talking teddy ruxpin art intstallation

This 2012 art installation came up in conversation earlier today, when Henry told me about the day he visited Axman Surplus in Saint Paul and passed on the opportunity to buy 100 Teddy Ruxpin innards, including working mouth and cassette player. He should kick himself every day for passing up on that opportunity.

Thanks to the interconnectivity provided by the internet people have never before been better able to express their emotions to the world community. Everyday hundreds of thousands of people use a myriad of blogs and other online outlets to discuss how they are feeling on an endless array of topics ranging from superficial thoughts on the quality ones ‘hair day’ to extremely intimate considerations of love, betrayal or even whether or not they should end their lives. Literally every subtle increment on the scale of the human emotional condition is expressed but sadly due to the tremendous scale of information available many of these expressions are buried within a sea of noise. With T,E.D. my aim is to give a literal voice and physical presence to a portion of this content as it is expressed in real-time…

TED is a large, wall-based installation consisting of an array of 80 Teddy Ruxpin dolls that speak emotional content gathered from the web via synthetic speech with animated mouths. The speaking of the emotional content is accompanied by one of twenty-four musical vignettes that have been paired to the emotional content being spoken. Each vignette, representing one of twenty-four subtle variants of human emotion, have been composed in such a way that the beginnings and ends of the short pieces will seamlessly dogleg in any possible configuration and stream endlessly as a unified whole.

The installation is allowed to drift about freely through the emotional landscape being driven only by those who are contributing content to the piece whether unwittingly or consciously. As such the overall presentation of the piece can vary greatly based on external conditions such as seasons, world events and even time of day. The piece is essentially taking the instantaneous emotional pulse of the internet and this collective pulse, like a human pulse, varies over time.

[via MAKE]

The Truth About Google X: An Exclusive Look Behind The Secretive Lab's Closed Doors | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Generally speaking, there are three criteria that X projects share.

All must address a problem that affects millions–or better yet, billions–of people.

All must utilize a radical solution that has at least a component that resembles science fiction.

And all must tap technologies that are now (or very nearly) obtainable.

via The Truth About Google X: An Exclusive Look Behind The Secretive Lab’s Closed Doors | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

Greg Swan Google Glass NBC

My colleague Brandon Sullivan, fellow blogger Josh Braaten and I had the opportunity to share our thoughts about Google Glass with our local NBC affiliate earlier today.

Today is special because Google opened the Explorer program to any U.S. consumer interested in purchasing Glass and helping pioneer the field of smart lens technology. That means consumers are having to weigh that early adopter opportunity against the reality of dropping $1,500 for a 1.0 product that will soon be outdated.

Real time translation with Google Glass, KARE 11, Greg Swan

We spent time with KARE 11 talking about how Glass works, the impact of real-time content publishing, Weber Shandwick’s wpForGlass, some of the open and honest drawbacks about this version (e.g., battery life, fashion), the awesome features of the device today (real-time translation!), and yes, Glassholes.

Watch the piece here.

As a bonus, here’s a pic I via Glass took during the interview that I published straight to my music blog via our own wpForGlass. YES!!

google glass weber shandwick

So should you buy Google Glass today?

Yes, if:

  • You can afford it.
  • You are of the mindset that today’s latest technology outpaces itself regularly.
  • You aren’t afraid to laugh at yourself months/years/decades from now about wearing this silly thing on your face.
  • You will be an open and honest advocate, taking care to explain how Glass works to strangers but never shying from your convictions about important things like privacy, fashion and utility.
  • You want to be part of driving what’s next and driving value for emerging technologies — truly being part of creating something that could impact our society.

Otherwise, don’t. This is still the first, developer version of Glass, and it isn’t a technology that is ready for general consumers. That could come down the line, but only if the right people invest in developing enough utility and use cases that truly add value to consumers (drive down the cost, improve the hardware, increase the number of apps, etc).


Pew Research Center: The Next America

You might be waiting for things to settle down. For the kids to be old enough, for work to calm down, for the economy to recover, for the weather to cooperate, for your bad back to let up just a little…

The thing is, people who make a difference never wait for just the right time. They know that it will never arrive.

Instead, they make their ruckus when they are short of sleep, out of money, hungry, in the middle of a domestic mess and during a blizzard. Whenever.

As long as whenever is now. — Seth Godin

via Seth’s Blog: The right moment.

People who make a difference never wait for just the right time. They know that it will never arrive.

Staples wants to be the Kinkos of 3D printing, according to TechCrunch.

“Staples is getting a jump on 3D printing and just rolled-out a 3D printing service to two of its U.S. locations in New York and Los Angeles, where consumers can walk in and have a 3D doodad printed. If this trial proves successful, the retailer says it will expand the service to more locations.”

I relate this news to libraries going all-digital and adding 3D printing capabilities in their computer labs as a value-added service to communities.

Companies are starting to see a business reason for those same “print it yourself” functions, and that’s what Staples is bringing to the market. It’s an exciting step forward to the mainstreaming of product design and user-experimentation.

As a notable sci-fi reference to this trend, Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age (1995) describes the evolution of the Post Office as a place we will go to have large deliveries “printed,” such as cars and beds.

Essentially printing items of a size and complexity your home 3D printer (aka matter compiler) of the future couldn’t handle. Are we on track to that prediction? Time will tell.

A long, but must-read piece on The Personal News Cycle. As we consider consumer engagement, crisis and content strategy, I will be quoting from this every week for the next year…

In contrast to the idea that one generation tends to rely on print, another on television and still another the web, the majority of Americans across generations now combine a mix of sources and technologies to get their news each week, according to the survey by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Where people go for news, moreover, depends significantly on the topic of the story — whether it is sports or science, politics or weather, health or arts — and on the nature of the story — whether it is a fast-moving event, a slower-moving trend, or an issue that the person follows passionately.

The data also challenge another popular idea about the digital age, the notion that with limitless choices people follow only a few subjects in which they are interested and only from sources with which they agree — the idea of the so-called “filter bubble.”

There are relatively few differences by generation, party, or socioeconomic status in the level of interest with which people report following different topics.

The data from the survey, which was designed to probe what adults distinguish most in their news consumption in the digital age, offer a portrait of Americans becoming increasingly comfortable using technology in ways that take advantage of the strengths of each medium and each device.

There are five devices or technologies that majorities of Americans use to get news in a given week.

The average American adult uses four different devices or technologies for news.

Three-quarters of Americans get news at least daily, including 6 out of 10 adults under age 30.

Nearly half of Americans with internet access have signed up for news alerts.

And the rapid growth in mobile technology is changing the mix. Among smartphone owners, 78 percent report using their device to get news in the last week.

Seventy-three percent of tablet owners use their device to get news. And people with more devices tend to enjoy following the news more. News consumers who use more technology are more likely to report that they enjoy keeping up with the news and are more likely to say that it’s easier to keep up with the news today than it was five years ago.

At the same time, these tech-savvy news consumers continue to use traditional platforms as well. For example, they are no more or less likely than everyone else to use print publications, television, or radio to access the news.

You have to read the whole thing…

The Personal News Cycle: How Americans choose to get their news – American Press Institute.