Technology–personal and otherwise–that’s changing our future.

  • Innovation: The “Mindfulness” Element May 18, 2017

    Captain Brent Chapman, Project Manager of the Army Defense Innovation Unit Experimental

    (Photograph courtesy of Brent Chapman, and used with permission.)

    “Just because something can be connected (to the IOT), doesn’t mean it should be,” warns Captain Brent Chapman.

    Brent, who serves as Project Manager at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental,  is a Cyber Operations Officer in the U.S. Army, as well as an avid maker.   He worked on a number of maker initiatives while serving on the faculty of the U.S. Military Academy, according to his website.  And a look at his personal maker site, Brentmore Labs, reveals all kinds of cool projects–involving LED lights, woodworking and 3D printing.

    But, Brent tells fellow makers, be careful.  Innovation can come with a price–which can include unwittingly compromising security.   A hacker or terrorist might be delighted with your latest IOT connection or other creation, for purposes you never intended!

    Brent, who is a frequent speaker at Maker Faires, talked about his background as a maker, some of the safeguards makers can take against having their inventions misused, and one of his own latest cool “hacks”, for his young future maker-in-residence.

    UPDATE: Since this podcast was recorded, Brent has confirmed that he will be speaking at the 2017 Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo.  Come join him in Zone 2 of MAKE, Live at noon on Saturday, May 20th, as he participates in the “Every Marine a Maker” discussion panel.

    On this edition of Over Coffee®, you’ll hear:
    • How Brent first became a maker during his growing-up years;
    • The pitfalls he sees in the “maker mindset” that could compromise security;
    • The challenges of creating safeguards fof the Internet or other innovations in a connected world;
    • What considerations makers might want to keep in mind, when connecting to the Internet of Things;
    • The security safeguards Brent uses in his own home;
    • One of his most fun recent maker projects, for his young son;
    • Some of Brent’s favorite maker resources
    • How Brent’s organization is encouraging applications to work with them on national defense.
    • Some cautionary considerations about wearables and security of data.



    MAKE Magazine

    Ars Technica



    Defense Innovation Unit Experimental

    And, of course, here is Brent’s maker website, Brentmore Labs.


    This weekend is it–the Maker Faire Bay Area!   Friday, May 19th, is Special Preview Day, with hours from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.  Then, doors open at 10 am, Saturday, May 20th.  Hours are 10 am – 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, May 20th and 21st, at San Mateo Event Center, 2495 South Delaware Street, near East 25th Avenue.  Happy Anniversary to Maker Faire, as they celebrate 12 years in the Bay Area!


  • Creating Change Through 3D Printing May 12, 2017
    3D Design Prblem Bank founder Rich Lehrer

    (Photo by Andrew Luman, and used with permission.)

    “The last thing the world needs is more plastic trinkets,” says Brookwood 3D Design Problem Bank founder and Innovation Coordinator Rich Lehrer.

    Consequently, if his students think they’ll be 3D printing their names or plastic mascots, they’re in for a–possibly world-changing–surprise.

    Rich and his 8th-grade STEM students at Brookwood School, in the Boston, Massachusetts were one of the first student groups to 3D print a prosthetic hand device, in 2013.

    Max Lehrer with baseball grip device designed by student

    Max Lehrer (r) with 3D printing student and bat-gripping device. Photo courtesy of Rich Lehrer, and used with permission.)

    Rich’s then-three-year-old son, Max, was the recipient–and the students were able to see the results of their engineering work immediately.

    The success of this project was just the beginning.  Rich, who has served as an education coordinator for nonprofit e-Nable, in addition to his current work as a teacher trainer through the Buck Institute, was inspired to incorporate real-world problem-solving into his students’ future lessons.

    Following closely thereafter was the beginning of the 3D Design Problem Bank.  In the Problem Bank, community members submit problems which they believe 3D printing could solve.  Then, the students choose a problem and get to work, designing.

    And in an exciting STEM offshoot, the Problem Bank also sparked “Dezign Girlz” in 2016.  This was a girls-only, week-long STEM workshop that paired sixth-grade girls with residents of a local senior community.  Once they’d identified problems the senior citizens encountered in daily life, the students went to work designing adaptive 3D printed devices as solutions.

    Rich talked about his background as an educator, some of the STEM projects his students have done, how he came to implement the 3D Design Problem Bank, and shared his vision for a global “3D Design Problem Bank”, along with some resources.

    On this edition of Over Coffee® you’ll hear:
    • How Rich first began teaching STEM projects as his eighth-grade science curriculum;
    • His experiences leading his students as they built a prosthetic hand device, in 2013;
    • How that experience started him using 3D printing in a problem-solving context, for his students’  learning experiences;
    • How Brookwood came to implement the 3D Design Problem Bank, and how it works;
    • Rich’s vision for expanding the Problem Bank to be a global educational tool;
    • The ways in which similar Problem Banks might be customized to deal with certain types of design challenges;
    • How Rich and a colleague connected sixth-grade girls with senior citizens in the local community, through the “Dezign Girlz” pilot project;
    • The resources Rich recommends for fellow STEM innovators (he has a free curriculum available on his website!)


    Brookwood’s 3D Design Problem Bank Project

    Ultimaker Education Pioneers

    Rich’s website

    MIT’s D-Lab

    e-NABLE Community- open-source community for 3D printed prosthetics

    LimbForge™-nonprofit that provides tools and training for clinicians to provide pathients with 3D printed prosthetics

    Buck Institute for Education


  • UAV-IQ: Taking to the Skies for Agriculture May 5, 2017

    UAV-IQ Precision Agricultur Founder Andreas Neuman

    Drones as an implement of agriculture?  That’s exactly how Los Angeles-based startup UAV-IQ Precision Agriculture is using them.

    UAV-IQ  President Andreas Neuman founded his global precision agriculture service in 2015, bringing his expertise from a successful eleven-year career with the U.S. Air Force.

    (Andreas, who received an honorable discharge at the rank of Major, served in the Air Force as a pilot, flight instructor–and ultimately, unmanned aerial vehicle mission commander.)

    UAV-IQ CEO Andreas Neuman presenting at Toolbox LA

    “I’ve been involved with drones since ’08 or ’09,” Andreas told a Toolbox LA lunchtime audience in March.  “A drone is just a data collection platform.  It’s about the data the drone collects.”

    Drones, Andreas explained, can fly under to terrain  to collect more accurate information on agricultural conditions.  “Just like in the military, if you can’t send the right information to the right people, it’s worthless.  A drone can get under clouds and (collect very accurate) data.”

    That data, he said, includes healthy crops, problem areas and soil conditions.  “No field that I’m aware of is really homogeneous.”

    Andreas talked about his background, his experiences creating UAV-IQ Precision Agriculture and the ways his services are helping farmers and vineyard owners to better manage their land while optimizing crops.

    On this edition of Over Coffee® you’ll hear:
    • How Andreas first started working with drones as he served in the Air Force;
    • His journey after graduating from UCLA’s business program;
    • His experiences with two accelerators in Chile and Puerto Rico, applying drone technology to agriculture;
    • One of his favorite stories from working with a small vineyard owner in Chile;
    • How his current drone services can help improve efficiency for small California farm or vineyard owners;
    • A service UAV-IQ provides, that wowed a small vineyard owner in Chile;
    • One of the common myths about robotics that UAV-IQ disproves;
    • How these services analyze historic conditions to predict future yields;
    • What Andreas is doing with drones in the research area;
    • One of the most unusual ways in which Andreas has seen his services applied;
    • Andreas’ vision for UAV-IQ Precision Agriculture, for the future;
    • A lesson for entrepreneurs, that he’s learned from his experiences.
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