+
Heroes

This ragtag group of arty inventors have made a $9 computer. It's kind of a big deal. Here's why.

We talked with one of the inventors. Minds exploded.

Can a $9 computer help humankind?

We thought so.

But to figure out just how CHIP, the $9 computer, came about and what it means, I hunted down one of the makers, Dave Rauchwerk.


There are tons of smart inventors in the world. But for a long time, there just wasn't an inexpensive way for them to develop products with computing power. That privilege was left in the hands of mythical Steve Jobs-like characters and big, unapproachable computer chip companies.

Until now.

That's me, learning about CHIP on a Skype call with Dave.

Here's how.

1. The very creation of CHIP demystifies how cool electronics are made.

If you're anything like me, computers might as well be made on Mars ... that's how impossible the process seems. But the CHIP team didn't have to go to Mars to make CHIP. The CHIP team got some really cool help from a program called the Hackcelerator.

Via Hackcelerator.

Hackcelerator is a program that gives money to people with cool ideas for computer hardware and sends 'em to China, the world's manufacturing HQ, to make the right connections that will make cool ideas turn into REAL THINGS.

That's right. We don't have to wait for some genius Steve Jobs-like person to come up with idea. I, you, we, all of us — we can follow this model for inventing things ... and invent things. Real things!

2. CHIP redefines what computers even ARE!

"When everyone can have a computer ... that doesn't look like 'a computer' anymore, that means that the people who grow up with things like this aren't going to have the same bias about what a computer is and what it isn't as they have now."
— Dave Rauchwerk, co-maker of CHIP

Sure. CHIP does computer things.

But because of CHIP, we can turn almost anything into a computer.

Via Kickstarter.

Anything that COULD have a computer brain in it now CAN — and cheaply! If you have the idea and you can program, you can make the thing. No huge costs keeping you from doing it. No difficult hardware to order or construct.

Did we mention that CHIP also teaches you how to code? It does. It comes preloaded with Scratch, an easy-to-learn language that teaches the basics of programing by making stories, games, and animations.

3. CHIP is so cheap, it makes computing a right for everyone, not just a privilege for some.



That's me on the lower right, at the moment my mind kinda exploded.

Turning an old TV into a computer monitor is nothing new. But what is new is how easy and affordable it is with the advent of CHIP. You used to need money, connections, power, or genius to get your hands on a computer. But with CHIP, you can turn an old TV and a mouse and a keyboard you found in the trash into a computer. BAM!

The way I feel when my grandparents talked about living without running water? That's the way my kids are going to laugh at me when I talk about living without computing power.

Computers — and the opportunities that come with them — aren't just for the powerful anymore. They're for everyone.

It's radical. It's the future.

Computing rights for everyone? The power to invent new things? A whole new world?

CHIP is your density.

:)

Let's get started.

Go get a CHIP on Kickstarter while you still can!

Or you can just lean back and imagine all the cool inventions that are about to happen once other teams of ragtag artists get their hands on CHIP ... oh the possibilities!

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

Via Ridwell

Ryan Metzger and son Owen

There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

Keep ReadingShow less
via Tod Perry

An artist's recreation of Jackie's napkin note.

A woman named Jackie pulled a move straight out of a romantic comedy recently, and it has the internet rallying around her potential love interest. Jackie met a guy at a bar and liked him so much that she gave him her phone number. Well, 80% of her number, that is.

The world heard about it on January 17 when Twitter user Henpecked Hal and shared a picture of the napkin with her partial phone number written on it. "My 22-year-old cousin met his dream girl at a bar and it's going pretty well,” Hal wrote in the tweet.

Keep ReadingShow less

Women are looking for love at Home Depot.

Even though people have endless options to find love these days, whether in real life or online, finding the perfect person still isn’t easy. In fact, according to Pew Research, 55% of women believe dating is harder today than it was 10 years ago. So it’s understandable that some are considering ditching the apps to meet people in real life.

Studies show that for people looking for a serious relationship, real life may be the better option.

According to Newsweek, a study by Illinois State University sociology professor Susan Sprecher found that young people who first met face to face were 25% more likely to report feelings of closeness than those who initially met online. Aditi Paul, a communications professor at Pace University in New York, found that people who first met in real life lasted four times longer than those who met online.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A letter to the woman who told me to stay in my daughter's life after seeing my skin.

'I'm not a shiny unicorn. There are plenty of black men like me who love fatherhood.'

Doyin Richards

Dad and daughters take a walk through Disneyland.

True
Fathers Everywhere

This article originally appeared on 06.15.16


To a stranger I met at a coffee shop a few years ago who introduced me to what my life as a parent would be like:

My "welcome to black fatherhood moment" happened five years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

I doubt you'll remember it, though — so let me refresh your memory.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Man was awake and playing the saxophone throughout his entire 9-hour brain tumor surgery

Several times during the surgery, the patient played the theme song from "Love Story" by Francis Lai.

"Awake surgery" allows brain surgeons to see the functioning parts of the brain to avoid during surgery.

This article originally appeared on 10.17.22


Do you ever step back and marvel at the miraculous things human beings have figured out how to do?

Less than 200 years ago, no human being had ever played a saxophone, there was no such thing as anesthesia and if you had even a simple brain tumor, you were just out of luck.

Now, a team of doctors in Italy has successfully performed a highly complex, nine-hour brain surgery on a man while he was awake and while he played the saxophone. Not only that, but the patient reported feeling "tranquility" during the surgery and only spent a few days in the hospital after the surgery before being discharged.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Deadpool” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

Keep ReadingShow less

Parenting children requires some serious balancing skills.

This article originally appeared on 03.08.16


Like most parents, I didn't know what I was doing when I first became a mom — because I'd never done it before.

I was 27 when our first child joined our family through adoption. He was 10 months old.

My son and me shortly after his adoption. That look on my face can probably best be described as "clueless but hopeful." All photos of my kids and me belong to me.

Keep ReadingShow less