Archive for October, 2013

Get ready for a rapid increase in rapid 3D printing technology!

October 25, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets
3D printed blue treefrogs in different layer t...

3D printed blue treefrogs in different layer thicknesses (Photo credit: Creative Tools)

If you haven’t tried 3D printing yet, you most likely will give it a try in the next couple of years. Rapid Prototyping interest is skyrocketing not only for businesses, but even retail futurists are looking to a time when we’ll have 3D printing down at the local print shop and perhaps even in our own home offices.

Recently, one Oakland neighborhood printer, HoneyBee3D, opened its doors to offer rapid prototyping, printer tools and 3D printers for sale. For most people, a sizable investment is required to try this new technology. But the investment benefits are many in the long run. For instance, 3D rapid prototyping costs the same whether you create one or many, and it’s just a fraction of traditional manufacturing, with a shorter lead time. Also 3D printing is better for the environment, which is extremely attractive to those who are environmentally savvy.

3D printing is an exciting process when you consider what it looks like. Imagine a single spaghetti-like string of plastic comes out of a heated chamber as a thin molten line of plastic. Layer by layer those strings slowly build on one another until the result is your desired shape of an object you’ve created.
Users are limited only by their creativity, and can design on the fly just by modifying the computer file to change the shape, size and structure.

How popular will rapid prototyping become? By year’s end, worldwide shipments of 3D printers priced less than $100,000 are expected to grow 49 percent. And by this time next year the growth will nearly double. As with any technology, costs are expected to eventually decrease. This year corporations around the world will spend more than $325 million, while consumers will spend $87 million. Futurists say that the combined corporate/consumer spending will increase 62 percent for 3D printing.

Corporations, governments and manufacturers are already using this technology for new innovations in architecture, defense and medical products. I believe consumers will eventually evolve from curiosity to finding exciting reasons to justify purchases, as more of us find new ways to use rapid prototyping in our everyday lives.

Facial ID Recogniton helps find lost pets!

October 23, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

Photo via

Did you know that once a pet has been brought into a shelter, it could be a short 72-hour wait before the shelter can euthanize your pet or adopt it out to another family?

That fact has inspired one Vancouver-based company, PiP, to tap into technology to help pet owners find their lost companions before it’s too late. PiP stands for “Positive Identification of Pet” and refers to the positive match determined by facial recognition technology between a photo of a registered pet and a photo of a found pet uploaded into the system.

According to the PiP website, the phone app works like an Amber Alert does for lost children. The app also comes with a customer care staff:

In the moment you realize your pet is missing, personalized care to help guide you through the search process is critical. When you activate PiP’s Amber Alert System, a PiP Customer Care Representative contacts you to listen, offer support and identify PiP’s immediate response. PiP will also provide updates of the progress being made in finding your lost pet.

Social media like Facebook, Twitter and more are also key in the search. Users who activate PiP’s Amber Alert System will broadcast an immediate notification of a lost pet to veterinarians, animal control and rescue agencies, PiP subscribers, and social media users within the pet owner’s local area.  The subscription service is set to launch on November 5th. The phone app is a free download for all Smartphone users, first for iPhone and eventually for Android.  Pet owners who wish to register their pet will pay an annual fee of about $1.49 per month. Check out their site here.

Robotic Dextrus is part of an Open Hand Project

October 20, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

I often peruse Springwise for its innovative news headlines, and caught this interesting piece the other day. It shows me how far robotics have come and where we are going to help those needing the use of their hands. Check out this fully-functional robot hand, which is 3D-printed and relatively inexpensive! It’s part of the UK’s Open Hand Project, and retails for under $1,000.


Photo credit:

Fully-functional robot hand is 3D-printed and won’t break the bank

Via Springwise:   Amputees going through the traditional routes for a replacement appendage either have to make do with hook systems developed in the 1940s or pay upwards of USD 10,000 if they want functionality or realistic-looking prosthetics. We’ve already seen Robohand develop an affordable, open-source prosthetics system, and now the UK’s Open Hand Project is doing something similar, with its 3D-printed, robotic hand that retails for under USD 1,000.

Having successfully surpassed its funding target on Indiegogo, the group is now working to distribute its first product, the Dextrus, a hand made of electric motors and cables that mimic the abilities of a real hand. Its affordability comes down to the fact that most of its parts are 3D-printed — allowing anyone to make alterations on the fly according to their needs — and the open-source nature of the project, which is releasing the device without a patent. The Dextrus uses electrodes to read signals from the remaining muscles in the user’s arm and features standard connectors to enable it to be attached to existing prostheses.

Read the rest and watch the amazing video here.

What your plate says about you can alert authorities

October 15, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool videos

CaptureOur car’s plates can tell others a lot about us. But imagine the embarrassment of having your expired license plate exposed for the world to see!

Compliance Innovations, LLC is a Columbia, South Carolina-based company developing an Electronic Vehicle License Plate, which will allow the issuing agency or law enforcement the capability to change the status of the license plate, regardless of the vehicle location.  That means whenever the compliance status changes to expired or suspended, everyone on the highway or the mall parking lot will know.

The good news is that most of us don’t want that kind of embarrassment, so we will be even more motivated to keep tabs on our tabs and comply with  insurance and registration laws.  And even better news,  the interface with law enforcement will help provide a means to more quickly identify vehicles that are stolen, associated with serious violations or used in the commission of a crime. That should be a comforting thought, that motorists can instantly spot a car wanted in Amber Alert or other crime, and react accordingly to alert authorities.

Right now this technology, called eTags, is in prototype development. Says the company:

It can retain a digital image of the license number for over ten years using similar technology to that found in e-readers. The plate is powered by electricity collected from the vibrations of the car when it’s in motion, as well as an ultra-thin transparent solar panel overlayed on top of the plate. Being electronic, the plate can be updated remotely by the state DMV when a driver’s licence becomes invalid or if the car is reported as stolen.

What do you think of this innovative technology?

Getting ready for CoDev Asia!

October 14, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Events

Cheryl-PerkinsI’m very excited to meet leaders in Asia once again for CoDev Asia. I’m chairing the event again this year, and partnering with the China Institute for Innovation and our media partner, The Management Roundtable. Asia Conference will again be held in Shanghai, China at the Shanghai InterContinental Hotel on tomorrow and Wednesday, the 15-16.  

CoDev Asia is the comprehensive source for open innovation learning. The conference brings together a faculty of leading experts and advanced practitioners prepared to share their experiences and candid insights on the latest trends, what’s working, what’s not, as well as the future direction of co-development and open innovation strategies.

Specifically, 2013 CoDev Asia will be taking a closer look at how open innovation efforts are helping top companies build capabilities and networks to create business value. The program features keynote presentations, case studies, and panels with top innovation leaders. I’m looking forward to once again meeting leaders from Unilever, Cisco Systems, WD-40 Company, Asia Pulp & Paper, Diageo, Merck Consumer Care, ITW,
STMicroelectronics and more!

Check out the site here:


Through keynote presentations, case study reviews, panel discussions, facilitated group learning sessions, and multiple networking forums, attendees will come away with new methods, tools and processes to:

  • Identify and implement key open business models to help their company achieve faster results
  • Accelerate the pace at which their company can adapt to changing marketplace conditions
  • Develop and enact complex deal structures to effectively manage IP rights
  • Create and deploy new engagement platforms to co-innovate with customers, partners and suppliers

We’ll be updating you from the conference. Follow along at @innovation_edge!

Indian airline enables passengers to book an empty seat next to them

October 10, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Culture of Innovation

Flickr Free PhotoAs I prepare to head to China in the days ahead, I’ve developed my own habits for how to fly long hours in comfort and ease. But the question always remains, how do we travelers keep our space without infringing on the passengers next to us?  I like the approach India’s SpiceJet is taking with its seating policies, and thought I’d share:

Airlines have introduced some interesting – and controversial – policies in the base, including Samoa Air‘s decision to begin charging customers according to their weight. One issue that’s yet to be addressed however is which passengers get to sit next to an empty seat when the plane hasn’t been filled. India’s SpiceJet now allows customers to book the seat next to them for a nominal fee when their flight hasn’t reached capacity.

As part of the airline’s FlexiFly program – which also offers features such as rewards for flexible booking – customers flying with the company can take advantage of the Empty Seat Option (ESo). During the booking process, passengers traveling alone can choose to reserve the seat next to them, or even the entire row of three seats for a percentage of the cost of a filled seat. Those travelling in twos can also reserve the extra seat in their row to enjoy greater comfort and privacy while flying. The service costs INR 150 to sign up on top of the extra cost of the ESo, and the extra seat isn’t guaranteed unless the airline isn’t able to fill the plane. If ESo isn’t available, the customer receives a refund, however, those who select the option regularly will have more chance of getting an extra seat when a limited number are available.

The Extra Seat Option enables passengers to pay a little extra for additional luxury, much sought-after on flight, especially long haul ones. The scheme also opens up a new avenue for income when the airline doesn’t fill  its flights


CoDev Asia: Open Innovation Best Practices!

October 5, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Events

I’m getting ready to head back to Shanghai for this year’s Co-Dev Asia conference, and I could not be more excited for the intense, open innovation learning that will take place. It’s a conference I am proud to chair, and I’m looking forward to the growth that will result!


This year’s conference brings together a faculty of leading experts and advanced practitioners in innovation, and they will share their candid insights on the latest trends, what’s working, what’s not, as well as the future direction of co-development and open innovation strategies.

We’re also taking a closer look at how open innovation efforts are helping top companies build capabilities and networks to create business value. The program features keynote presentations, case studies, and panels with top innovation leaders representing: Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, WD-40 Company, Asia Pulp & Paper, ADP China and more.

I will share more when I arrive in China, and bring you the latest happenings from the conference as they happen.  You can follow along on my Twitter account: @innovation_edge!

Crowdsourcing levels the playing field for sports company

October 1, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool videos

It’s hard to compete with big names like Nike and Adidas in the sportswear realm, but a small London-based company called Tribesports has found a way through crowdsourcing. By building a community of loyal fitness fanatics, it is making its products more affordable and more appealing.

The marketing strategy Tribesports uses started with the community it created through social media. Articles, forums for discussion, tools for tracking performance, and challenges for members were all part of the launch. The second phase drew users into its product line by asking athletes to submit ideas for what they wanted. Once a designer created the prototypes, it was off to the races for anyone who wanted to give the clothing a try.

The innovative campaign reached four times its target, simply by engaging its users!

Check out this video explaining how the crowd participated: