August 5th, 2011
Forward Thinking Vol. 38
Our weekly update, where we share what’s inspiring us:
A team of Japanese scientists are developing a robot that can learn and think on its own, taking past experiences and applying them to new scenarios. The robot, using a system called SOINN, takes existing patterns and essentially ‘learns’ how to act in a new setting by combining this data with observations. In this video, the robot manages to pour a glass of ice water in a setting it was never programmed for. By integrating with secondary sources like the Internet and other robots, the potential for the robot to learn is compounded exponentially.
In a few weeks, Aviary is hosting NYC Photo Hack Day – an event that calls on independent developers to take a stab at creating their own photo-based apps. Touted as ‘the biggest photo hackathon ever organized,’ we’re interested to see what developers will create using existing APIs like Instagram and yfrog. NASDAQ is sponsoring the event, and they’re planning to showcase the winning app in Times Square. Could this mark a trend of larger companies seeing the value in creative technological experimentation?
A project by designer Graham Smith demonstrates the power of imagery by swapping iconic brand identities to create interesting, yet familiar, logo mashups. The project has quite an effect, showing that even in an age where brands are expected to have talking, human personalities, it’s still important to forge a recognizable exterior, especially on the flat surfaces of the web.
A fascinating study by Latitude asks children from around the world “what would you like your computer or the Internet to do that it can’t do right now?” Without the inhibitions of older generations, kids growing up with today’s technology have a unique sense of how it could evolve in the future. The examples in the study suggest a future where computers provide a more human, connected experience – whether through tactile displays, simulated travel, or voice-controlled interaction.
Urbanology is a new interactive installation taking place at BMW Guggenheim Lab – a project that engages visitors around the concept of city transformation. It presents different ideas that suit certain advocacies to improve city living – something cities like New York and San Francisco are already doing. We’re interested to see what the project reveals about urban life and how technology can continue to improve it.