The App Economy Is Now ‘Bigger Than Hollywood’ / The Atlantic

The web might be the most important medium in American culture.
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

What is the major cultural force in America right now? It might just be apps and the web.

While reading a self-laudatory Apple press release, the technology business analyst Horace Deidu found something remarkable: The iOS App Store distributed $10 billion to developers in 2014, which, Deidu points out, is just about as much as Hollywood earned off U.S. box office revenues the same year.


From a sheer personnel standpoint, then, the App economy is almost certainly bigger than Hollywood. And as Deidu writes, it’s also “easier to enter,” “has wider reach,” and “is growing more rapidly.”

The iOS App Store Versus Hollywood U.S. Box Office

Horace Deidu

To me, that the American app industry may eclipse the American film industry is more interesting for what it means culturally. There’s a growing sense that the products of the sector we usually call “tech” are attaining cultural primacy—the web is the new TV.

What does this feel like? For me, it’s seeing ads for “Clash of Clans” during the Super Bowl, or the thing where cable news talks more about Twitter and Facebook than their users talk about it. It’s where BuzzFeed feels more culturally ubiquitous than MTV. It’s where Nickelodeon introduces a nightly primetime show that literally includes, as a major feature, the viewer watching child stars watching YouTube videos. It’s Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. It’s YouTube stars interviewing the President.

Perhaps this iteration of web-iness-as-culture is only a fad, a symptom of a wider tech bubble. (It’s hard to remember where the MSN in MSNBC first came from.) But as the web slowly weaves its way throughout American culture, we’re going to see stats like this more often.

+ artículo publicado en The Atlantic

Foster + Partners Collab Aims to Make 3D Printing An Accessible Building Technology / Architizer

3D printing is often hailed as a revolutionary technology. It might become the next home computer or desktop printer — both of which changed the way we work and play. The evolution of computers sets a precedent for how 3D printers will progress: before the PC and Macintosh came along, scientists used enormous mainframe computers that took up entire rooms. The research that miniaturized these technologies to make them consumer-ready was what really changed the world.

That is the impetus behind a development agreement between construction company Skanska, London architecture firm Foster + Partners, and researchers at Loughborough University (LU). The collaboration aims to bring 3D printing to architecture, by refining a prototype robotic printer and establishing the supply chain necessary for the printing process. Skanska, along with Foster + Partners, has already been developing the technology in conjunction with Buchan Concrete and Lafarge Tarmac.

In order for 3D printing to realize its potential as a limitless technology for the masses, the companies creating the printers need to improve their resolution for consumer-grade printers and make them more affordable. NASA has just recently printed an object in space, while several small residences have been built at “low-resolution,” i.e., with minimal detail. Currently, 3D printing technology is still in the phase of experimentation and largely relegated to the realm of the fantastic, but Foster and the firm’s collaborators want to change that. (…)

+ artículo publicado en Architizer

ROB|ARCH: Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art, and Design | Archinect

ROB|ARCH has been initiated by the Association for Robots in Architecture as a new conference series on the use of robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design, closely linking industry with cutting-edge research institutions. In December 2012 the conference was hosted by its founders in Vienna, Austria. In 2014 the conference travels to North America, hosted by Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Continuing with the previous theme of collaboration, the conference seeks to bring together artists, designers, fabricators and industry leaders for the purpose of advancing the discourse surrounding robotic fabrication. Following on the success of ROB|ARCH 2012, the conference will again present a series of workshops held at select research institutions on the east coast of the United States, aimed at exposing the advanced capabilities of applied robotic research. Following the workshops, the conference will span two days at the University of Michigan Campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about an hour outside of Detroit, the origin of robotics in North America. The internationally renowned publishing house Springer Wien/New York will publish and market the proceedings of the conference worldwide.

Some of the fabrication from the workshops will be exhibited in the Liberty gallery from the conference meeting dates through the end of the summer. The exhibition is organized by Assistant Professor and Director of the FABLab, Wes McGee, and FABLab Coordinator Aaron Willette.

Liberty Gallery, 305 W. Liberty St., hours: Thursday to Sunday, 3-7 pm

+ artículo publicado en Archinect

Norman Foster Explains How 3D Printing Will Transform Architecture | Archinect

Super-starchitect Lord Norman Foster and his friends at the European Space Agency stunned the world last year with a plan to build a lunar base by 3D-printing it with moon dust. But what happens when you try something like that on Earth? How is 3D printing changing the way we build cities?.

I got the chance to ask Foster just that question at the Center for Architecture in New York City last night. —

Previously on Archinect: Foster + Partners works with European Space Agency to 3D print structures on the moon

+ artículo publicado en Archinect

How to Make Solar Panels Affordable for Billions | The Atlantic

Courtesy of Azuri-Tech

Upgrading to electricity” is not a phrase most industrialized world denizens think about much, given that it happened a century ago. For 20 percent of people on earth, though, the electric grid isn’t making it to their slums and rural villages—not any time soon. Instead they rely on smelly, smoky, eye-stinging kerosene lamps for feeble light at night. 

But solar panels don’t require connection to the rest of the electric grid, and their prices are dropping. One solar panel on a roof and you’ve electrified your house: hello, LED lights and cellphone charging. In some locales, bottom of the pyramid demand for mobile charging is actually driving demand for solar power, with lights coming along for the ride.

Simpa Networks, an Indian company, has integrated solar tech with mobile phone payments. They install a solar panel on the roof and wire it through the house to a mounted box. The controls are assigned a code which the customer punches in when paying via cell. Each payment goes toward ultimately owning the system. Once paid off, the panel produces electricity at virtually no cost.


+ artículo publicado en The Atlantic

How to Turn Cheap Natural Gas into Low-Carbon Gasoline | The Atlantic


Siluria Technologies

Open a garage door in Silicon Valley and you’re likely to find some kind of technology under development by an enterprising entrepreneur. But a gasoline refinery?

That’s what you’ll see in the back of Siluria Technologies’ outpost in an anonymous office park by San Francisco Bay. A contraption of pipes, tubing and metal cylinders of various sizes is producing low-carbon gasoline not by refining petroleum but converting methane into fuel through the use of a catalyst grown from a genetically modified virus.


+ artículo publicado en The Atlantic


The Future of Wearables Makes Cool Gadgets Meaningful | The Atlantic

Frog Design


Frog Design Group, Frog, a global product strategy and design firm headquartered in San Francisco, was an early entrant to the wearables space, designing prototypes for Motorola back in 2002. In 2012, the design firm set a team of designers across its various international offices the task of coming up with eight different concepts for the wearables of the future, compiled in the brief “Wearable Technology and the Connected City.” About half were technologies that would deliver an environmental benefit. One—a face mask equipped with sensors that measure air pollution, designed by the Shanghai office—may be on the market soon; the rest are still just concepts, but they have helped to spark conversations with both product companies and government agencies about what’s possible when you combine civic aims with wearable technology. 


Some of Frog’s other concepts focus more on using wearables to make environmental issues more tangible for people. The “Tree Voice,” for example, was a network of displays on trees throughout the city of Austin, Texas, that would illustrate the effects various environmental factors—drought, pollution, chemical exposure—had on the tree, via displays attached to trees and a mobile app that would display what was happening with trees throughout the city.


Frog Design


One thing we really dug into was the fact that the environment—the living, breathing physical environment—is collecting and storing information about climate change and pollution all the time,” said Eric Boam, senior interaction designer at Frog in Austin. “If you cut open a tree you can see years where there was a lot of water and years where there wasn’t much, and you can see where pollution started to get worse. We wanted to take that information that the environment already collects and display it to people so they could see it more clearly and interact with it in a way that changes their behavior.”



+ artículo publicado en The Atlantic

Join Us and Co-Invent the World of the Future | a smarter planet

The era of cognitive computing is upon us. Scientists and engineers are designing new systems that ingest vast amounts of information, learn from their interactions with people and data, reason, and help us make better decisions. The opportunities are vast, but so are the challenges. That’s why fulfilling the promise of cognitive computing will require contributions from a large number of people in industry, academia, government and civic life. […]

+ artículo publicado en a smarter planet