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robertogreco : otherlab   6

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"We are mischievous scientists, practical dreamers, working on making the world the way it needs to be. Asking: "Wouldn't it be cool if..." is an excellent place to start:

If you'd like the more in depth version check out the video from our Show and Tell event. We're always on the look out for interesting folks so if this excites you then head over to Jobs to see what's going.

How we work

We have a strong track record of attracting research funding for early and risky ideas in areas such as ‘programmable matter’, robotics, solar energy, wind energy, energy storage, computational and advanced manufacturing, medical devices and more. These non-dilutive investments allows us de-risk the very early exploratory phase of our projects.

We develop enabling new technologies through an emphasis on prototyping coupled to rigorous physics simulation and mathematical models. Our design tools are often made in-house because it's lonely at the frontier and to create new things and ideas, you often have to create the tools to design them.

Core to our model are collaborations with external entities including commercial entities, universities and other research firms. In the past 5 years Otherlab has collaborated with Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, NASA, Autodesk, GE, FORD, Google, Motorola, IDEO and a host of others.

What we work on

Our principal domains of expertise are: Renewable and clean energy, Computational Geometry, Computational design tools, Digital Fabrication, Advanced Manufacturing, Robotics and automation & Engineered textiles.

Want a more practical idea? We like you! Head over to Projects for a better sense.

How to reach us

We are @otherlab on twitter and that is a great place to start a conversation. Visual learners may find our YouTube Channel and Instagram feed interesting.

You can email us at We live in the old Schoenstein Organ Factory building in the heart of San Francisco's Mission district:

3101 20th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110"
sanfrancisco  engineering  robots  robotics  solar  wind  energy  manufacturing  otherlab  fabrication  computationalgeometry  saulgriffith  design  make  diy  innovation  tools 
may 2016 by robertogreco
The Humane Representation of Thought on Vimeo
"Closing keynote at the UIST and SPLASH conferences, October 2014.

References to baby-steps towards some of the concepts mentioned:

Dynamic reality (physical responsiveness):
- The primary work here is Hiroshi Ishii's "Radical Atoms":
- but also relevant are the "Soft Robotics" projects at Harvard:
- and at Otherlab:
- and some of the more avant-garde corners of material science and 3D printing

Dynamic conversations and presentations:
- Ken Perlin's "Chalktalk" changes daily; here's a recent demo:

Context-sensitive reading material:

"Explore-the-model" reading material:

Evidence-backed models:

Direct-manipulation dynamic authoring:

Modes of understanding:
- Jerome Bruner:
- Howard Gardner:
- Kieran Egan:

Embodied thinking:
- Edwin Hutchins:
- Andy Clark:
- George Lakoff:
- JJ Gibson:
- among others:

I don't know what this is all about:



New representations of thought — written language, mathematical notation, information graphics, etc — have been responsible for some of the most significant leaps in the progress of civilization, by expanding humanity’s collectively-thinkable territory.

But at debilitating cost. These representations, having been invented for static media such as paper, tap into a small subset of human capabilities and neglect the rest. Knowledge work means sitting at a desk, interpreting and manipulating symbols. The human body is reduced to an eye staring at tiny rectangles and fingers on a pen or keyboard.

Like any severely unbalanced way of living, this is crippling to mind and body. But it is also enormously wasteful of the vast human potential. Human beings naturally have many powerful modes of thinking and understanding.

Most are incompatible with static media. In a culture that has contorted itself around the limitations of marks on paper, these modes are undeveloped, unrecognized, or scorned.

We are now seeing the start of a dynamic medium. To a large extent, people today are using this medium merely to emulate and extend static representations from the era of paper, and to further constrain the ways in which the human body can interact with external representations of thought.

But the dynamic medium offers the opportunity to deliberately invent a humane and empowering form of knowledge work. We can design dynamic representations which draw on the entire range of human capabilities — all senses, all forms of movement, all forms of understanding — instead of straining a few and atrophying the rest.

This talk suggests how each of the human activities in which thought is externalized (conversing, presenting, reading, writing, etc) can be redesigned around such representations.


Art by David Hellman.
Bret Victor -- "

[Some notes from Boris Anthony:

"Those of you who know my "book hack", Bret talks about exactly what motivates my explorations starting at 20:45 in "

"From a different angle, btwn 20:00-29:00 Bret explains how "IoT" is totally changing everything
@timoreilly @moia" ]
bretvictor  towatch  interactiondesign  davidhellman  hiroshiishii  softrobotics  robots  robotics  kenperlin  jeromebruner  howardgardner  kieranegan  edwinhutchins  andyclark  jjgibson  embodiedcognition  cognition  writing  math  mathematics  infographic  visualization  communication  graphics  graphicdesign  design  representation  humans  understanding  howwelearn  howwethink  media  digital  dynamism  movement  conversation  presentation  reading  howweread  howwewrite  chalktalk  otherlab  3dprinting  3d  materials  physical  tangibility  depth  learning  canon  ui  informationdesign  infographics  maps  mapping  data  thinking  thoughts  numbers  algebra  arithmetic  notation  williamplayfair  cartography  gestures  placevalue  periodictable  michaelfaraday  jamesclerkmaxell  ideas  print  printing  leibniz  humanism  humanerepresentation  icons  visual  aural  kinesthetic  spatial  tactile  symbols  iot  internetofthings  programming  computers  screens  computation  computing  coding  modeling  exploration  via:robertogreco  reasoning  rhetoric  gerrysussman  environments  scale  virtualization 
march 2015 by robertogreco
3 BIG questions (and lots of smaller ones) about DARPA & Make · demilit · Storify
"Concluding, all of these questions are no mere trouble-shooting aiming to 'get things right.' These questions point to a more fundamental problem of how science and technology can best thrive. Is it under a culture of militarism, or under a culture where disagreement, debate and doubts can be fostered? While it's been shown here that DARPA and Make/Otherlab have somewhat disparate goals from each other, we know full well that DARPA pays for the program. Nonetheless, one can't help but marvel at how Make's version of MENTOR obviously poses no threat to DARPA's overarching dictates. Different goals, and yet harmless. Perhaps that is why it can sit so comfortably with them to take the money. It's almost enough to wonder if such complacency can lead to real science. Ironically, it's precisely what motivates the Pentagon to tap hacker teens: their irreverence and fresh take, only to then begin the process of disciplining that initial irreverence away."
saulgriffith  otherlab  policy  money  2012  darpa  oreilly  make  javierarbona  demilit 
january 2012 by robertogreco
"Otherlab is a private Research and Development company with a number of core competencies. We welcome industrial partnerships and commercialization partners. We have worked with dozens of companies globally from small start-ups to multi-nationals and Fortune 500 businesses. We develop enabling new technologies through an emphasis on prototyping coupled to rigorous physics simulation and mathematical models. We develop our own design tools because it’s lonely at the frontier and to create new things and ideas, you often have to create the tools to design them."
design  otherlab  saulgriffith  make  engineering  diy  innovation  tools 
december 2011 by robertogreco
AU 2011: Otherlab's Saul Griffith, Part 1 - Pneubotics Yields Soft Robots on Vimeo
"At Autodesk University 2011, Saul Griffith, founder of Otherlab, discusses his pioneering work in Pneubotics. Otherlab is working on soft, fabric-based robots that are actuated by compressed air."

"At Autodesk University 2011, Saul Griffith, founder of Otherlab, talks about inventing and the type of follow-up required to see that invention go out into the world." [ ]

"Part 3 of our video chat with Saul Griffith, co-founder of Otherlab, at Autodesk University 2011. Griffith answers questions about Theory vs. Making Stuff in education, advice for design students, and how to enable yourself to make truly unique things." [ ]

[Later: "Solve for X: Saul Griffith on inflatable robots" ]
design  tools  toolmaking  saulgriffith  education  projectbasedlearning  2011  core77  glvo  making  doing  learning  learningbydoing  advice  robots  invention  failure  howwework  howwelearn  pneubotics  otherlab  pbl 
december 2011 by robertogreco

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