*notcot - 08.25.12 , 15:30 - 2 Notes

Unboxing the HTC One S

android0.jpg We bounce around a lot of phones here at NOTCOT ~ but my primary phone has been an HTC for some time now (from the G1 to the hero to legend to the sensation) and others at NOTCOT have been loyal iPhone users as soon as newest models launch. Something about the iPhone UI and design i’ve yet to completely give in to ~ and HTC has always created lustworthy hardware that feels inexplicably good in my hand… and their HTC Sense OS built on android is always so slick and intuitive and customizable, for a while i actually started to think i just liked android, but the last few weeks we’ve given up both an iPhone 4S and the HTC Sensation and Shawn and i have been side by side trying the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One S, only to have me realize while i like Android, i really like Android the way HTC Sense handles it… the Samsung Galaxy S III doesn’t feel nearly as good physically, and the subtle differences between what’s possible in their UI/UX makes quite a difference. The color handling in the camera is great, and it’s definitely at a level where random cell phone shots are becoming good enough for blog posts when i don’t have a proper dlsr with me… Anyhow, take a peek at the unboxing of the HTC One S and a few of my favorite UI details on the next page! Their attention to detail on the design and packaging is impressive!

p.s.
Nearly all of the recent NOTlabs instagram pics are from the One S!

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*notcot - 08.15.12 , 09:00 - 0 Notes

Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria

linz1.jpg This post is part of a content series presented by smartwater… smartwater, good taste travels well. Click here to learn more. The opinions and content in this post are 100% NOTCOT, smartwater is supporting us to share what we love with you! Advertisement

Often, the best types of travel takes you unexpected places to experience things you couldn’t even imagine! Next up for NOTCOT is Linz, Austria! We’re thrilled to head to the annual Ars Electronica Festival for Art, Technology, and Society August 30 to September 3rd… where the some of the world’s most incredible cutting edge artists, technologists, designers, scientists, thinkers, and more will come together. From exhibitions, to talks, to getting to see incredible interactive projects we’ve only seen online in person… and a chance to meet the people behind them!

As they explain it, “The 2012 Ars Electronica Festival, the Linz, Austria-based, world- renowned celebration of excellence in media art, opens on August 30. The theme: “The Big Picture - New Concepts for a New World.” This year’s conclave will showcase inspiring best- practice examples from art and science in calling for a new, open perspective conducive to the development of a viable vision for our future. The Festival is an inquiry into what it takes to compose such a Big Picture and just how it can be implemented. Dozens of scientists, scholars and artists from all over the world will convene in Linz from August 30 to September 3. They include: artist/scientist Joe Davis (US); George Church (US), genetics professor at Harvard Medical School; robotics engineer Hiroshi Ishiguro (JP); Adam Bly (CA), founder of the online science magazine Seed; curator, author, video filmmaker and cultural journalist Jens Hauser (DE/FR); and Julius von Bismarck (DE), the hot young star of the European media art scene.”

While an award for the Free Universal Construction Kit is what is bringing Shawn and I to the festival, between preparing for his talk and designing the display for the toys, we’re starting to get giddy about projects we’ll get to see at the Ars Electronica Festival… take a peek at some of the incredible projects on the next page!

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*notcot - 08.08.12 , 00:15 - 1 Notes

Botanicus Interacticus by Disney Research

botanicus0.jpg Just back, and the project definitely worth seeing in person at Siggraph 2012 comes from Disney Research - Botanicus Interacticus turns plants into human-computer interfaces… caress, grab, approach the plant to change the visualizations! Plants as interfaces seems to be a growing trend. This reminded me of Mathieu Lehanneur’s 2010 Once Upon A Dream bed that we saw in Milan, where you barely touch the plant hanging overhead to activate the light dimmer. Also, NOTCOT.org just highlighted Viktor Kölbig’s Aura, which turns a plant in a glass of water into a light, and you touch the plant to change colors. However, Botanicus Interacticus, using Disney Research’s Touché technology takes those concepts even further, being able to sense various gestures, such as sliding of fingers on the stem, touching, grabbing, and even proximity to the plant as well as the amount of touch and more! In fact, they created an amazing tactile feedback (accidentally!) with the orchid example, where when you touched it - you’d feel tingling vibrations! (Which they said was from speakers beneath.)

Botanicus Interacticus comes from Disney Research’s Ivan Poupyrev in collaboration with Philipp Schoessler, Jonas Loh/Studio NAND, and Munehiko Sato. Can you imagine the interactive possibilities? The spaces you could create? Be it an interactive theme park space you explore… or dimming the mood lighting in your living room… controlling your music… sounding an alarm? Things you could hide in your garden? A replacement for botanical garden information cards next to plants? The options are endless, and a great example of ubiquitous computing becoming reality! However, i can’t help but wonder, how this will evolve to accommodate how careful you need to be when watering the plants, or they start to grow?

Take a look on the next page to see their display at Siggraph, the 4 examples they set up, video, and more information on Botanicus Interacticus!

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*notcot - 08.06.12 , 17:40 - 2 Notes

Flos D’E-Light by Starck

flosstarck.jpg NOTCOT SPECIAL from FLOS! Enter NOTCOT at checkout to receive 10% off of the D’E-Light Table Lamp by FLOS exclusively at Lumens.com. Limited to the first 10 NOTCOT readers.

Perhaps the ultimate iPhone/iPad charger accessory for your desk or bedside table… the Flos D’E-Light by Philippe Starck! In addition to its chrome finish, this minimalist, energy efficient LED desk light is now in an awesome matte black version exclusive to Lumens! Flos and Lumens were kind enough to send one over for us to check out, and it looks and feels even better in person! (Though somehow in my head, i imagined it larger than it is!) The matte finish feels like a soft touch rubber, and the simple touch sensor on the side of the light glows a subtle orange… there are three states it toggles through, 100% brightness, 50% brightness, and off. Within the box are even plug adapters for multiple countries (including US, Europe, UK). Take a peek on the next page at the full unboxing as well as a look at all of the details!

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*notcot - , 12:15 - 1 Notes

NOTlabs: Squadt K11 BOOMERcam

mainfergcam.jpg We’ve been long time fans of Project Squadt by Ferg and Playge. You’ve seen our NKD Jack as well as our little team of Fr0g and K11 Sp0ts (s001 + s003). From their intricate details, accessories, branding, and more ~ what’s not to love? In fact, in this year’s Designer Toy Awards, Ferg is up for Artist of the Year, Nozzel S00 Squadt by Ferg & Playge is up for Fan Favorite, Squadt Fr0g S001 & K11 Spot [SWAMP DWLLR] by Ferg & Playge are up for Toy of the Year, and Playge Doctor Skelve (W/ hood) by Ferg & Brandt Peters is up for Best Collaboration. Phew it’s been quite a year for Ferg and his ever growing collection of creatures!

With a K11 Spot (dog like creature that resembles a surveillance camera), we couldn’t help but wonder whether it could be an ACTUAL working camera! Together with Ferg, we decided to try it out! He sent over a Squadt K11 BOOMER (in addition to looking camera like, the little guy’s head opens!) and we went to work in the NOTlabs hacking a little wireless video camera into his head! It ended up needing some dremeling, 3d printing, laser cutting, and more to get the little guy going, but now he may LOOK like another toy on the desk, but he’s streaming video! See the process and video of him in action on the next page!

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*notcot - 08.03.12 , 13:50 - 1 Notes

Mini MINIs at Olympics

minimini00.jpg The Where’s Waldo of the 2012 Olympics is definitely spotting the mini radio controlled MINIs! Justine and i just spent far too long scrubbing through hours of Track & Field feeds and watching the latest coverage trying to spot the tiny minis in action… We shared these on NOTCOT.org, but have since learned more, and been obsessed with finding them in action!

What are the Mini MINIs? According to the BMW Press Release, BMW is proud to introduce another critical electric vehicle to the Olympic and Paralympic fleet: the Mini MINI. This specially developed and designed radio controlled electric car will be used on the field of play in the Olympic Stadium to ferry javelins, discuses, hammers and shots back from the field to the throwing area, saving valuable time during competition.

Three Mini MINIs will be deployed for this crucial task and will be operated by Games Makers assigned and trained for this duty. The cars are roughly a quarter scale of the full-sized car and carry the athletic equipment situated inside, accessible through the adapted sunroof. The Mini MINIs are all blue and feature the same Games livery as the ‘full-size’ official fleet vehicles. Each of the three Mini MINIs will cover around 6,000 metres per day in four-hour shifts across nine days of Olympic and nine days of Paralympic competition.

They are surprisingly hard to spot ~ and now oddly satisfying when we do find them… have you seen them in motion? Actually transporting the javelins, etc? See more pics (and share yours with us!) on the next page!

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*notcot - 07.12.12 , 11:49 - 0 Notes

NOTlabs: Dumbrella SDCC 2012 Signage

dumbrella0.jpg LASERS!!! On looking for excuses to play with our new laser cutter ~ NOTlabs just created some signage for our friends at Dumbrella for San Diego Comic Con 2012! After a few experiments, we decided to go with laser cutting wood and acrylic ~ and having sanded clear acrylic with inlayed wood letters suspended from a clean black pipe structure. On the next page you can see how the process unfolded, and how fun watching the laser cutter in action is!

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*notcot - 07.10.12 , 15:40 - 0 Notes

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation PRO

mophie0.jpg Impressive! Recently bought the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro before heading out to Bonnaroo ~ mostly to ensure that if i got separated from the rest or my phone battery was dying and i needed more power to play with the camera, etc i’d have an easy solution for iphone/htc sensation/anyone else with their usb charger… and not knowing what the weather would be like (since often it can become a rainy, muddy, mess) ~ “the IP65 rating means that this device is totally dust-proof (with the ports closed) and resistant to water being sprayed at it with a water-jet. Getting the powerstation PRO wet is no big deal (even in the shower*), but don’t try taking a bath with it.” Sounded perfect! It also has a 6,000 mAh capacity and up to 2.1amp, high-output charging which has been holding up wonderfully for traveling and having the ability to charge both my HTC Sensation and Shawn’s iPhone 4S from flashing red battery meters. Take a peek at unboxing and detail pics on the next page!

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*notcot - 07.09.12 , 12:50 - 1 Notes

NOTlabs: Rabbit Laser Cutter Unboxing

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LASERS! NOTlabs is now outfitted with a Rabbit Laser 80-1290 laser cutter that has an 80 Watt laser tube and a 4’x3’ cutting area! This (in combination with our Makerbot) means we can create 2D+3D designs and start cutting, prototyping, and playing with them immediately. The machine works by bouncing a laser beam off of 3 mirrors to a focusing lens that directs the beam downwards into the material. Essentially it is an extremely precise and powerful upgrade from our hand held X-acto knifing that can cut through things such as 1/2” wood or acrylic. Since the beam is very thin we are able to make very precise cuts, as well as etch intricate details (like the etching you’ve seen on moleskines, MacBooks, etc.)

We explored whether to build our own (i.e. LASERSAUR), or go for a smaller Epilog or Universal laser cutter which Shawn has worked with extensively in the past… and the Rabbit Laser 1290 model with an 80 Watt laser tube was the best option. It’s been nice having the 10” Z-height as well as a pass through for when we want to send larger objects through the machine. It can reach up to 1000 dpi (which is plenty since we’re focusing on cutting versus engraving). On nice design details, the parts tray is a great catchall below the workbed which you can easily slide out to empty scraps or find valuables which may have fallen through.

The story behind Rabbit Laser USA distribution is a fascinating one: short story being that Ohio engineer, Raymond Scott, was looking for the best quality with greater affordability and when ordering his own, ended up taking over a full shipment of machines (which he then needed to sell), learning about importing/customs(re)crating/etc, and exploring the factories in China, and more… and a few years later, it has evolved into a family business, where he and his wife Carol (and even his young daughters help out!) have a warehouse in Ohio, carefully inspect and test each machine that comes in, they come out and personally install the machines and train you for a day with each purchase, and have a great feedback loop with King Rabbit in China to constantly improve the design details and software needs for the laser cutters. In the day that Ray came out, i learned more than i ever imagined about not only how a laser cutter works and how to take care of it, but so much about the business side and interaction with the King Rabbit manufacturing standards, facilities, and more as well. But back to the UNBOXING… or uncrating, rather… it was quite the adventure, so take a peek on the next page to see the uncrating and setup!

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*notcot - 07.01.12 , 04:49 - 0 Notes

MakerBot Replicator Unbox + Toy Project

makerbot0.jpg It has been quite the (educational) adventure joining our NOTlabs director, Shawn Sims, and Golan Levin as they launched their Free Universal Construction Kit project… from learning about toys and 3d modeling, to the different 3D printing techniques and materials, to Intellectual Property and Patent law! One of the most exciting and interesting aspect of the project to me personally has been what the average person without access to top of the line manufacturing machines can really 3D print at home, and how does it work? Thanks to the amazing folks at MakerBot, today we got to find out through their Replicator (with dual extruders)!

Anyone can download the variety of Free Universal Construction Kit pieces on Thingiverse, send them to their 3D printer, and shortly after have toy adapters to play with! Of course depending on the resolution of the printer and the printing technique, some pieces will work better than others, so it was thrilling tonight to get to try them out on the MakerBot (the originals were made on an Objet) ~ on the next page you can see a full unboxing and the preparation of the MakerBot Replicator as well as our first “home” printing of some Free Universal Construction Kit toys! (And yes, this is the kind of project that has kept us busy in the NOTlabs till 4:30am!)

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*notcot - 06.27.12 , 20:31 - 1 Notes

Sonos Studio LA & SUB

sonosmain.jpg There’s a new way to experience Sonos! Previously, it was difficult to get the full experience of a synced Sonos system without installing it at your home/work, or trying it at a friends. Now, they have launched the Sonos Studio an “acoustically-designed gallery that celebrates music listening. The space serves as the best place in Los Angeles to experience Sonos, with events designed to explore the intersection of music, art and technology through creative collaborations.” When Sonos shopping, it’s great to get a chance to play YOUR music and test out the various systems and combinations in their acoustically optimized space (you’ll notice the installation of foam pyramids lining some walls and the ceiling as well as various slanting walls!) I popped in the other day to check out the new SUB in action (you have to go see the nickel they balance on top not move as the sound blows your mind!)… it’s a fun setup, and there seem to be events, musical performances, and art exhibitions filling the space regularly! Definitely pop into the bathroom to check out the skateboard lined walls too! Take a peek at all the fun on the next page!

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*notcot - 06.24.12 , 17:39 - 1 Notes

U-Socket USB Outlets

socket1.jpg It seemed like a good Sunday afternoon, home alone activity… i’ll install/upgrade a few outlets i impulse bought at Dwell On Design! Moans and groans and installing in spots other than i had planned… i’m wondering if these were just a novelty or truly adding a much needed convenience. So in theory, with SO many things charging via USB (and i love the USB charging ports in cars!) ~ having some added to outlets is a wonderful idea! And theoretically easy enough to switch! Right… and wrong. How old your home/wiring is will make a difference… i just learned which parts of my house have older outlets from probably 50+ years ago, and which parts have brand new ones… the electrical boxes are different sizes, and these new USB ones nearly fill newer ones… and don’t fit the older ones. Also, when they cut your countertops/backsplashes, if it doesn’t line up EXACTLY, these may not fit. (argh!)

On the upside ~ these U-Socket USB Power Outlets are supposed to reduce energy costs and minimize that vampire power issue when you leave things plugged in that don’t need to be sucking power. And it is like turning your 2 outlet into a 4… (or a 4 into a 6, but those don’t seem to be available yet!) So i’m still debating whether i need more… or whether a power strip does the trick in most spots… but i am totally charging my phone via USB outlet next to me as i type this! See more pics on the next page!

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*notcot - 06.22.12 , 20:31 - 0 Notes

LED Glühbirne Nature Bulb

bulb1.jpg I fell in love with these LED Glühbirne Nature Bulbs at Dwell On Design today. Designed by Process, they were spotted in silver painted wood crates over at the Design Prize Switzerland booth. “The LED NATURE BULB combines the most up-to-date energy-efficient lighting technology with the form of the classic bulb. The ventilation opening in the centre of the luminous body carries a worldwide patent, and lends the product an independent and iconic character. Its 360 degree dispensation of light has also been patented and guarantees ideal functionality. The balanced form of the lighting unit means that it can also be used without a lampshade and will fit harmoniously into any kind of interior. Other advantages are the extremely long life of the bulb, its efficient use of electricity (just 4.5W) and the non-toxicity of the materials.” They are stunning in person! See more pictures as well as a pic of what’s inside it on the next page!

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*notcot - 06.04.12 , 15:13 - 0 Notes

Cellscope

cell4.jpg While wandering around the Maker Faire a few weekends ago, one of the projects that stuck with us was the Fletcher Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, have designed equipment to turn the camera of a standard cell phone into a diagnostic-quality microscope with a magnification of 5x-60x. Cell-phone microscopy will enable visualization of samples, followed by capture, organization, and transmission of images critical for diagnosis. This technology is applicable in a wide range of applications beyond diagnostic medicine.”

We linked their project on NOTCOT.org earlier, and going through pictures from the faire, they were too fun not to share the detail pics! Take a look at it all on the next page!

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*notcot - 05.15.12 , 16:10 - 0 Notes

Unboxing the BIG Jambox

bigjam1.jpg The BIG Jambox from Jawbone is here! and much like its tinier predecessor, the Jambox, (which we unboxed poolside over a year ago) - if you order it from Jawbone themselves, the packaging is FAR more fun than what you’ll see in retail stores… playful graphics adorn the cardboard box vs the clear plastic cases that showcase the product in stores. So, what’s fun about the BIG Jambox vs the Jambox? As the name says, it’s bigger ~ but also has bass, 15 hours of battery life, play/pause/skip buttons, and their new LiveAudio. While we love having the little Jambox for running around and even in the bathroom to bluetooth music while in the shower… the BIG one, is perfect for the kitchen or outside in the yard… and they both make for the perfect conference call mic/speaker!

Head to the next page to see the full unboxing and a size comparison between the BIG and small!

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