Hardware, Gadgets Outpacing Software at SXSW this Year

Among the most talked-about things at this year’s South by Southwest conference are a camera that automatically takes photos every 30 seconds, a new gaming console and a gadget that allows people to control their computers and other devices by waving their hands. It is estimated that at least two-dozen panels, talks and presentations at this year’s SXSW involve a new device or gadget. Continue reading Hardware, Gadgets Outpacing Software at SXSW this Year

Startup Hopes to Bring Affordable 3D Printing to the Home

The new, affordable 3Doodler from Boston-based WobbleWorks could help introduce 3D printing technology to the average, price-conscious home. The $75 3Doodler is a handheld version of the extrusion element found in most RepRap-style 3D printers, with a heat-shielded ergonomic grip. In order to better visualize the tool, Wired suggests you imagine a hot glue gun shaped like a thick marker, with the ability to print a fine line of plastics. Continue reading Startup Hopes to Bring Affordable 3D Printing to the Home

Successful YouTube Show May Serve as Model for Web Series

The Web series “Video Game High School” (“VGHS”) premiered on YouTube in May of 2012 and became a meteoric success. The series subsequently earned sponsorships from Sony and Monster Energy Drinks, and is now available on Netflix. Season Two of the critically-acclaimed series, currently in production, raised more than $808,000 on Kickstarter and could end up becoming the model for future online series. Continue reading Successful YouTube Show May Serve as Model for Web Series

Train Project Envisions Future of 3D Scanning and Printing

The growing 3D printing industry is leading to interesting solutions in 3D scanning, an area being explored by a group of British model train enthusiasts. “The hobbyists have established a startup called The Flexiscale Company, which launched a Kickstarter project on Monday that aims to fund the production of model kits for several old and very obscure locomotives,” writes GigaOM. Continue reading Train Project Envisions Future of 3D Scanning and Printing

Four Web Series Whose Second Seasons Are Worth Watching

Web series have long struggled to move beyond one season, as successful Web producers either move on to higher profile jobs or run out of money and cannot afford to produce additional seasons. But this year there are four notable Web series that will make the leap to a second season, headlined by the wildly successful “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” a comedy series featuring Jerry Seinfeld. Continue reading Four Web Series Whose Second Seasons Are Worth Watching

Kickstarter Crowdfunding Leads to Oscar Nominated Films

While Kickstarter has gained much attention for its successful funding of consumer products like the Pebble Watch or the Ouya gaming system, much of its crowdfunding has gone into creation of the arts. “Kings Point,” “Buzkashi Boys” and “Inocente” have become the fourth, fifth and sixth Kickstarter-funded films to earn Academy Award nominations. Continue reading Kickstarter Crowdfunding Leads to Oscar Nominated Films

CES 2013: Kickstarter Was Seemingly Everywhere This Year

“Kickstarter has really changed the dynamics at CES,” writes The Verge. “This year, independent developers are getting as much attention as the big companies that usually dominate, and many of them built their products with crowdfunded cash.” Kickstarter gives the small company or the entrepreneur a chance to compete with well-known electronics makers and is leveling a once very one-sided playing field. Continue reading CES 2013: Kickstarter Was Seemingly Everywhere This Year

Crowdsourced Cinema: Tugg.com Borrows a Page from Kickstarter

Kickstarter has helped establish an effective crowdsourcing model for startups, and now Tugg.com has begun to show how filmmakers and exhibitors can benefit from a similar approach. Tugg.com allows people to set up movie screenings where customers pay for reserved tickets, and the screenings only happen after the advanced sales cover expenses. Indie filmmakers are using the online booking site to organize screenings of their projects. Continue reading Crowdsourced Cinema: Tugg.com Borrows a Page from Kickstarter

Kickstarter Project: Romotive Develops Smartphone Robot and App Store

  • Here’s another interesting tech project in the works through funding platform Kickstarter…
  • Peter Seid and Phu Nguyen of Seattle have launched Romotive to build robots that are “able to learn, grow, and change, both by adding new hardware modules to the platform, and more importantly, by bring to people everywhere a true ‘app store’ for robots, where robots can quickly gain functionalities based on the app they are running (and you can even code your own),” according to their Kickstarter page.
  • The first is Romo, which offers a platform mount for your iOS or Android phone and treads that allow for mobility. Users can download Romo-specific apps that allow for a variety of games and other abilities.
  • “Romotive builds accessible, highly functional, and flexible robotics platforms that are powered by a supercomputer already carried by millions — the smartphone,” explain the founders in their vision statement.
  • Seid and Nguyen have included a short video on their Kickstarter page that describes some of the robot’s possibilities.

Panel Notes from FoE 5: Spreadable Media in a Networked Society

Here are some key remarks from a panel at this week’s Futures of Entertainment conference at MIT.

Panel: “Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Society”

  • Letting unauthorized content circulate and studying how it’s used and consumed is a great opportunity that no one seems to be taking advantage of.
  • Kickstarter crowdsources funding. The key is that the audience buys into the idea of a film financially. But crowdsourcing doesn’t have to stop there; it could lead to crowdsourcing of casting, SFX, etc… increasing the attachment the public has with a project.
  • A shift from the term viral to spreadable. Viral gives the content a feel of “special,” “hard to do” or “a one-off,” but spreadable allows people to think of producing content that people will want to share and consume.
  • If you start to “pay” the fan for their “free labor” of connecting with your brand, the relationship shifts and is no longer a legitimate serendipitous fan connection.
  • The impression model (number of views) is no longer valid. There is a growing trend to say, “But I can find a few people that are influencers.” However, picking a small group of people to communicate with can be shortsighted. Those small groups may be vocal, but may not know what the masses truly like or want.
  • Massive organizations are set up to hear, very slow to response. Massive organizations aren’t set up for listening. Listening is a very human response; you can’t take the humanity out of communication.
  • Companies need to start thinking about taking a much more service-based attitude. Take for example Dominos: “Our pizza was bad; what can we do to make it better?”
  • Companies are crisis-based, companies must be able to listen to audiences. Media producers have to listen to their audience before a crisis hits.
  • But we have to understand that too much media circulating outside of context can lead to dilution or can be used against the media creator.

Speakers:
Henry Jenkins (University of Southern California)
Sam Ford (Peppercom Strategic Communications)
Joshua Green (Undercurrent)

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