Clapperton Mavhunga: The importance of going back

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga is associate professor of science, technology, and society at MIT and visiting associate professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is working to establish interdisciplinary and applied STS programs to train the next generation of Africa’s policymakers, engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs in inclusive, ethical, and context-specific tools of trade. 

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Eddie Opara: The art of spectacle

Eddie Opara studied graphic design at the London College of Printing and Yale University, where he received his MFA in 1997. He began his career as a designer at ATG and Imaginary Forces and worked as an art director at 2x4 before establishing his own studio, The Map Office, in 2005. Opara and The Map Office team joined Pentagram’s New York office in 2010. Opara is a multi-faceted designer whose work encompasses strategy, design and technology. 

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Zachary Lieberman: Creative Teaching

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Zach Lieberman talks about teaching creativity in the information age at his School for Poetic Computation.

“We are not sitting in front of a screen. We are trying to create a space for reimagining what is possible.”

For most of us, synesthesia—the attachment of colors to sounds and other such cross-sensory cognition—is more concept than lived experience. But “nerd artist researcher hacker” Zachary Lieberman could change that.

His work uses technology in a playful way to break down the fragile boundary between the visible and the invisible.

Augmenting the body’s ability to communicate has always been at the core of Lieberman’s work. Working with collaborator Golan Levin, he created installations—"Remark” and “Hidden Worlds”—that presented interpretations of what the voice might look like if we could see our own speech.

more: www.thesystemis.com

Nicole Stubbs: Lending Data

Nicole Stubbs

Nicole Stubbs is CEO of First Access, which aims to reduce lending and borrowing costs across the developing world.

Using patent-pending cloud technology, First Access interacts with consumers and organizations via SMS and web in real-time, aggregating big data and producing customized, highly predictive recommendations about products and loan sizes. Better information translates to faster and more affordable financial services for more people.

more: www.firstaccessmarket.com

Anil Dash : Think Up (and sign off)

ThinkUp co-founder and tech blogger Anil Dash questions what happens to our civic discourse when our online conversations occur under the terms of service of a small group of privately-owned tech companies whose sense of civic-mindedness is questionable at best? Are we part of the problem by not being part of the solution?

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Nick Martin: Learn Online

Nick Martin

Nick Martin is founder and president of TechChange, which has developed a unique, scalable, and interactive model for online training in international development.

With courses ranging from mHealth to financial literacy to open government, TechChange uses a mobile-friendly, MOOC-ready learning management system that includes low-bandwidth support, live video streaming, social media integration, game mechanics, translation support, security and more.

To date, TechChange has prepared over 2,000 alumni from over 100 countries to apply technology effectively and appropriately in response to global challenges.

www.techchange.org

Nathaniel Raymond: Data Rights

Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond works with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) to advance the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide.

Through founding HHI’s Signal Program on Human Security and Technology, Raymond has helped pioneer the use of satellite imaging and other remote sensing techniques to document deteriorating humanitarian conditions and collect evidence of alleged mass atrocities.

A leader in the development of comprehensive ethical and technical standards to guide the use of information communication technologies during humanitarian emergencies, Raymond is helping ensure that the use of new technologies and methods protect, rather than endanger, vulnerable populations.

more at hhi.harvard.edu

Miriah Meyer: Seeing Data

Miriah Meyer

Miriah Meyer designs visualization systems that support exploratory, complex data analysis tasks and help scientists make sense of complex data.

Her visualizations combine novel mathematical models with principles from a range of fields including perception, design and human-computer interaction. Meyer was named a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow and to MIT Technology Review’s Top 35 Innovators Under 35. Meyer’s work allows scientists to understand their underlying data in detail and to develop new hypotheses and insights.

more at: www.cs.utah.edu/~miriah/

Jason Hong: Smarter Phones

Jason Hong

Jason Hong is investigating privacy and security issues for pervasive computing, including smartphone apps. His work focuses on the human element of these security issues and examines how to empower people so that they have better control over and feedback about their personal information.

His work has already garnered a great deal of attention from the popular press, including articles in MIT Tech Review, TechRepublic, New York Times and an appearance on the CBS “Morning Show.” Hong’s work draws on ideas and methods from human-computer interaction, crowdsourcing and psychology to develop better tools and user interfaces for everyday people.

more at: www.cs.cmu.edu/~jasonh/

Esther Wang: Measure Impact

Esther Wang

Esther Wang co-founded IDinsight, an organization that gives managers the tools to generate and use social impact data.

IDinsight works with governments, NGOs and foundations in many areas – including health, water, finance, education, governance and agriculture – and makes rigorous impact measurement techniques practical for program decisions.

more at: www.idinsight.org

Emily Jacobi: Digitizing Democracy

Emily Jacobi

Emily Jacobi is the founder of Digital Democracy (Dd), which empowers marginalized communities to use technology to defend their rights.

Bridging the gap between local groups and top-notch technologists, Dd works with local partners to design both hardware and software solutions. Current projects include indigenous territory mapping in Mexico and designing an early warning system to alert environmental monitors of illegal logging in the Amazon.

Through the Remote Access mobile toolkit, Dd is working to make it easier for users in remote locations to document, manage and share environmental and human rights abuses.

more at: www.digital-democracy.org

Raspberry Pi: The Tech Teacher's New Textbook

Eben Upton

Eben Upton is a founder and trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and serves as its Executive Director.

Computer technology teachers have a new teaching tool that has given students the foundation for a mass of invention and innovation.

The Raspberry Pi — a circuit board the size of a credit card — has served as the starting point for computer science students to build an astonishing number of complex devices, learning the basics of programming in the process. And the cost for this incredibly small tech tool? Around $35USD. 

The small and economical computer was first developed by faculty members at the University of Cambridge in Britain who had noticed their incoming computer science students were ill-prepared for a high-tech education. They decided to build an inexpensive device that students could learn from.

The Raspberry Pi is an ultra-low cost, credit card-sized computer designed to fill a much-needed technological gap in communities that cannot afford more traditional computing hardware and to provide children around the world the opportunity to learn programming.

Learn more at www.raspberrypi.org

Anushka Ratnayake: Farm Savings

Anushka Ratnayake

Anushka Ratnayake is executive director of myAgro, which uses a network of rural stores and mobile phone technology to make saving for agricultural and farm inputs easy and accessible for small-scale farmers living in remote areas.

MyAgro also provides training and incentives for participating farmers, resulting in measurably increased yield and profits. By working through pre-existing, trusted technology, myAgro is helping rural farmers to improve their livelihood by enabling them to manage their money in a more flexible and convenient way.

more at: www.myagro.org

Alex Hornstein: Power for People

Alex Hornstein

Alex Hornstein invents, develops and deploys innovative clean technologies that significantly increase global access to electricity and reduce carbon emissions.

Hornstein and his partner Shawn Frayne recently teamed up to build the Solar Pocket Factory, a machine that produces small solar panels that could provide primary power for 100 million people worldwide. The Solar Pocket Factory project was supported by over a thousand backers on Kickstarter, making it one of the first crowdfunded advances in clean technology. Alex's latest project is called TinyPipes: building smart, web-enabled solar panels that can be quickly deployed to form a solar electricity grid in rural areas with poor infrastructure.

more at: solarpocketfactory.com | tinypipes.net