Meeting Modern Day Da Vinci, Designer of Smart Spider Robot

Via Scoop.itMovin’ Ahead

It’s “A Bug’s Life” meets “WALL-E,” except this other-worldly creation is no product of Pixar Animation. It’s the real deal.
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Above is the introduction for story I produced for Intel Free Press.  What started out as a short story assignment quickly evolved into a more personal and technical expose of wonderful young engineering student from the University of Arizona, Matt Bunting.

After connecting with Intel Embedded team’s Stewart Christie, I learned that Bunting’s hexapod was appearing on the cover of the Linux Journal and that EE Times was honoring Bunting for prestigious ACES Award, naming him Student of the Year.  That’s what brought him to San Jose, where I got to meet him and his mom, who actually helped me while I was shooting the video interview with her son.  She even prompted some chuckles and emotional responses from her son while the camera was roling.

The video evolved over a few days of editing, as Christie and Bunting helped me collect photos and video that helped put visuals to Bunting’s words.  The story took an artisit turn — blending art and science — when Bunting saw a piano at the Fairmont Hotel, and calmly sat down and dropped into a moody melody that I used at the beginning of the video.  That music, mixed with the Spanish guitar music Bunting shared with me, along with sounds from the motor movements of the robot, infused some chilling excitement into the video, a feeling that many people get when they see the hexapod live for the first time.

What an inspiring and kind person.  I let Bunting know that my son was moved by the hexapod story so much that now my son wants to be a robot maker.  Bunting replied, “It is always wonderful to hear when I have inspired a young mind.”

Now I’m hooked!  I’m cheering for Bunting and his University of Arizona research team as they build the Cheetah Project, funded by DARPA, which is an attempt to build a robot that can run as fast as a real four-legged cheetah and eventually a create the world’s fastest two-legged robot.

Here are some photos on Flickr I took with my Canon Rebel X and others collected from Bunting and Christie.

Beyond the Mouse and Keyboard

At the Intel Developer Forum, I was able to interview a few innovators who appeared on stage during the keynote by Intel’s Dadi Perlmutter.

Magical Controllers

I got to talk with Sixense’s CTO and Chief Architect Jeff Bellinghausen backstage after he appearted on the day one keynote at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francsico on September 13, 2010. Here he tells about his game and computer controlling technology that can manipulate objects, grab and move them, and enlarge and shrink things on the computer screen. He also talks about his experience working with Intel and the second generation Intel Core processor technology, codenamed Sandy Bridge.

No Mouse, All Hands

After appearing on stage during Intel CEO Paul Otellini’s keynote at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on September 13, my Intel pal Larry and I got to talk with Doug MacDougall about his demonstration of his hand motion computer control technology, GestureTek. Doug explains why the second generation Intel Core processors, codenamed Sandy Bridge, helps provide a real-time performance boost that brings life-like hand control to computers and smart devices.

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Rocketboom Tech Success Story

Four, three, two, one…Rocketboom went live on YouTube this week, one of only a handful of pioneering online video shows picked by Google to help preview the new YouTube Live service.  

Rocketbom did a fun promo featuring bloopers:

Success doesn’t happen over night but it can happen pretty quickly when you have great talent, inspiring teammates and the wonder-pace of the Internet.  Rocketboom was created by the talented producer Andrew Baron in 2004.  I true pioneer in online episodic video production, Baron has evolved things beyond a daily Internet culture newscast Rocketboom to include Know Your Meme, Rocketboom Tech and Rocketboom NYC.  And he continues to explore and develop new technologies — like his innovative video aggregator Magma (more on Magma here) and new business models that bring together the best of video storytelling and the Internet.

I got to meet Andrew in 2008 thanks to an introduction by Pop17‘s Sarah Austin, at the time an Intel Insider social media advisor. After hiring him to create a few technology-related segments for Intel, together we worked up an plan for a regular show which became Rocketboom Tech, launched in early 2008.  Hosted by Ellie Rountree, Rocketboom Tech gets the inside scoop on innovations and innovators bringing exciting technologies to our daily lives. 

Ellie has met up with amazing people from NASA, Second Life, Intel Labs, the Consumer Electronics Show and even futurists and pyschologists exploring how technology can help relieve stress from our daily lives.

During that time, my team inside Intel and I have had the chance to work behind the scenes on story development and to learn production and editing tricks that have become Rocketboom signatures.  We even got to visit their snazzy new studios in New York.

Kenyatta Cheese, Ellie Rountree and Ken E Kaplan at the Rocketboom Studios in New York, NY

In September, I traveled to New York to host the Intel Insiders Summit gathering of social media advisors.  I was able to take some time to talk with Ellie Rountree on camera, as I wanted to capture the glee of excitement she was feeling about some of the new changes inside Rocketboom.  And how she’s been able to develop a show launched with sponsorship support from my team at Intel.

Ellie’s a great producer and talent.  It’s not hard to image that someday soon, she’ll be a star not only on Rocketboom but in other consumer technology shows playing in our future Smart TVs!

Amalfi and Capri, Italy 2010

Here is a collection of Amalfi coast “being there” YouTube video clips and photos in slideshow from Flickr.

For our 10th wedding anniversary, my wife and kids revisited familiar sacred and new places from Rome down to Calabria, Italy.

I created a PearlTree collection of sites that we explored while planning our trip — this mostly looks at Umbria and Amalfi Coat.  We arrived by rented car at the seaside, cliff nestled city of Amalfi.  We stayed at the Amalfi Hotel (here is my Trip Advisor review on Digg), where the we had a killer room with a balcony view out to the Duomo.  Here’s an excerpt on the Duomo from Wikipedia

At the top of a staircase, Saint Andrew’s Cathedral (Duomo) overlooks the Piazza Duomo, the heart of Amalfi. The cathedral dates back to the 11th century; its interior is adorned in the late Baroque style with a nave and two aisles divided by 20 columns.

The gold caisson ceiling has four large paintings by Andrea d’Aste. They depict the flagellation of Saint Andrew, the miracle of Manna, the crucifixion of Saint Andrew and the Saint on the cross. From the left hand nave there is a flight of stairs which leads to the crypt. These stairs were built in 1203 for Cardinal Pietro Capuano, who, on 18 May 1208, brought Saint Andrew’s remains to the cathedral from Constantinople.

The bronze statue of Saint Andrew in the cathedral was sculpted by Michelangelo Naccherino, a pupil of Michelangelo; also present are Pietro Bernini marble sculptures of St. Stephen and St. Lawrence.

In 1206 Saint Andrew‘s relics were brought to Amalfi from Constantinople by the Pietro Capuano following the Sack of Constantinople (an event of the 4th Crusade) after the completion of the town’s cathedral.[4] The cathedral contains a tomb in its crypt that it maintains still holds a portion of the relics of the apostle. A golden reliquary which originally housed his skull and another one used for processions through Amalfi on holy days can also be seen.

Amalfi is easy going and not over luxurious.  It is authentic and picturesque and remarkably squeezed into sky-reaching cliffs yet port-side so you can easily ferry north to Positano, Sorrento and the magical island of Capri.  And if you can, visit nearby Ravello.

The ferry from Amalfi to Capri is not expense or cheap — around $25 per person — but it’s spectacular!  One of the mose memorable views is pulling into spectaluar, colorful Positano.

On the ferry, a cultured tour guide asked if we’d join his group of families and couples on a relaxing, but extensive tour up from the port to Capri then climb up, across the Mamma Mia cliff-haning narrow road to Anacapri.  This was the best decision, as we were traveling under the hot sun with two children.  We did have time afterward to take a cruise around the whole island (highly recommended) but we decided to people watch at the port = good choice!  We got to take in the real beauty and bustle — comings and goings — of the island as young gorgeous women and loving couples strolled by without a care in the world.

Now to the eye candy I capture:

Amalfi and Capril Italy 2010 , posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Computex 2010 Videos from Intel: Thin Laptops, Netbooks, Tablets, Handhelds

For two years now, I’ve helped my Intel communications team plan for and share what’s happening at Computex.  And every year, my desire to BE THERE in Taipei grows.  It looks like a blast — lots of gadget freaks going gaga over the latest devices and concept designs.

One of the concept designs Intel showed was a 14mm thin netbook with Intel Atom processor inside.  I got to shoot some photos before the concept was shipped to Taipei — shared here.

As I’ve been reading stories and posts from people attending the show, I’ve been collected them on this Pearl Tree:

Here are a few videos, showing the latest technologies Intel was showing at the event, including some of the projects I got to work on over the past few months such as Intel Atom (codenames Moorestown and Canoe Lake) and the new ultra low volt Intel Core processors for super thin latpsops (on Twitter IntelThin).

Showing the very latest Intel-powered Tablets, handhelds and ultra thin laptops was how Intel celebrated the company’s 30th anniversary of participating at Computex in Taiwan. Intel Corporation is hosting a keynote and series of events to unveil and showcase its latest technology innovations, led by the Intel® Atom processor, and including PC client and smart, connected devices, ultra mobility and embedded, cloud computing, wireless broadband, as well as software and applications at Computex Taipei. Intels activities at Computex 2010 featured a keynote by David (Dadi) Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager, Intel Architecture Group (IAG) at the 3F Plenary Hall of Taipei International Convention Center (TICC) on June 1. Intel will exhibit its all-encompassing product platforms at the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) Nangang Exhibition Hall from June 1 -5.
Intel’s Mooly Eden was just named in Fast Company’s Top 25 Most Creative People in Business. Here he shows the very latest Intel-powered tablets, handhelds and ultra thin laptops was how Intel celebrated the company’s 30th anniversary of participating at Computex in Taiwan.

Ultra Thin Laptops Get All New 2010 Intel Core Processor

Living in California and working at Intel, I sometimes have the privilege of waking up early to get the latest insights about new technology.  In this case, the timing was right because just this weekend my wife and I were exploring what type of laptop we should get for her work, studies, Skyping, photo management and well….management of our family digital life.

She has a three-year-old, sleek Sony laptop but the fan and hard drive are so loud and irritating.  She uses a Classmate PC sometime while putting the kids to sleep, but it’s too small for her.  She likes a bigger, bright screen and full keyboard vs. what most netbooks have.

I showed her the new line up of MacBooks at our local Apple store yesterday, but she doesn’t want a Mac.  I showed her the Mac Air.  I saw her get more interested when she felt how light it was.  I think our next steps are to look for some of the new Ultra Thin laptops with an Intel Core i5, so we can check out the built-in  Turbo Boost performance when processing and editing photos.  And, it’d be light and easier to carry on our family trips…than the heavier, older laptop she’s been using.

Here is the Intel Webcast from this morning plus a few stories posted by some of my favorite tech blogs:

Ubergizmo

Gizmodo

Engadget

ZDNet

CNET

Here’s my PearlTree collection of stories on the new IntelThin mobile technology for laptops:

PearlTree of IntelThin 2010 Core Chips for Ultran Thin Laptops

Webcast introducing all new 2010 Intel Core processor — Intel Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 — available for ultra thin laptops.

“Consumers crave laptops that offer style and performance, and the new 2010 Intel® Core Ultra-Low Voltage processors for ultra-thin laptops delivers both, in one sleek design,” said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel. “Intel’s leadership in 32nm high-k metal gate process technology, combined with breakthrough architecture and design has enabled thinner, lighter and faster notebooks than previous models, with terrific battery life. Not only are laptops becoming ultraportable, but with the new processors inside, users will see faster response times and less waiting.”

Atom Gadget Going to SXSW 2010

I will miss this year’s SXSW Interactive, but I enjoyed getting to pull plans together and shoot a video of the Intel Atom Gadgets going to the event next week. If you’re going to SXSW, get your Gadgets on!

3-D Camera Coming from Panasonic — Cinequest 2010

It’s fascinating to learn how digital video and 3-D technology are really intertwingin and creating real momentum in the movie making industry. Here is a snippet I captured during a panel at the Cinequest Film Festival in February 2010. Here we learn more about a 3-D off-the-shoulder cam that Panasonic is about to bring to market. Estimated price: $21,000. Two lens, two capture devices…. Capture/making 3-D quickly, on-the-go. Wow!

6 Applications You Should Try | Rocketboom

Not all useful for me, but I really like this style of sharing tool tips. Great series by Ellie!