23 Mar

Like a lot of people who experienced a parent's death before the Internet immortalized people through social media, Paolo Schellino wishes he could have a more complete record of who his father was. Not because Schellino, who hails from Italy, doesn't know -- his dad died when Paolo was 18 -- but because he wishes he had the means to share those mementos with his own family.

So Schellino decided to create an app, called Light, that offers users the chance to assemble a digital record of their lives. The app facilitates the central, ongoing storage of blog posts, videos and photos, along with comments and notes. The resulting compilation can then be accessed by friends and family -- long after you've left this earth, or even while you're still kicking up your heels.

22 Mar

Huawei who, you ask?

How about, “That Chinese company that grabbed attention at the recent Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona?” or “That OEM that plans to move up the food chain and aspires to become the number one brand in smartphones?”

This may sound crazy but it’s definitely not impossible. After all, who knew Samsung would topple Nokia in the smartphone war? Huawei ( pronounced Wa-way) is the Asian telecom giant that just might surprise you in the next few years.
As Apple, Samsung and Google struggle to cement their supremacy in the mobile world, I see a very real challenge coming from the likes of Huawei.

20 Mar

The makers of science fiction movies like Fantastic Voyage likely nodded their heads in understanding recently, when it was announced that researchers have come up with a pill capsule housing a spinning laser that, once ingested, can map the inside of a human stomach in just a few minutes.

Of course, Fantastic Voyage (1966) was more of an adventure in trying to save a wounded diplomat, with a fully staffed submarine shrunk to navigate the man's bloodstream. But the idea of directly "seeing" a human being's internal organs up close, without operating, is more or less the same.

The inch-long system, developed at Massachusetts General Hospital's Wellman Center for Photomedicine, uses a transparent capsule outfitted with optical frequency domain (OFDI) technology. The laser uses infra-red light to send signals that produce an image of a patient's esophagus and stomach lining. The capsule can be controlled by means of a string-like cable, which allows the capsule to be retracted (gulp) once the image mapping is completed.

19 Mar

"Make a game of it" used to be a tried-and-true approach to improving productivity, whether on the job or in the classroom. With the overall world of gaming recently having taken a quantum leap, does the old adage make sense for today's digitally minded kids?

Beth Blecherman, a mother of three boys who is also the founder of, decided to explore whether "gamification" -- using game thinking or mechanics in non-game situations -- really works.

In a guest post for Mashable, Blecherman begins by looking at how game play contributes to strategic thinking. Citing one son's use of the game Minecraft to better understand Newton's Law of Physics, Blecherman suggests, using a boilerplate quote from an expert, that "the option for creativity made [the assignment] more fun and engaging."

18 Mar

How does a business cut the typical lead time for 3D printing, currently at between 2 and 4 weeks, to practically no time at all? By placing the service directly in a vending machine, that's how.

Taking a page from the food and beverage industry's book, a trio of University of California, Berkeley alums have created Dreambox, a machine that promises the following:

  • Ease of use
  • Same-day printing
  • 24/7 on-site pickup
  • Safe and secure storage
  • Hassle-free maintenance

The system jumps into gear when a customer uploads a design online or via USB stick at the actual machine. The 3D print is then placed in a queue. If customers don't already have their own 3D models, they can choose one from an existing catalog or use any of several applications that enable customized models. When the order is complete, the company sends the customer a text, with an unlock code, that the item is ready to be retrieved from the Dreambox site's private storage area.

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