Editor's Note: Karyn Lu is Turner Broadcasting's manager of New Media Insights & Inspiration. Each week, she scouts out amazing innovations, cutting edge technology and, well, just really awesome stuff and shares them right here. Before it goes mainstream, it's going to be one of her favorite _ 5 Things From The Future! _
1. Coming to America?
Someday soon, even if you don’t personally own a 3D printer, you’ll be able to design, order and print out nearly anything, then simply drive down the street to retrieve it. In what is the largest embrace of this technology by a major retail chain, Staples has announced a new store-pickup based 3D printing service called “Staples Easy 3D.” It’s basically the one-hour photo model, applied to physical objects. The service will only be available in Europe for the time being, accessible to Belgian and Dutch customers in early 2013 –- but mark my words, it will be here in the U.S. before we know it. Get ready for the 3D printing revolution.
2. Into the woods, bouncing
OK, this one is just plain amazing and fun. Trampolines must be a new trend! A while back, we saw a design concept for a trampoline bridge for bouncing across Paris’ River Seine. Sadly, that was merely a proposal which took third place in a design competition, so we won’t be bouncing across the Seine any time soon. However, to get your fix, now you can bounce your way across the Russian forest, thanks to the very-real 170-meter-long trampoline path that cuts through the wilderness there. It’s almost too good to be true.
3. A high-tech lesson on learning
Fun, frustration, anger, euphoria –- there’s no doubt that learning is an emotional process. So why shouldn’t the education process take that into account? Now, there’s a math game that not only recognizes kids’ emotions as they learn, but adapts the game accordingly.
Canadian SMARTeacher’s Prodigy game software integrates a wireless emotion-sensing bracelet, which uses lie-detector technology to sense kids’ emotions as they interact with the program: “If a child is beginning to feel frustrated, the game might offer a hint in response; if he or she is feeling bored, it will step up the difficulty level.” So simple, it’s brilliant.
4. Cons: No candy bars. Pros: Prose.
As a recovering English major who owns far too many books, this project has a special place in my heart. The Biblio-Mat is a vending machine in Toronto that dispenses random titles of secondhand books. For only $2, you get a surprise of the loveliest kind, with all contents curated by the staff at The Monkey’s Paw, an idiosyncratic secondhand bookstore in Toronto.
This project is reminiscent of the Swap-O-Matic in Brooklyn, a vending machine that promotes “recycling, reusing & awareness about conscious consumption” by allowing you to swap used goods with your neighbors. Both machines are wonderfully inventive examples of the sustainability trend in action.
5. 'Retro' shoe to kick your gadget habit
Remember the days before the Internet, when you went outside, talked with friends face-to-face, and had real offline fun? Diesel is harkening back to that nostalgia with its relaunch of the YUK Pre-Internet shoe from 1993. In accordance, the campaign encourages fans to disconnect from all social media sites for three days for a chance to win 20 pairs of shoes. Diesel’s tactic is right in line with the larger de-teching trend that we’ve been seeing, which taps into the desire to temporarily log off from our always-connected lifestyles, at least for a little while. But three whole days -- think you’re up to the challenge?