manages all content at Grand St. Invents things in his spare time.

Five Emergency Preparedness Products for Any Sticky Situation

wakapower

As we approach the end of October, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New York City stirs some scary memories. Power outages for weeks, dead phones, commutes home in the pitch black, and even an apartment fire, to name a few. Below are five products that are perfect for preparing for any emergency situation. Whether you’re on the coast or in the heartland, these helpful tools will better equip you to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Continue reading

is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

The Long Tail of Hardware

electronics

I often think about that Forbes piece “Why Best Buy is Going out of Business…Gradually” that was published nearly two years ago. You probably read

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better” echoing through the internet.

Two years later, and Downes

is more right than ever. Through Grand St. I’ve had a front-row seat to the emerging hardware movement, and the big realization I’ve come to is that it’s not just Best Buy that’s going to fade away, it’s our entire notion of “Consumer Electronics”. It will be gradual, but there are already signals that indicate a shift is happening.

It’s a tailwind that’s supporting a growing long-tail of hardware and a new kind of creator. Continue reading

hacks things and practices open sourcery. Engineer.

The Imp Cube Hack

Earlier last week, Dustin and I put together a neat little Twitter contest and gave away some Electric Imps and Rainbow Cubes. When a few lucky people hit certain multiples (64, 128, 256, and 512) with tweets including the hashtag ‘#ImpCube’. Whenever someone tweeted this, we would use the Imp to tell a Rainbow Cube in our office to light up a single LED in the cube – after 64 tweets, it would put on a little light show and then reset itself. The contest was fun (and distracting) to watch here at the office and was surprisingly easy to strap together using the Imp (which is programmed using Squirrel) and the RainbowCube (which runs on on Arduino – specifically the Rainbowduino). Continue reading

manages all content at Grand St. Invents things in his spare time.

Jamming with the Grain Audio Team

What happens when you try to make music sound as good out of a speaker as it did in the studio? Read what Mitch and the team at NYC-based Grain Audio had to say about the technology, craftsmanship, and inspirations behind their Packable Wireless System and making quality products that reproduce audio “as the artist intended.”

Grain 5

Grain Audio places serious emphasis on the use of wood in all of your products. Tell us more about the thinking behind that.

There are many reasons for this, both from a design and audio perspective. First off, a wooden enclosure, like the ones we use in the PWS, absorbs some of the sound waves inside of the PWS so they are not canceling each other out as you would see with a plastic enclosure. This helps with the overall quality of the sound coming out and makes the bass more pronounced, giving it the natural sound we’re looking for. From a design perspective, wood is a truly great material to work with. At Grain Audio, we have a commitment to high quality products using high quality materials, and while other people are creating a commoditized product, we wanted to give someone something of better quality, that they could love for years and years, and truly have a relationship with. Also, the variations in the wood grain itself make each product one-of-a-kind – one that will age with the owner, develop a unique patina, and truly be a reflection of the owner. Continue reading

manages all content at Grand St. Invents things in his spare time.

Producer Focus: Q+A with Crave

We chatted with Michael

Topolovac and Ti Chang, creators of the Duet, about their experiences bringing to market products in a category that was begging for better design and innovation.

Crave - Team Working

What was the inspiration behind creating Crave?

M: I was talking to a few female friends a few years back, and when I asked why they didn’t own a vibrator, the collective answer was that shopping for one felt like a ‘dirty’ experience. Ultimately, the takeaway was that women wanted a richer experience around buying and owning these products, and that was the key inspiration.

T: The inspiration began when I came to terms with the lack of quality products available for women. I believe that something so important and intrinsic to who we are as human beings should have more options – we have more options for hair nets than there are quality toys for women. Continue reading

manages all content at Grand St. Invents things in his spare time.

Producer Focus: Q+A with Vaavud

What was your inspiration for the Vaavud?

Andreas was studying Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark, and his bachelors thesis was about how you could use the different sensors in a smartphone in relation to sports. Being a kitesurfer, it was obvious that wind measurement had to be one of the things he looked into, so Andreas developed a couple of concepts for how this could be done – one of those concepts is the one that has today become the Vaavud Wind Meter.

Vaavud-Matchrace

Continue reading

hacks things and practices open sourcery. Engineer.

Using Arduino with the HexBright

For the past week, I’ve been tinkering and fiddling about with the HexBright and learning how it runs; surprisingly, there wasn’t much for me to do thanks to some of the HexBright team’s fantastic backers. Notably, David Hilton and Pter Tesarik have supplied a great tutorial and set of code to get you started programming the HexBright yourself. The code repository contains instructions,

an overview for setting up the Arduino IDE, along with the CP210x driver (found

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here) and several projects to get you started. The HexBright library that they have assembled has many functions

still in the works, like things that simplify the math (lotsa dot functions to measure xyz

acceleration!), but with a little know-how you can append the library to your needs. Big ups to Dave and Petr!

-Nick

hacks things and practices open sourcery. Engineer.

Building mPrints with the mPrinter

For our most recent product, I slapped together a neat little project using

some of the OAuth code that was provided by the mPrinter team. You can easily put together this code on

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but it’s a very robust and well documented API (and the first to really do OAuth), so heck, let’s use it. While my code can also be found on my Github, this post will give you a bit of an idea about what’s going on in the code that I set up, and before diving in, we’ll briefly go over how the mPrinter works in its current iteration.

Continue reading