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03 Jul

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The most interesting indie R&D shops

July 3, 2014 | By |

Indie R&D Shops

 

For future reference, a short list of some of the more interesting independent companies, studios, design and dev shops that are engaged in invention, prototyping or research & development.

Some work mostly in software, some more with hardware or interfaces. Some more conceptual, some more product-oriented, some squarely in between.

  • Hubbub invent and build playful digital products. Berlin/Utrecht.
  • überproduct. Protyping and external R&D, in code or on paper. Berlin.
  • The Incredible Machine. Focus on connected devices/IoT. Rotterdam.
  • Near Future Lab. Thinking, making, design, development and research practice. (Several locations across California & Europe)
  • Relative Wave. Focus on software and visual stuff. San Francisco.
  • BERG London. Just included for historical reasons as they are not taking on client work after transitioning their business to build BERGCloud.
  • MCQN is all about the IoT. They build connected devices, for clients and themselves. Liverpool.
  • HardwareLabs.io turns hardware prototypes into finished products. London.

If you are aware of others that should be part of this list, please let me know.

 

Full disclosure: Many friends on this list. Alper of Hubbub and I share an office at the time of writing this. Hubbub, überproduct, The Incredible Machine and BERG London all have been involved as speakers at conferences of mine.

16 Aug

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BÄM – my lead article for the upcoming issue of t3n magazine is online

August 16, 2013 | By |

BÄM

 

For next week’s print issue of t3n magazine, I wrote the lead article. It’s mostly an overview of the macro trends shaping the technology landscape right now: The Internet of Things, Big Data, context-aware services, R&D and experimentation, that kind of thing.

The article is part of the issue’s preview available online (it’s in German).

And while you’re there, why don’t you also check out Martin‘s piece on IoT in the same issue. Subscribers get the print copy next week, and it’ll be in stores the week after.

 

T3N #33: BÄM There’s a Scoble on the cover.

 

t3n 33 Photo by Martin Spindler.

14 Apr

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A job I’d enjoy: running an R&D lab

April 14, 2013 | By |

nur dinge / just things

I believe it’s good to articulate personal preferences, wishes and goals clearly and, if possible, publicly. It can help foster serendipity, but mostly it keeps one honest. So as a note to myself, a reminder of something I’d love to do at some point in my life: Run an R&D lab.

More concretely, one that outputs products, services, and insights and works on a project mix spanning the commercially interesting, the purely explorational and the primarily socially valuable. In other words, prototyping tomorrow with business savvy and a moral compass.

The rough organizational framework would look something like this:

  • a serious budget
  • full autonomy in how things are run and what the teams work on
  • a mission statement to work on a mix of commercially interesting, purely explorational and primarily socially valuable projects

And with this, I’d set out to gather a team of kick-ass developers, designers and tinkerers who could have a crack of lots of thorny, challenging issues, fascinating ideas or just inspired whims.

I’m almost sure it’d be much cooler to do this outside the corporate context, more like a self-sustainable autonomous R&D/exploration thing. (Needless to say, initial funding might turn out to be somewhat tricky, but that’s not what this post is about.) But even if it’d happen within a corporation, I don’t assume anyone would just walk up to me with this kind of a job description. More likely, it’s a job I’ll rather have to invent for myself at some point in my life.

Until then, I’ll just work bits and pieces of this mental framework into the way I work whenever I can. After all, to some degree (and minus the big budget) it’s something that’s really quite compatible with how I work. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that would be quite fun.

05 Feb

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Recent reading (7 links for Feb 5)

February 5, 2013 | By |

San Telmo street art

Irregularly, I post noteworthy articles I recently read. Enjoy!

 

Kickstarting: A Wi-Fi-Enabled Lamp That Lets You Say Goodnight Across The Globe: FastCo’s take on the Good Night Lamp, a series of connected lamps that helps you send social signals in more ambient way. I’m a big fan of both the product and the team, so I recommend you have a closer look. (Just noticed I first blogged about this in 2007. Time flies!) (link);

 

Top 10 Lessons Learned at Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Biohacking Conference: A report from the front line of the biohacking and quantified self community. (link)

 

Shooters: How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers: How video games, through licensing fees, help funding arms producers. A very scary thought. – by Simon Parkin (link)

 

The World is Getting Better. Quickly.: On a more uplifting note, turns out that overall we’re making quite good progress on a global scale towards bettering life conditions for everyone. Some highlights from Bill Gates’ report on the progress of his foundation and their goals. (link)

 

Dell goes private in $24.4 billion deal, including $2 billion loan from Microsoft: Dell buys back the company shares, ridding itself of the pressure of quarterly earnings reports to shareholders. Impressive, and also something that can serve us as a reminder to always keep thinking about incentives we create for ourselves and our companies. – by Nathan Ingraham (link)

 

Q: “How much does an app cost?” A: “About as much as a car.”: Neat metaphor-slash-guideline: How much does an app cost? It costs about as much as a car does, it just depends on what you want. “I just want an app and I want it to work” = 1994 Honda Civic = $1-5K. You just want a simple app. Nothing fancy, and you don’t really care who works on it. (link)

 

EU-Flaggschiff-Initiative: Forscher erhalten Milliardenförderung: Quick overview of the projects that got the EU’s 1b Euro funding for scientific research. How awesome are the two projects that won? Very. How awesome are the ones that didn’t get the funding? Also: very. I’m all for institutional funding of science. (link)