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A Few Examples of Some Great Emerging Tech from #reworktech

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The Re:Work conference was a multi-disciplinary event packed with some interesting tech, from health to connected objects to urban design. Here’s just some of the things that caught my eye:

Bots, bots and bots …

  • Mobile Bots – Some very handy tech from Helical Robotics  that solve problems in hard to access places. They’ve developed climbing bots that are able to inspect and repair wind turbines. Most impressive were a set of autonomous mobile bots that could assemble pipelines in remote environments.
  • Shape shifting robots – using the principles of Origami, these are small robots that can reconfigure themselves – called ‘Robogami’. There are a many applications for the tech, but these bots are particularly useful in the medical field – they can help with facial paralysis by becoming a therapy tool that fits the shape of the wearer’s head.

  • Pancake making bots – whilst it’s not exactly going to take the drudgery out of everyday life, here’s an example of a bot that taught itself to make pancakes with instructions from Wikihow. Is it churlish to say that using pre-mix pancakes is cheating? Next up, the blini making bot.

2D, 3D and 4D Objects …

  • Connected print (2D) – I love simple, accessible solutions that harness existing technologies. Using conductive inks, Novalia showed a poster of a fully working drum kit. Their examples connected to small, cheap soundboards, but the printing could also connect Makey Makey, Arduino  or Raspberry Pi boards.
  • The 3D printed house – many people have talked about the concept, but DUS Architects in The Netherlands are actually doing it. Using a giant 3D printer they are building a canal-side house over the course of 6 months.
  • 4D Objects – Yes, 4D! The fourth dimension is time. Printing complex objects in 3D is all very well, but putting them together can be a very time consuming, manual process. The solution is to create self-assembling objects that use little or no energy. Skyler Tibbits from MIT’s Self Assembly Lab http://selfassemblylab.net/ is part of a cross disciplinary team developing 4D. Of course, we’re probably all thinking one thing; wouldn’t it be great if our Ikea furniture could assemble itself. See this video to understand how it works:

And a few more interesting bits …

  • The invisible cycle helmet – An elegant solution to the problem of looking silly in a cycle helmet. It’s been widely covered in the tech press, but if you missed it, here’s see how the helmet works.
  • Interaction – Joel Gethin Lewis (from Hellicar and Lewis) has made some really cool work. Some for brands (such as Coca Cola/Maroon 5), some are health projects and others as pure art.

Two great examplesfrom Hellicar and Lewis are:

Somantics – a superb fee app that helps young people on the autistic spectrum to express themselves – download the app!
Hello Cube – an art interactive art project designed by Yayoi Kusama and controlled by Twitter users

Best of all, they open source all their work, even the brand projects. You can download some useful code their Github site.

For more on the Re:Work conference, there’s a useful Storify here: http://storify.com/elisenardin/re-work-tech-2013-a-recap or visit the Re:work site.