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Wall Of Cool

What Google Learned From Its Quest...

Posted by Larry Kulesa

New research reveals surprising truths about why some work groups thrive and others falter.

1. Psychological safety

Members feel they can be vulnerable. They know their ideas and opinions will be respected and considered, even when they conflict with those of the rest of the team.

2. Dependability

Members are confident their coworkers will deliver what they are supposed to when they are supposed to.

3. Structure and clarity 

Members understand their roles and the roles of others, and the goals of the team overall.

4. Meaning

Members feel that what they are working on is important to them personally.

5. Impact 

Members believe what they are doing will have a positive effect on the organization and the world.

See The New Your Times for a full article on the topic.  "What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team," by Charles Duhigg.

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The AI Threat Isn’t Skynet. It’s th...

Posted by Larry Kulesa

IN FEBRUARY 1975, a group of geneticists gathered in the tiny town of Asilomar on the central coast of California to decide if their work would bring about the end of the world.  Forty-two years on, another group of scientists, artificial intelligence researchers, gathered at Asilomar to consider a similar problem.

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Tech in Focus at Synapse—Robotics

Posted by Jake Sprouse

I was a panelist for the WTIA forum on Trends in Robotics last night.  I had a fun time prognosticating and hearing other perspectives from the other panelists on the recent and future impact of robotics. We seemed to be in consensus that new sensing technology—physical (e.g. fiber-optic force sensing, laser scanners) & computational (e.g. deep learning for regression & classification of sensor data)—and innovations in compliant actuation and complex locomotion will enable some really interesting new applications of robotics in the near future. Especially in collaborative robotics (sharing the workspace with humans) and semi-structured environments like agriculture, home health care, and surgery.

There was an interesting question at the end asking what we think is our responsibility as technologists to society as related to the potential disruptive impact of robotics and automation.  My take on this is that engineers and technologists must participate actively in discussions with policymakers around the impacts, both positive and negative, of technology.  As technologists, our role is to accurately represent the potential technical impact, and we have to work hard to be realistic about the potential negative impacts—we have a strong tendency to be optimistic about the net benefit of our work.  And, while providing our input as technologists, we also should participate in the discussion as members of society.

I, for one, advocate that as a society, we take a slow approach to technology and leaving ample time for ethical considerations.  But I am very optimistic about the potential impact of robotics, especially when I consider applications like in-home assistive systems, surgical robots, and innovations that allow us to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.

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Synapse and SteamVR Tracking

Posted by Morgan Denno


Synapse electrical, mechanical and firmware engineers have been working with Valve on their VR program since 2014. We are very excited about this annoucement and we can't wait to provide onboarding and educational and consulting services for all SteamVR Tracking licensees! 

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Fire Powered Router in a Rock

Posted by Evan Ding

A German artist put a Wifi AP inside a rock, because why not?

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Imagination + Bikes

Posted by Margot Knight

Synapse loves bicycles!

This article has pictures of what it says it has: Bicycles built (ok, 3D rendered) based on people's attempts to draw them from memory. ME's, I'd love to see what you come up with.


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All Prior Art

Posted by Jason Haensly

"All Prior Art is a project attempting to algorithmically create and publicly publish all possible new prior art, thereby making the published concepts not patent-able. The concept is to democratize ideas, provide an impetus for change in the antiquated patent system, and to preempt patent trolls..." All Prior Art - About

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Ruggedized SmartWatch

Posted by Ray Nicoli


Built smart and built tough, the Mission can withstand the elements so you can take it with you anywhere: in the water, on the hill, off road and beyond. Powered by Android Wear™ and working hand in hand with Surfline, the world’s largest and most credible source for surf conditions reporting, and Snocountry, the authority in mountain conditions, the Mission is equipped with a preloaded app and streamlines real-time surf and snow shred alerts to your wrist, so you’ll never-not-know. Welcome to the next generation of smartwatch. Welcome the Mission.

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Blazing Firebirds of Awesome Glory...

Wall of Cool at Synapse Product Development
Posted by Ray Nicoli

Synapsters have been helping spread awareness and raising funds for The Movember Foundation for the last five years. The team, Blazing Firebirds of Awesome Glory with Gorgeous Mos, has raised approximately $45,000 to help fund research for prostate and testicular cancer and men's mental health. 

The team captain has been a top fundraiser in the US for the last three years and this year he has became one of the 2015 sexiest men of technology calendar. The calendar’s message is much more than just humor – it’s humor with a message. Each month highlights a different man of IT, each representing a different technology provider, including LiveTiles, Microsoft and Apple, alongside men’s health-related issues. Photography plays off each individual’s  personality and relevant seasonal activity. Monthly topics include health and fitness; colorectal screening; testicular cancer; skin cancer; healthy eating; hydration; depression; safe sex; and more.

"The technology industry is approximately 75% male and 100% of these men have prostates. Prostate cancer is one of the main conditions that Movember focuses on each year. By using humorous insights like this, the hope is this approach will make men take a second look at their health, inspire them to donate to issues that affect men around the globe, and take control over their own health,” said President of GSW Marci Piasecki.

The Movember Foundation is the global charity raising funds and awareness for men’s health. Every November, the Foundation challenges men to grow and women to support a moustache or make a commitment to get active and MOVE for 30 days. It’s the moustache that starts a conversation about men’s health, and it’s MOVE that puts the Foundation’s vision, to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health, into immediate action. The Movember Foundation has raised more than $650 million to date and helped fund over 1,000 men’s health programs in 21 countries.


The Movember Foundation runs awareness and fundraising activities year-round, with the annual Movember campaign in November being globally recognized for its fun and innovative approach to raising money and getting men to take action for their health. Every Movember, we challenge men to grow and women to support a moustache or to make a commitment to get active and MOVE, both of which spark conversations and raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health.

Men and women sign up at Choose to Grow, Give or MOVE Men start Movember 1st clean-shaven and grow only a moustache for 30 days Women and men commit to MOVE and complete 30 days of physical activity Get friends and family to donate to change the face of men’s health
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Virtual Reality is becoming Reality

Posted by Ray Nicoli

Virtual reality or Augmented reality...both are coming. Here is a VR system that is looking very promising that will allow for large enviroment and movement.

Walk, jump, squat.

Paint in 3D Play immersive games Virtual tourism Walk through your new house or new landscaping before you have done any work Dive the great barrier reef from your living room Learn to fix you car engine Hang out on the International Space Station...or with the Mars Rovers

What do you want to do?

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Microscopic Supercapacitor To Super...

Posted by Charles Manry

Tiny but powerful capacitors (aka microsupercapacitors) could make cheaper and tiny electronics like cell phones, cardiac pacemakers, and even desktop computers. They’d be great in nonvolatile memory, microsensors and actuators, RFID tags, and microelectromechanical systems, applications in which the power supplies can weigh up to 10 times as much as all the other parts combined.  

Tiny versions of capacitors, like all such devices, would be able to release their charge very rapidly. Thus they could be coupled with high-energy batteries to provide periodic surges, as conventional capacitors do today to power such power hungry but short time duration events such as the flash in smartphone cameras.  In this example miniaturized supercapacitors could thus lead to even thinner smartphones.

A group at the University of California, Los Angeles, has created such microsupercapacitors using a simple DVD burner to forge the one-atom- thick sheets known as graphene on which these devices are formed, in arrays. Together with a battery, such supercapacitors could run a cellphone for days. And because an array is less than 10 micrometers thick—far finer than a human hair—it is completely flexible. Build these arrays on flexible substrates and they could power a roll-up display. Very importantly it can done at low cost.

Their fabrication method can easily be scaled up, and our microsupercapacitors can be readily integrated onto silicon chips. In many cases they can make up for the inherent weaknesses of batteries, such as relatively slow power delivery and long recharge times. So even in those applications where these devices cannot replace batteries, they will augment them enormously.

The result is a marvelously compact battery and power supplies that can be integrated directly with silicon circuitry. By contrast, today’s computer motherboards require complex interconnects between the electronics and the backup power supply, typically a coin-size lithium battery that keeps memory alive when system power is off. Because these microsupercapacitors can be integrated on-chip it could make it easier to extract energy from mechanical, thermal, and solar sources.  For instance, they could be fabricated on the backs—literally—of solar cells to store power generated during the day for use after sundown. Typical practice today is to use batteries for this application, but supercapacitors would be better because they can extract charge much more efficiently and with minimal losses. In addition, integrated supercapacitors can simplify the external wiring used in conventional energy harvesting and storage systems.

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artificial sunlight you wouldn...

Posted by Tim Serkes

Coelux, a design group based in Italy, has developed an incredible technology that emulates the visual and physical properties of sunlight. The engineers built and designed a complex optical system using the concept of Rayleigh Scattering, which describes the dynamics of sunlight in the atmosphere. The light quality is so similar to that of sunlight that most people couldn't tell the difference! The units have only been installed in a few locations in Italy, but the company plans on finding applications within markets that place high value in access to daylight architecture and health & wellness. Search on YouTube for videos of Coelux in action!



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