Spark 182 - May 13 & 16, 2012

On this episode of Spark: Descriptive Cameras, Bio-hacking, and Forgiving Bad Design. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

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The Descriptive Camera

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Is a picture worth a thousand words? According to Matt Richardson: not really. Richardson is the creator of the Descriptive Camera. The device is like a Polaroid, but with words -- instead of producing a photo, the camera prints out a hand-crafted text description of whatever it sees. (Runs 6:22)

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The Camera Obscura Project

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One day, Jamie Malcolm and Mark Winter left a disposable camera in Convent Garden. The camera had instructions to take a photo, relocate and leave behind for the next person. 43 days later it returned, and from there the Camera Obscura project was born. Now they want to "test the good nature, trust and creativity of the world" by leaving cameras in places outside of England. (Runs 6:06)

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Apps for Everyone

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Hendrik Knoche is a computer scientist, specializing in human-computer interaction, and he's been working with farmers in rural India to create smart phone apps so they can crowdsource agricultural information. The challenge is that many farmers in rural areas are illiterate, so how do you create an app that's easy and accessible to use? (Runs 8:33)

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Million Short

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Sanjay Arora is the founder of Exponential Labs, a Toronto-based software startup. There's a lot of buzz building about one of their projects, Million Short. It's a search engine that delivers results to you, after it knocks off the top one million most popular websites. (Runs 6:13)

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Bio-hacking

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A few weeks ago on Spark, we heard how scientists at the University of Ottawa were working to create designer organs (the kind in our bodies!) that could communicate via Twitter. This kind of bio-tinkering seems an awful lot like what's going on in the DIY-bio movement. Yes, Do-it-yourself bio-hackers do exist, and they say if you're an actual scientist, you can't be in the club! Spark contributor Sonya Buyting tells us more. (Runs 7:19)

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Forgiving Bad Design

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Henry Petroski is a professor of civil engineering and history, and an expert in understanding engineering failures. In his book To Forgive Design, he says we need to understand failure in order to succeed. (Runs 9:37)

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