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Beauty is in the TINY Details

3D Model of The Office floor plan by Drawbotics

They may be small, but they sure aren’t lacking in detail. These tiny 3D models, of some of the most popular TV shows out there, are spectacular. From the 60’s floor plan of Mad Men to the crazy Dunder Mifflin offices, they all feature little iconic details from various seasons of the shows. read on

Calligrabot

I’ve recently took up a new hobby practicing calligraphy. I’ve spent countless hours perusing the Internet to find as many resources as I can to help with my progress. One of the things I found whilst following fellow calligraphers on Instagram was the desire to write each other personal notes, postcards and find pen pals to practice their calligraphy skills with. I liked this idea as it helps us to take a break from everything digital and reconnect with our manual self.

Practicing my calligraphy skills, no robot here.

read on

And He’s Off!

There’s another robot in town! This one is called Handle and he can do some pretty awesome things! Think of a horse with skates on. This guy can roll down steps with ease, jump over any obstacles it faces and do some pretty impressive blading to rival Chris Haffey.

He is the latest robot to come out of Boston Dynamics with extreme jumping ability. Handle has horse-like arms for stability and wheels for feet. Watching him perform jumps with such ease even though he weighs hundreds of pounds is amazing! He can also reach speeds of nine miles per hour and jump four feet vertically. 

Handle won’t be going into production yet. He is purely an experimental project built to demonstrate that robots don’t always need to mirror human abilities. They can be so much more! Check out the video above to see Handle in action! 

Spy Pup

We all know that watching Nat Geo WILD is captivating. The sheer fascination of watching animals in their natural habitat is enough to leave you gobsmacked. However, there is a new guy in town that will likely change everything. Meet Spy Pup, the robot spy dog that is built so life-like that its fellow furry friends don’t notice any difference.

The people at PBS’ Spy in the Wild put this life-like robot animal out into the wild to see if the other animals would notice anything suspicious. They didn’t, score!

Spy Pup is built only with friendly characteristics—for now—to avoid possible conflict with its real counterparts and has the movements of the real-life creatures programmed into it. They tested him out with wild dogs initially, but the real test will be using a meerkat! Take a look at the video to see the genius creator, John Nolan building these special “cute” little creatures.

Mashable compares this Spy Pup’s creepy characteristics to the robots in the recent show, Westworld. If you haven’t watched that yet, I think that should be your next stop.

Meet Elmoji

Photo by WowWee

Most kids love Sesame Street and the all too famous character, Elmo. Allow me to introduce you to Elmoji, the tiny little Elmo robot that will teach your kids to code! That’s right! Coding at 3 years of age sounds promising to me.

Debuted at the annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) conference this year, Elmoji (by WowWee) teams up with an app that teaches young children the basic foundations of coding through emojis, and Elmo the robot. Elmoji moves around, reacts to the game and encourages the child’s progress. Elmoji is currently in development mode and is said to be released later this year. Though I don’t have children yet, as a developer, I will be snatching up one of these for them (or myself in the meantime!). read on

A VR World of Wonder

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hannah_wool_google_cardboard

My first Google Cardboard experience

I recently discovered Google Cardboard, a pair of Virtual Reality glasses built out of cardboard (and your iPhone). My first experience was quite life-changing. OK, that may be a little over-dramatic, but it certainly impacted me in a strong way. My first viewing was of a food drop to refugees in the middle of South Sudan. The feeling of being there to experience that with them was mind-blowing. It was actually very emotional and got me thinking about the experiences that come from these tiny little flat pack glasses. read on

Could you live without technology for a month?

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Yurt in NY.

Photo credit: Airbnb

One man did just that. E.J. Támara went for a full month without technology. He spent the month on the Saint James Way, which is an ancient pilgrimage route in Spain. He wrote about the difficulties he faced and the challenges of not being “connected” as well as the positive impact it had on him.

His story was interesting and made me think back to times when I’ve been without my phone, the anxiety it creates, along with the fear of being totally lost. This always seems irrational since I grew up without most of the technology we have today and did just fine. The idea of not being able to cope without it is a worrying one. We should be able to find time to disconnect and relax, be that with a nice book, camping for the weekend or simply spending time with friends and family.

I just recently adopted a puppy and at times when I’m playing with her, I find I’m dangling a toy from one hand and have my phone in the other reading something online. I always consciously realize I’m doing this, and put the phone down with the thought that “this puppy knows I’m not giving her 100% of my attention because she can’t see my face behind the phone.”

With that in mind, my husband and I have planned a trip to stay in a yurt in a remote part of New York state for Thanksgiving with our new puppy, and we plan on being disconnected! Hopefully we can make it through the trip without frantically driving to the nearest WiFi spot to get “re-connected!”

Read E.J. Támara’s story here.

How Are Your Carving Skills?

No, I don’t mean carving a turkey! I’m talking about wood carving skills. This nifty power-glove lets you carve wood and stone with your fingers. The power-glove, called Happaratus, was created by Morten Grønning as part of a graduation project at the Royal College of Art. The glove has small sanding tips on the end of the first three fingers to allow you to carve any shape you can imagine with ease. You don’t need to be a carpenter to get that professional finish on your old favorite wood or stone pieces that need a little TLC. Anyone with a design eye (or not) can get to work with this glove and create anything from a wooden spoon to a beautiful fruit bowl for the coffee table. The possibilities are endless.

See the full scope of the project on their website at Happaratus.

Transforming the Whiteboard

We all know the whiteboard has long been of value for learning, mapping out ideas, doodling the hours away, planning next steps, the list goes on. However, as technology advances and almost every gadget is now bluetooth compatible or wireless, the whiteboard hasn’t kept up, especially the ones that come in a wall paint form. We’re all so used to having everything available at our fingertips and in a digital form which is why whiteboards can be impractical for certain tasks.

This new little gadget, called the Smartmarker, can change that. Stick the capture sensor to your whiteboard, click the go button, insert a marker and you are ready to get those ideas from whiteboard to your devices in real-time. Ponder, revise and share. It’s that simple. Now, start brainstorming.

Source

Who Will You Be?

Scrolling through Mashable, I came across a new Kickstarter campaign for a startup called MashMe. The software turns you into an animated character using just a webcam. You simply stand/sit in front of it, talk, and make gestures that are replaced with an animated character in real time. You can be anything from a robot to a dinosaur or even a tiger!

One of the great features of MashMe is that it can be applied to popular video software like Skype, Google Hangouts, and many more. I Skype quite a lot with my family in the UK, so I’ll certainly be backing this campaign in order to give them a little fright next time I see them online! Now I just need to decide who I’m going to be!

You can see MashMe’s Kickstarter campaign here… and check out the Mashable article here.

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