Shedding Light On Kickstarter, Open IP and Moore’sCloud

I’m a big fan of Kickstarter as it’s empowering entrepreneurs to come up with a whole range of interesting products that may not have seen the light of day through traditional funding mechanisms.

I’ve personally backed a Kickstarter project called Light by Moore’sCloud. The product is billed as:

Beautiful, intelligent, connected light. Open hardware, open software, endless possibilities for play and delight.

Not only are they developing a fun product, but they are pioneering the way intellectual property is distributed as well. As the team says in their latest update; they are an organization dedicated to sharing all of our intellectual property as freely and as widely as possible.

I caught up with Mark Pesce, the Sydney-based serial entrepreneur behind this project and asked him a few questions:

>What prompted you to build this?

It’s something I’ve attempted several times over the last decades, but only now have we gotten to high-performance (what used to be called ‘workstation class’) computing at an incredibly affordable price point – around $12 in components. It opens the door to entirely new design methodology. And it’s why we’re named Moore’sCloud.

> What is the biggest challenge you face in getting the product to market (not including fundraising)?

There are a lot of subtle UX issues involved in creating a device that has a lot of interiority; how do you present that depth in a way that is not confronting to people without deep technical skills?

> When can I expect my own Light – in the Xmas hamper?

We hope to have them rolling off the assembly line in May.

> Is this the first of a range of products you plan on releasing – what else do you have in mind?

Christmas lights, for one thing. And room lighting. But we see ourselves as getting a toe into the pond of the Internet of Things. We’ll learn a lot that can be applied to other possible forms and appliances.

Thanks Mark! I am certainly looking forward to playing with the product.

They’ve currently got 1,721 backers with $202k pledged towards their $700k goal. 13 days to go – sign on and make a pledge!



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Designing for Data-Driven Health and Wellness

Earlier this week John Doerr, Bing Gordon and Mark Pincus took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco to talk about Internet treasures [an Internet-related company that makes us all proud to be alive now, a company that should be nourished and curated and that brings to life products that we can’t imagine life without].

In the course of the discussion Mark revealed an interesting insight into his social gaming company, Zynga. In essence they are data junkies–they’ve taken a different approach to games and are very data-driven rather than hit-based.  For example, they monitor in real-time each user’s net promoter score–a measure of value that the companies bring to their users, based on a standardized survey of the user base measuring whether each user will promote or detract from one of their games at any given moment.

You might be wondering at this stage what this has to do with health and wellness? As the conversation progressed between the two Kleiner Perkins partners and the CEO of one of their portfolio companies, a really interesting point emerged:

Health is waiting for someone to turn it into a product that’s useful.

This comment, together with the emphasis that Mark’s business places on data really got me thinking. We are so data-driven in so many areas of our lives, but when it comes to US, as Individuals, we know next to zero about our bodies, our health and wellness, how we are tracking, how what we do or don’t do impacts on how our body operates and how our minds feel–this is a major issue.

It is good to see, however, that activity is starting to emerge where the meaning [from a design point of view] within health and wellness is taking the individual more into account. Take for example the video below, in which Worrell brings together a doctor and a patient to discuss the future for health.

[Via Fastcodesign]


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Moving Beyond The Book: Searching For New Constructs

Whither the book, that glorious construct that has transported so many of us into new worlds that have both delighted and trapped us between their pages as protagonists explore and evolve.

In this age of new form factors, like the iPad, are we satisfied to merely flip pages? Definitely not, said Richard Saul Wurman at BIF-6 last week. Paper delimited pages were initial mimicked on web sites, smart phones and, so far, on pads.

However, there is such an array of endless possibility for us in this arena – sorting information by context, curating by design and shifting in and out of real time.

I look forward to continuing to explore how we transport “readers” into new and exciting places. For now though, check out this short conceptualization from our friends at Ideo:

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.


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