WIRED UK 2013: The Future is Now

By Erin Mulcahy

Last week, the littleBits crew flew across the pond for the annual WIRED UK conference in London. From CEOs to product designers to 16 year old cancer detection test creators – this conference brought together the best and brightest minds in technology and innovation for two action packed days. For the hands on portion of the event, product demos were available in the Test Lab, where littleBits was surrounded by good company: 3Doodler, Little Printer, Technology Will Save Us, and Kuka Robotics – to name a few. One of our favorite moments was a session with Bjork, where she discussed the evolution of her album ‘Biophilia’ which combines her love for technology, nature and music. For a full review of the conference, check out WIRED’s summaries and videos.

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The first annual Next Generation event on October 19th included inspiring talks and workshops for budding innovators. littleBits ran a workshop on “How to solve problems like a NASA engineer” where participants were tasked with the mission to save some rouge astronauts (pulling inspiration from the movie Gravity) and our 24 “space engineers” had the choice to build a satellite dish or a robotic arm, called a grappler, to aid in the astronauts’ safe retrieval. We loved the teamwork and brillant ideas that this group brought to the session; here’s a quote we love from the WIRED article:

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Wired.co.uk spoke to three boys, Joshua, Ollie and Rory — aged 10, 11 and 10, respectively — who were far too busy building a light sensor for their potential space station to give up much of their time to our frankly unimportant website, “Look,” said Joshua sternly, “we’re dealing with some fairly major underlying structural instabilities right now.” Oh dear, what was the matter? “Well it’s gone through several redesigns because we wanted to increase the radius of the light sensor using this tinfoil and a pen. It worked,” Joshua demonstrated that the reading on his sensor had indeed increased, “but it won’t stay in place because the hole is too big now.” Ollie looked at Joshua before staring at a table tennis ball, “I’m not sure why we’re using this,” he said. “For its aesthetics,” replied Joshua, “It doesn’t always have to be about engineering.” Rory was too engrossed with fixing their contraption to give a comment.

 

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To see more from the event, check out the highlight video that WIRED has compiled.

 

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