OK, it’s not exactly Dickens. But how about a great story delivered to you by text message? That’s the idea hatched by Prerna Gupta and Parag Chordia. The two entrepreneurs launched their company, Telepathic, a year ago with an application called Hooked after raising $1.9 million from investors that included numerous venture capital firms and Lean Startup author Eric Rie… And the kids, they do love it. READ MORE: More than 1.8 million teens are reading books by text messages thanks to this start-up | The Washington Post
It began as an audacious side project. Three dads and an uncle got together to make a personalized book for children. The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name, in which any child’s name, thanks to some nifty algorithms, dictates the plot turns, became a surprise hit. It was the bestselling picture book in the U.K. last year. This week, it topped a million copies sold worldwide (to actual customers, mind you, not retailers).
How do you follow up that sort of debut? Lost My Name, the London startup that grew out of the project—part tech company, part book publisher, and backed by Google Ventures and others—just launched its second personalized tale, The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home. READ MORE: Is This The Most Technologically Advanced Book Ever Published? | FastCompany
French startup CodinGame just raised $1.6 million from Isai for its innovative code learning platform. As the name suggests, CodinGame is all about games — not game development, not gamification, just plain games. The logic behind each exercise is tied to an actual game so that you get visual feedback and an actual reward when you solve an exercise.
“This is not just a gimmick as we have metrics to back our vision. If you mix games with learning, you get a very motivating experience,” co-founder and CEO Frédéric Desmoulins told me. “Playing and learning at the same time is a virtuous circle.”
For each exercise, you can pick a programming language among more than 20, such as Python, Ruby, Java, Scala and more. The company targets people who already know the basics when it comes to programming and also has tough challenges for expert developers. In particular, a multiplayer mode is getting quite popular among developers. In this mode, you learn the basics of artificial intelligence and clash with others to see if your code is more efficient.
Beyond Wearables: New Frontiers in Interactive Tech | WIRED
IN THE FINAL months of 2014, wearable technology sparked significant media and consumer attention – not least thanks to the announcement of the Apple Watch. But as wearables move from the margins into the mainstream, it’s time to consider the next wave of interactive technology.
Programmable Clothes Are Going Commercial | Co.Design
Clothes speak volumes about us, conveying messages about wealth, taste, and personal beliefs. So in this age of ubiquitous screens and social sharing, it’s no surprise that textiles have become another platform for electronic communication. But two new efforts are commercializing the technology, creating consumer fashions that allow the wearer to project any electronic text or image she desires.
Somehow Teen Girls Get the Coolest Wearable Out There | WIRED
JEWELBOTS ARE BRACELETS with programmable plastic flowers made for middle-school girls. They’re also the most interesting wearable I’ve seen this year. Their creators describe them as “friendships bracelets that teach girls to code.”
This Jacket Is a Dream Come True and I Need It Now | Jezebel
The BauBax jacket—which CNN quite accurately refers to as “the Swiss Army knife of
travel wear”—which debuted on Kickstarter last week with a goal of raising $20,000. They have since raised over $600,000 because it is a stunningly good idea. The jacket contains 15 pockets and a slew of built-in doodads.
These Strange Clothes Came Out of a Regular Old 3-D Printer | WIRED
Paired with new cellular structures being devised by 3-D printing re
searchers, the material allowed Peleg to create “lace-like textiles” that she could work with
“just like cloth.” She printed them using a Witbox—a $1,800 machine. [Image: Danit Peleg]
These Mathematical Scarves Are Designed By a Computer Algorithm | Gizmodo
It’s still summer, but these mathematical merino scarves designed with a computer algorithm are getting us in the mood for colder temps. They’re called KnitYak: black-and-white merino scarves that each have a snowflake-unique design that’s generated by a computer algorithm.
A Paper-Thin Solar Panel Can Charge Your Phone on the Go | Lifehacker
Solar panels keep getting lighter and tinier—good news for rugged on-the-go types who can charge their devices on the trail with sun-fueled chargers. And this particular solar charger on Kickstarter is so thin, you can slip it in your Lonely Planet while it feeds your phone battery.
Disney’s $1 Billion Bet on a Magical Wristband | WIRED
The MagicBands look like simple, stylish rubber wristbands offered in cheery shades of grey, blue, green, pink, yellow, orange and red. Inside each is an RFID chip and a radio like those in a 2.4-GHz cordless phone. The wristband has enough battery to last two years. It may look unpretentious, but the band connects you to a vast and powerful system of sensors within the park.
New Process Can Print Stretchy Electronics Onto Your Clothes | TechCrunch
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a single-step process to print conductive material on cloth, allowing manufacturers to build stretchable wearables that can test vital signs like heart rate and muscle contraction.
Google’s Project Jacquard Aims To Make “Activewear” A Reality | ReadWriteWeb
What’s really fascinating about Project Jacquard…the clothing itself ought to be an interactive thing. It ought to provide us an opportunity to interact with devices around us. That’s the breakthrough that Project Jacquard is really talking about—now, instead of just passive data collection, your clothing is an opportunity for you to interact with devices.
Sensory Fiction | Felix | VIMEO
Sensory fiction is about new ways of experiencing and creating stories. Traditionally, fiction creates and induces emotions and empathy through words and images. By using a combination of networked sensors and actuators, the Sensory Fiction author is provided with new means of conveying plot, mood, and emotion while still allowing space for the reader’s imagination.
How to Print a Super-Thin Touchscreen Display on Just About Anything | Gizmodo
[T]his award-winning paper is perhaps the coolest we’ve seen: It lays out a new technique for printing cheap, simple touchscreen displays with conventional printers. It’s called PrintScreen, and it’s a system that allows the user to print on nearly a
From The Designers Of Fitbit, A Digital Tattoo Implanted Under Your Skin | Co.Design
We asked NewDealDesign, the design consultancy behind projects like the Fitbit line of activity trackers, and Google’s modular Project Ara smartphone, what things might look like when technology and fashion reach beyond the wrist. In response, they created Project Underskin. It’s a concept for a smart digital tattoo which would be implanted in your hand and interact with everything you touch. It can unlock your front door, trade data with a handshake, or even tell you if you have low blood sugar.
Depending how you look at it, the Lost My Name team has either created one artful book or 53,849. The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name, the top-selling picture book in the U.K. last year, is personalized for each recipient. The child’s name doesn’t simply get mentioned a few times—an easy enough publishing gimmick. Rather, the story itself changes; different characters appear for each name. In fulfilling orders for 53,849 children’s names so far, the company has created that many stories—and books.
The technology required for that degree of customization and print-on-demand capability is significant. “There are tens of thousands of lines of code behind every book we deliver,” co-founder Asi Sharabi tells me on a recent visit to the Lost My Name offices. “Everything we do is on software.” READ MORE: The Picture Book That Parents Worldwide—And Google Ventures—Can’t Put Down | Co.Create | creativity + culture + commerce.
I’m in a laboratory at Drexel University watching a remote-controlled robot do a spastic breakdance across the floor. The fist-sized, brightly colored bot looks simple enough: It has two wheels, two antennae, and what appears to be a friendly face. But it has a mission much bigger and more ambitious than its tiny form factor: This thing wants to teach kids how to become programmers.
This freewheeling toy android comes from a young startup called LocoRobo. Its moves are set using a mobile app that allows the user to program simple actions: go forward, accelerate, spin around, stop. And while plenty of kids would be content to play with a smartphone-controlled toy robot, LocoRobo wants to let them dig much deeper into the code and sensors that make it work. READ MORE: Can These Tiny Robots Teach Fourth Graders How To Code? | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.
Startup VA-ST thinks its depth-sensing glasses can help people with little sight get around more easily. READ MORE: Augmented-Reality Goggles Aim to Help Legally Blind See | MIT Technology Review
I hope this acquisition translates into a viable book recommendation/review community for Apple’s iBooks. It isn’t a good thing that GoodReads is the dominant book recommendation service, specially with Amazon owning stakes in both GoodReads and LibraryThing.
San Francisco startup Vicarious aims to create ‘a computer that thinks like a person except it doesn’t need to eat or sleep’. via Zuckerberg and Musk back software startup that mimics human learning | Technology | theguardian.com.
Education & Technology
Intel Has Acquired Kno, Will Push Further Into The Education Content Market With Interactive Textbooks | TechCrunch
We had a tip about, and have now confirmed, Intel’s latest acquisition: Kno, the education startup that started life as a hardware business and later pivoted into software – specifically via apps that let students read interactive versions of digitized textbooks.
- Securly Raises $1M From NewSchools, Imagine K12 Founder To Help Schools Protect Their Students Online | TechCrunch
- Espresso [education] bought by Discovery | The Bookseller
- McDonalds Wants To Start 3D Printing Happy Meal Toys For Unhappy Kids | Business Insider
- YouTube’s New Comments System Requires Users to Use Google+, Prompts F-Bomb From YouTube Co-Founder | AllThingsD
- ALA: ALA urges swift action on E-rate reforms | District Dispatch and ALA Reply to ‘ALA Supports Orland Park Public Library Stance on Viewing Porn’ | Examiner.com
- Our Favorite Pop Culture Librarians | Flavorwire. 15 of Flavorwire’s favourite fictional librarians.
- NBC News Digital to launch J.F.K. anniversary site with 275 videos from Brokaw interviews | Capital
- Save Our Libraries takes Scots closures plans to court | Teleread
- Three bibliophiles who have founded a library for regional languages: Pustaka | YourStory
- Hoopla Announces Agreements with Universal Pictures, MGM, National Geographic, and BBC America | The Digital Shift