• Micro Mapping, Reality Augmenting and Self-Powered Lights

    May 01, 2015

    the wake of the heartbreaking Nepalese earthquake, Patrick Meier’s MicroMappers (San Francisco, Dec 2014; Paris, Jul 2011) are once again wading through wreckage virtually. Volunteer “clickers” evaluate thousands of images, tweets, and—soon—the aerial video of the Humanitarian UAV Network to evaluate damage and inform response. Want to help? Go to and from there to the tagging tools.

  • Law, Order & Anniversaries

    April 24, 2015

    Media outlets love anniversaries, and so the April 19, 1965, publication date of Gordon Moore’s first article about his “law” has drawn a predictable swarm of articles. In fact, IEEE Spectrum (which published the second article about Moore’s Law), has this month single-handedly published nine on its own. The cover page, with links, to the special report, is here, but should you want to dive in, you could do worse than to start with a Q&A with Carver Mead (yes, the Carver Mead who rewrote the laws of General Relativity for us in February), wherein he explains, among other things, in what sense it’s a law. 

  • First Books, Better Batteries, and Robot Pet Names

    April 17, 2015

    As you know, we buy books for homeless shelters in each city we visit. These are the centerpieces for our meals and are orchestrated through First Books, an educational charity. For the February meeting in San Diego, one of our clients asked if we would buy books for a battered women/children shelter here in L.A., Sojourn, at which she volunteers. So we did. First Books was so impressed that they’ve donated extra education materials and we have donated more things over the last few months. The last batch included a Kindle donated by our friend and former employee Carli Mellor. It ended up with a 14-year-old boy at the shelter who could not read and resisted learning. He became obsessed with the Kindle and is now reading. If the fact that he learned to read—all by himself using electronic tools that he previously had no access to—reminds you of Dr. Maryanne Wolf (Jersey City, Oct 2013) and her inspirational account of how she and Advisory Board Nicholas Negroponte dropped Motorola Xoom tablets into rural Ethiopia, you’re not alone. And if you’ve a lump in your throat now, again you’re not alone.

  • Open Source, Open Flame

    April 10, 2015

    This week, we hosted our very first pre-conference webex chat, led by Steven Cherry. The webex gave members a sneak peek into some of the exciting developments that we have in store for Making Stuff ( Steven did a great job of bringing the program to life — from 3-D printed houses to monumental changes in manufacturing, both large and small — Steven had us ready to rock Detroit city. Many thanks to the members who joined us. If you were not able to make it, we hope you will join us for a future webex.

  • Regulating drones but not the Internet of Things

    March 27, 2015

    The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing on "The Internet of Things: Exploring the Next Technology Frontier” this week, and the Senate adopted a resolution that "the United States should prioritize accelerating the development and deployment of the Internet of Things in a way that recognizes its benefits, allows for future innovation, and responsibly protects against misuse,” after it held its own hearing back in February. IoT has been one of the longest-running topics for us, beginning with a detailed set of talks back in May 1996 that looked into Advisory Board member Mike Hawley’s “Things That Think” initiative.

  • Ebola, Cyclone Pam, and the Robot Petting Zoo

    March 20, 2015

    At a TED talk this week, Bill Gates warned us all of two dangers. The first was how ill-prepared we are for outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola—a topic TTI/Vanguard members are well-prepared to think about, after Erica Ollman Saphire’s recent talk, "Viruses, Virus Proteins, and Ebola” (San Diego, February 2015). The second danger, the threat posed by greater-than-human intelligence, was the topic of James Barrat’s talk last year, " Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era” (Boston, April 2014). 

  • Apple Watch, Apple Watch, Apple Watch

    March 13, 2015

    It was hard to watch the Apple Watch announcements without a certain sense of déjà vu. Our longtime members saw just about every part of this coming. 

  • "The Internet is 'baloney" – Cliff Stoll, 1995

    March 06, 2015

    If you joined us in San Diego last week—or tuned into our live WebEx—then you probably can’t wait to log into the Anternet on a silk-based optical fiber connection while hanging off the side of a ship with Geckoskin gloves. If not, we missed you joining us at a great meeting in a lovely venue. And if you are curious as to what the heck we are talking about, the Highlights, Citations and videos, from Biotech & Beyond are already posted in the archive.

  • Smartphone testing for HIV, View-Masters, and floating-point arithmetic

    February 20, 2015

    Many of us are on our way to the Biotech & Beyond meeting. If you are not joining us in San Diego, don’t forget that you—or your colleagues—can still join us! The entire meeting will be available via WebEx in real time (and the videos will be later posted in the archive) We’ll be sending you log in instructions on Tuesday morning and please feel free to ask Bryan Fox ( with any questions you might have.

  • Abe Lincoln, net neutrality, and bees

    February 13, 2015

    February is a month of holidays for those of us in the U.S., starting with Lincoln’s actual birthday, yesterday. He wrote the TTI/Vanguard mission statement, by the way: “Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.”