MakeShop 2013 from Wolff Olins on Vimeo.

Last week we held our first-ever MakeShop at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. The event was our excuse to get some of our favorite partners, clients, friends and family together to dive deeper in the behaviors we explored in our latest Game Changers report.

In the spirit of making, we worked with Henrik Werdelin and Philip Ingemann Petersen, of Prehype, the venture development firm that’s helped companies ranging from Verizon to News Corp incubate and spin out new businesses. We heard from Jake Barton, principal and founder of Local Projects, whose media design firm reinvents public space through collaborative storytelling experiences like Storycorps, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and Change By Us. And we wrapped up the day getting our hands dirty (as dirty as littleBits will get you) learning how to prototype our product ideas with Bethany Koby, the founder of Technology Will Save Us.

Check out our video from the day up there ^.

And keep following wolffolinsblog and  @wolffolins to hear about our next events. 

Bright Eyes

By Bethany Koby

What does one do on maternity leave? Beside the obvious which is having a baby, transforming your entire life and learning how to be a mother…you start a business of course!

Well, at least that is what I did. After being on maternity leave for about a week, a germ of an idea which I had been developing, began to take flight. After finding a computer in our trash can, my partner and I began an intense conversation about how a business could begin to address our disconnection with technology. In addition, my growing belief that enterprise is the key to unlocking some of our most fundamental social issues gave way to our business, Technology Will Save Us.

TWSU is a haberdashery for technology and education. We design and manufacture DIY technology kits to help demystify technology and help people become creative and productive with it, not just consumers of it.

All of our kits are vehicles for education that help people to learn skills as well as create something useful and fun with technology. They range from experiences like Electro Dough Kit - which is conductive play dough that helps you learn basic electronics; to DIY Speakers Kit where you solder an amplifier and make speakers out of any material!

In just over a year we have designed 10 kits, sold over 40 products and tools, built 4 kiosks (shops within shops) and host regular workshops in London and globally.

Our latest kit, Bright Eyes, is our first experiment in teaching programming through a kit experience. We at TWSU believe programming is a hugely useful skill that goes far beyond apps and websites into our physical world. These skills are often challenging to pick up when people do not have a project or a specific idea in mind. Bright Eyes is a platform to help inspire people to learn programming because it is so cool! 

It is a pair of glasses which have 174 LEDs (light emitting diodes) on them for you to program. These LEDs can play back graphics and videos off a micro SD card (video player), or be controlled using any microcontroller platform. Best of all, we’re making them Arduino compatible! So, if you want to add a microphone or an ambient light sensor to make them more responsive – you’ll be able to. If you do not know what Arduino is you should learn it!

We have launched a Kickstarter campaign to coincide with the launch of Kickstarter in the UK. There is only 2 more days left for us to raise the funds we need in order to bring Bright Eyes to the world.

We think this a perfect accessory for any budding techie or a fabulous holiday gift for someone special. If you’d like to support us on Kickstarter or buy any of our other kits online, please do!

Bethany Koby is a social impact specialist at Wolff Olins London.