch that analyzes sweat to determine concentrations of glucose and lactate, among other metrics, all accomplished without a circuit board. The result is space efficient and has a strange biologically inspired sci-fi elegance to it.
- Investigating the supply chain of hair - a troubling, comprehensive look at where the hair extensions sold in New Zealand come from.
- It appears Fitbit is picking up smart-watch startup Pebble. In the aftermath of the consumer wearable boom/bust cycle, it looks like going forward Apple, Fitbit and Snap Inc.will be the brands to beat (or join).
Machines for Moving:
- When we think of data in the 21st century we often associate it with wireless connections, innately mobile, and floating somewhere in the cloud. The reality is data still has to live in physical sarcophagi of silicon, metal and plastic. Amazon continues their deep logistics strategy play, unveiling the "Snowmobile" - a truck with a shipping container stocked with 100 petabytes of data, complete with a security detail (just in case you get any Shadowrun-inspired data heist ideas).
- A brief history of the consumer.
- How scientists, designers and engineers conspire to create addictive patterns in digital products. A line towards the end of the article sums up this problem (and many others) quite neatly: "There is a fundamental conflict between what people need and what companies need." There is still a great deal of hope that things like open-source, distributed community projects and tools for democratizing product development (like 3D printing) will lead to products and services that are more humane in their effects and intent, but the profit motive has incredible power to produce outcomes that are unhealthy for society at large.