28 September 2011

Zeebl ~ MIT Alumco's Mobile 3D Copy Machine!

Whoa, PhotoCAD is LIVE! MIT Imaging Ventures alumco Viztu sez...
"Zeebl is a mobile application developed by Viztu Technologies. It allows anyone to create a 3D copy of an object, just by taking a video of it. Zeebl uses Viztu Technologies' hypr3D 3D reconstruction platform. With hypr3D users can create a 3D model from digital photos or videos and the models can be viewed online in an interactive viewer, shared with anyone, embedded on other sites, and even downloaded and/or 3D printed in a number of materials. With Zeebl, it's like having a 3D Xerox machine in your pocket!"

MIT ID Fair ~ All International Development Fri

MIT IDF 2011 -- the International Development Fair -- is this Friday, 30 September from 1 to 3 pm in the Student Street ground floor of the Stata Center, Bldg 32!
"Interested in International Development? Want to get involved? Have an idea but not sure how to get support for it? Come meet the many departments, labs, centers and student groups supporting International Development at MIT."

27 September 2011

TRSF ~ MIT Tech Review on Speculative Futures!

Wow, how cool is this -- MIT's Technology Review launches TRSF -- The Best New Science Fiction Inspired by Emerging Technologies!
"...an 80-page anthology of original near-future science fiction stories. Stories by celebrated science fiction masters and some of the best new talent from around the world. Inspired by real-world technological breakthroughs."
A dozen authors including our own Joe Haldeman, MIT Adjunct Professor of writing, author of the epic Forever War series (among other novels) and several great short stories.

25 September 2011

Urban Imagery ~ Striking Pictures of the City...

Surfing around today, found many striking images of urban beauty...

Urbanized ~ New Film by Gary Hustwit on Cities

Thanks to Subrealism for spotting trailer of new film Urbanized...
"...a feature-length documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. Over half the world’s population now lives in an urban area, and 75% will call a city home by 2050. But while some cities are experiencing explosive growth, others are shrinking. The challenges of balancing housing, mobility, public space, civic engagement, economic development, and environmental policy are fast becoming universal concerns. Yet much of the dialogue on these issues is disconnected from the public domain. Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities."
Screenings around US and on November 4, 2011 in Boston MA at the Museum of Fine Arts...

Private Education Boom ~ BBC on UAE Trend...

The BBC's Simon Atkinson reports on Private education boom in UAE spotlighting the offerings of both GEMS Education and Taaleem...
"The annual scramble to secure places for children at the UAE's private schools is over and children are returning to the classroom. About 80% of the country's population is expatriate so most youngsters are not entitled to state school tuition. And this provides a massive opportunity for private companies to enter the education industry. Some schools charge £20,000 a year but offer five star facilities. Others come without the frills and have fees of just a few hundred pounds. With such a wide variation in prices and facilities, how does the country's need for a functioning education system stack up against the desire of these businesses to turn a profit?"

Debottlenecking ~ Brazil's Batista on Strategy...

In Reuters interview, Brazilian Eike Batista on Africa, Indonesia, India, China, Asia generally on urbanization, the developing middle class, and the "debottlenecking" of economic growth back home...

23 September 2011

FUNdaMENTALS of Design ~ MIT's Alex Slocum

Check out MIT Professor Alex Slocum's FUNdaMENTALS of Design online materials, including recorded talks! (Thanks to Dan Fourie for spotlighting this as "best ever" self-study;-)

22 September 2011

MIT Energy Experiments ~ Campus as Living Lab!

Interesting and yet somewhat dismaying example of using MIT's campus as a testbed -- a Living Lab -- for experimental interventions and explorations. Rarely do you have a clear-cut controlled trial of comparables in energy efficiency, but the MIT East Campus parallel, equivalently symmetric dorm buildings were one such case. By fixing one set of "steam traps" while keeping the ill-maintained old group, we could see the performance advantages measured in steam consumption for a given temperature... This is trumpeted as a success-story, but, alas, the decisions which lead to decades of MIT deferred maintenance -- and consequent operational cost-waste -- have not been punished or recovered.

MIT Africa Business Club ~ Innovate Action 2011

Very good to see the MIT Sloan Africa Business Club kickoff this Tuesday, 20 September 2011. Building on the successful first-ever MIT Africa 2.0 conference this past Spring, the leadership aim to dial things up this year with Innovate! Africa initiatives, including conference, speakers, trek, and more. Plus they're building up the cross-MIT connections -- e.g. with Media Lab's Africa Initiative and the DUSP Urban Africa effort. Plus, fully 40% of the people in our MIT Development Ventures class this Fall 2011 have an Africa interest, which is disproportionate -- and quite exciting and promising.

MIT SEID 2011 ~ Entrepreneurs International...

On Wednesday 21 September 2011, MIT SEID -- the Sloan Entrepreneurs for International Development -- had their kickoff meeting for the year. Very exciting happenings afoot, including guest speakers, career treks, international trip, support for student-inspired Study Tours, and organizing action learning project teams to work with developmental entrepreneurs from around the world -- including EGG, Assured Labor, Sanergy, and Global Cycle Solutions! SEID is also key as the extracurricular club complement to our MIT Development Ventures class and D-Lab activities more broadly.

20 September 2011

Image Guidance ~ New Bio-Optical Surgical Tools

Thanks to Discover for spotting Nature Medicine piece by Van Dam, et al in To Clean Out Tumors During Surgery, Make Them Glow...
"Getting out every last bit of a tumor can be difficult -- when you’ve got a patient open on the operating table, cancer cells don’t look any different from normal ones. But tag tumor cells with a glowing protein and turn the lights off, as scientists did in a recent study, and those things stand out like glo-sticks..."

Diverse Visitors ~ Feedjit Serves Up Flagscape!

I really like to pop over to Feedjit's Live Traffic Feed on who's visiting Maximizing Progress. Sometimes incredible range of peoples represented! Just this morning in a few minutes...
Saudi Arabia
I love the web!

Earth Flyover ~ Drake's Epic NASA ISS Photoseq

Wow, space flight is epic! I must go Beyond our Cradle! Science educator James Drake stitched timelapse video from ISS images...
"A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite (55sec) and the stars of our galaxy."

18 September 2011

Fabro ~ Pushing Boundaries of 3D Printing @ MIT

Nice piece by MIT's David Chandler on Printing off the paper mentioning work by Cima, Sachs, Allen, Oxman, Keating, and Schmitt. Especially check out this video featuring Keating and Oxman and several examples of their work, including the fabro bot and foamcrete...

Cycling to School ~ Bikeways for Dutch Kids...

Mark Wagenbuur from the Cycle Path shares Cycling to School...
"Hundreds of thousands of children cycle to school every morning in the Netherlands. The roads and streets are literally full of cycling children for about one hour. The "cycle highway" from Geldermalsen to Culemborg is one such road. Hundreds of children going to school take the same safe route here. They form spontaneous groups and the closer they get to school the larger the groups become."
Read the rest of Mark's post for more details. Plus here's his video of the school cycling "rush hour"...

Joost's List ~ Entrepreneurs on My Walk of Fame

My variant of the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame would kick off with this line-up, a diverse group of seven venture heroes and heroines...
  1. Alexander Graham BELL ~ Co-Founder of Bell Telephone System in 1877 in Massachusetts (todays AT&T, Verizon, etc). Made first long-distance phone call on Main Street cutting through Kendall Square. Later Co-Founder of National Geographic Society.
  2. Ruth HANDLER ~ Co-Founder Mattel Toys in 1945 with Harold Matson and Elliot Handler. Creator of the Barbie Doll. Later Co-Founder of Ruthton Corp to make women's prosthetics.
  3. Narendra PATNI ~ Co-Founder of Patni Computer Systems in 1972 in Massachusetts and India with Poonam Patni and colleagues. Known as the father of the IT services outsourcing industry.
  4. Steve JOBS ~ Co-Founder of Apple in 1977 with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in California. Later Co-Founder of NeXT and builder of Pixar. Resilient pioneer of computers and consumer media.
  5. Eike BATISTA ~ Founder of EBX Group of companies starting in 1983 in Brazil. Dynamic operator in mining, infrastructure, logistics, and energy services.
  6. Helen GREINER ~ Co-Founder of iRobot in 1990 with Colin Angle and Rodney Brooks in Massachusetts. Later Founder of CyPhy Works. Pioneer in consumer and industrial robotics.
  7. Mo IBRAHIM ~ Founder of Celtel (later Zain, now Airtel) in 1998, pioneering mobile operator in Africa. Champion of good governance and civic leadership.
Even this group is not too sectorally varied, with too much infotech and no biotech represented, for example. So I might swap in Raymond BADDOUR, Co-Founder of AMGEN. In any case, every year I would add seven more with an eye on variety, including people from the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia in many sectors including biotech, foods, transportation, etc. I'd try to pick one from 1800's or earlier, one from pre-1960's, and the rest living entrepreneurs who started their firm(s) in the last 15-50 years. But no more than 2 or 3 MIT-related people in any given year, plus 2 or 3 selectees from outside US.

Green Growth ~ New Sustainability Champions

Schumpeter in the Economist spotlights Green Growth: Some emerging-world companies are combining growth with greenery...
"The enrichment of previously poor countries is the most inspiring development of our time. It is also worrying. The environment is already under strain. What will happen when the global population rises from 7 billion today to 9.3 billion in 2050, as demographers expect, and a growing proportion of these people can afford goods that were once reserved for the elite? Can the planet support so much economic activity? [...] A new study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identifies 16 emerging-market firms that they say are turning eco-consciousness into a source of competitive advantage. These highly profitable companies (which the study dubs “the new sustainability champions”) are using greenery to reduce costs, motivate workers and forge relationships. Their home-grown ideas will probably be easier for their peers to copy than anything cooked up in the West. The most salient quality of these companies is that they turn limitations (of resources, labour and infrastructure) into opportunities."
Read the source for examples and skepticism plus get the report.

Ringing Change ~ ICT/Mobis Empowering Women

Meena Bhandari writes in the Guardian about Using technology to close the gender gap in Sierra Leone...
"Admire Bio has the reassured presence of a successful businesswoman, with an edge that reveals she is still hungry for more. Bio, 28, a single mother living with her parents, set up her first internet cafe in the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown, only a year ago. She has expanded with two more branches, and plans to go national if she can secure a bank loan. "My biggest motivation is challenging men," she says, "to [get women to] say: 'Yes! I can be successful without you'." [But there are many barriers to overcome] "There's a need to nurture a culture of real entrepreneurship to allow women to grow. As a first step, we need to put businesswomen on the map," she says. Unipsil and local NGO Afford-SL are working with women across the country to establish a national business network. "Once we have this kind of structure we can begin to bridge the gap between urban and rural businesses, for example, through technology, networking and training," says Manja Kargbo of Afford-SL. "Yes, I'll join a women's network," says Admire Bio. "I always tell women they can be like me -- stronger by saving, investing and doing business with technology."

UN Women ~ Chile's Bachelet on Global Mission

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes in Newsweek that former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Has a Mission -- running the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women -- popularly known as UN Women. While the mission of gender equality and protection and a voice for women is hugely important, Lemmon itemizes the many challenges...
"...from the beginning of Bachelet’s tenure there have been problems. To begin with, U.N. Women was not accorded the power of a full agency, a distinction that matters at the United Nations. It is the product of four years of negotiations that nearly ended in gridlock after member states split on the organization’s mission. What emerged was an entity with an operational responsibility to run programs on the ground when countries want them, and a policymaking arm to ensure women sit at the center of the U.N.’s work. All that costs real money, which points to the more fundamental problem: the financial resources critical to U.N. Women’s success have failed to materialize. While countless U.N. speeches have eloquently emphasized the importance of improving the lot of women and girls, contributions to the fledgling organization haven’t lived up to the rhetoric."
Despite this, Bachelet seems up to the task.

16 September 2011

Startup Cemetery ~ Parochial Kendall Honorium

The Entrepreneur Walk of Fame in Kendall Square, Cambridge has just been unveiled -- and I'm pretty disappointed. Unfortunately, it really ought to be called the Kendall Startup Cemetery since honorees are remembered via carved memorial tombstones spread incoherently throughout the Marriott plaza.

What's worse, the selection committee picked a rather parochial and narrowly unrepresentative lineup of initial entrepreneurs: seven old white US men. Really? If nothing else this is a strategic and PR blunder of the first order. With over half of the selectees already dead maybe hence the granite tombstones instead of a 21st century modern medium? And with fully six from the electro/IT sector alone and just one from biotech/lifesci, you might reasonably ask what about energy, finance, transportation, entertainment, food, and the other dominant super-sectors which most people care about?

Plus, while both Hewlett and Packard were separately saluted as co-founders of HP, only Gates and Jobs and Edison and Swanson were listed as "Founder" of their ventures. But venturing is a team sport -- i.e. what about Allen and Wozniak and Thomson and Boyer and the other actual co-founders on the startups? These unacknowledged co-creators are mostly the people who actually first built things. So what kind of mediocre message are we conveying when only the promoter-frontman is acknowledged as seemingly the solo entrepreneur?

Beyond this, the selectees are not even our local Hub heroes since all but one are west-coasters, which makes it look like we have to borrow glory. Yes, entrepreneurs are everywhere -- but then why are none of these honorees internationals from beyond US? -- i.e. where 95% of humanity lives on Planet Earth and where over a quarter of MIT students come from? Where are the Indian, the Chinese, and the Middle Easterner or African, each representing roughly 1/5 of global population? Only three are MIT alums, so maybe that's a subtle stab for diversity. But how about alums like BOSE of speakers fame, ADLittle founder of management consulting, IMPei the architect, Kalmus of Technicolor, Dorrance of Campbell Soup, Nickerson who co-founded Gillette, Olsen of Digital Equipment, Baddour of AMGEN, or Noyce of Intel -- all higher impact entrepreneurs in their day or exemplars from different sectors. And, finally, where are any of our women entrepreneurs? None? Zero?! Please.

When I originally proposed the basic idea of a Hall of Heroes at MIT many years ago, at least I suggested a thoughtfully diverse pool. There are plenty of compelling candidates to pick from, including inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs worldwide! Until those in charge of this memorial hurry up and fix things, this attempted honorium is really ill-considered and embarrassingly old-school. We here should be able to salute a properly complete cross-section of our authentically real creatives.

11 September 2011

Understanding MIT ~ How Research Uni's Work...

My colleague Bob Simha and I are hosting our Understanding MIT seminar again this Fall 2011 every Tuesday afternoon 4-6pm starting this week September 13th to survey research universities and how they work. Each week, we invite a different senior academic, administrative, and trustee leader of MIT to share with us what they do to help the Institute stay vital in the short, medium, and long term -- and, in turn, we ask what we can do to be pro-active in improving MIT as well.

06 September 2011

MIT Neurotechnology Ventures ~ Minds+Money

My MIT colleague Ed Boyden and I (with Rutledge Ellis-Behnke in Germany) are again hosting our Neurotechnology Ventures class this Fall at the Media Lab starting Thursday afternoon 8 September 2011 from 2-4pm. This course is all about envisioning, planning, and building startups (both entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial) to bring neuroengineering innovations to the world. Compelling venture themes include Neuroimaging, Neuromarketing, Neurology/Psychiatry Screening & Diagnosis, Mood & Behavioral Influencing, Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery, Neuropharmacology, Brain Stimulation, Prosthetics, Sensory and Motor Augmentation, Regenerative Neuromedicine, Learning, Memory & Cognitive Influencing, and more.

MIT Development Ventures ~ D-Lab Action 2011

My MIT colleague Alex (Sandy) Pentland and I are again hosting our D-Lab Development Ventures class this Fall 2011 at the Media Lab, this time in close coordination with Founder's Journey which demystifies the startup process and Building Mobile Apps which is about rapid prototyping solutions on smartphones! As always, we look forward to the latest new venture concepts our students propose -- in domains ranging from Health, Energy, Education, Commerce, and beyond -- and we try to help the most motivated teams and promising ideas actually start and thrive!

02 September 2011

MIT Urban Ventures ~ Innovations for Vital Cities

We're launching a new action lab at MIT on Urban Ventures about commercializing innovations for green, clean, responsive cities! Starts Wednesday, 7 September 2011, in Media Lab E14-525 at 1pm...