• A Safe, Leisurely Swim in NYC’s East River

    It was on a typical New York City summer day -- sweltering and humid -- that Dong-Ping Wong first wanted to jump into the East River, the heavily trafficked waterway separating Manhattan Island from the Queens and Brooklyn boroughs.

    Most New Yorkers -- apart from a few diehards -- refuse to test those murky waters because of the prevailing stigma that the East River is unsanitary.

    But what if you could swim in the river worry-free? That was Wong’s nagging wish. With views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Financial District, and far-off Lady Liberty, an East River dip would make for one memorable swim.

    Wong teamed up with two designers, Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin, and the trio hatched + Pool: a $15 million Olympic-sized swimming pool for the East River they hope to open in 2016.

    Like the city’s High Line, a popular park built on top of an elevated freight line, the + Pool seeks to restore an urban area for wide public enjoyment and engagement. To make it safe for swimmers,

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  • Are you a “light painter”?

    You can answer “yes” if you’ve ever waved a flaming marshmallow or etched your name with a sparkler in front of camera at night.


    Light painting is the photographic technique that captures light motions with long camera exposures. Although light painting’s origins can be traced to the start of the 20th Century, it remains, for the most part, a low-fidelity pursuit. Most people stick to words or random patterns.

    But that could soon change when Pixelstick, a consumer light-painting tool, hits the market.

    Invented by Stephen McGuigan and Duncan Frazier, a duo that collaborates under the incorporated name Bitbanger Labs, the Pixelstick is a 6-foot aluminum rod fitted with 198 LED. Each LED light corresponds with an image pixel. After loading an image onto the Pixelstick with an SD card, move the Pixelstick in front of a camera set to a long exposure. The result resembles an animated-GIF come to life.

    “It started when we tried to work light painting into a time

    Read More »from Brooklyn Inventors Bring Animated GIFs to Life
  • When Ted Larson, the CEO of a Silicon Valley robotics firm, hired Rohan Agrawal as his summer intern this year he was skeptical that Rowan could keep up with his team’s pace.

    Rohan, after all, is 12 years old. And Larson, whose firm, OLogic, usually hires college or graduate students as interns, had never worked with someone so young. But Larson’s worries were quickly dispelled.

    “We had a large box of robot parts that some of the guys at Google gave us,” Larson said of Rowan’s first day at Ologic last summer. The box also contained a few laptops. “The goal was to get Linux and ROS (the Robot Operating System) up and running.”

    Larson said that he could have given that box of parts to a grad student and they may have come back to him with a functioning robot in a couple of weeks. Rohan came back the next day with an assembled robot.

    “And I was like, ‘oh my god,’ what will I do with him for the summer?” Larson said. “This was Day 2.”

    By the end of the internship, Larson was comparing

    Read More »from Robotics CEO: 12-Year-Old Whiz As Smart As Ph.Ds

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