21 October 2009

Amanda Parkes ~ Toys, Energy, DIY, Media, more!

It was excellent to have MIT alumna engineer-designer-entrepreneur Amanda Parkes joining me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! After going through Stanford's undergrad Design program, she worked in the museum exhibits sector culminating in the awesome SF Exploratorium! Attracted to the MIT Media Lab, Amanda worked with Tangible Media innovator, Professor Hiroshi Ishii on several projects, including especially DIY dynamic toys Topobo together with collaborator Hayes Raffle. This project is akin to one of my favorite DIY toys -- Legos -- in that it's assemble-your-self, but it has the additional glorious property that it also remembers how you manipulate it! So if you physically tweak it -- and thus mimic walking, for example -- then Topobo remembers how to walk! That's just brilliant! Amanda also runs the FutureCraft class with collaborator doctoral student and innovation impressario Leo Bonanni, protagonist of the Sourcemap open supply chains initiative. Beyond lab and class, Amanda connected with Sam Hill and co-founded BodegaAlgae, a clean energy company which was Finalist in the 2007 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition and continues to pursue their algae-based biofuels business!

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