Contact: Kim Karlsrud

Sketching in Hardware Summit shows future design tools

San Francisco, CA – The seeds of the future of design have been planted. At ThingM’s Sketching in Hardware summit technology thought leaders demonstrated tools for creating objects, clothing and buildings with embedded hardware and software, bringing the promise of The Internet of Things one step closer.
On July 23, 24 and 25, 2010 top developers, scientists, hackers, and educators met in Los Angeles Airport’s futuristic LAX Theme Building and at Art Center College of Design’s spectacular Wind Tunnel Building for an intense three-day immersion in the future of ubiquitous computing design tools.
As has become a tradition, the summit went beyond talking about future possibilities and got down to nuts and bolts (sometimes literally!) to demonstrate brand new technologies for creating reactive architecture, smart appliances, digital fashion, and immersive entertainment.
New tool highlights included:
• ZIG (ZigBee Internet Gateway) a low-cost, open source solution for letting nearly any object send and receive messages over the Internet, making prototyping Internet of Things experiences much easier.
• ModKit, a drag-and-drop programming tool for simple programming, which makes it easy for people with no knowledge of software development to quickly learn how to program devices.
• Firefly, an architecture tool that links a physical model of a building to a digital representation. Changing the physical model (which can be made of plastic, wood, or almost anything) changes what the building looks on screen, and vice versa. It’s now possible to design buildings that dynamically change shape faster than ever.
• NETLab Toolkit bridges unifies a range of technologies into a single toolkit that runs on everything from laptops to iPads and phones, making creating custom multi-device experiences faster and easier than ever.
Participants from Smart Design, IDEO, The Rockwell Group, Microsoft Research, Bug Labs, Sparkfun Electronics and Nokia presented the latest projects and thinking from the world of corporate design, while researchers from top universities (such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech) described the latest academic research and design educators from Art Center College of Design, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Bangalore’s Srishti School presented cutting edge designs and the latest in design thinking.
At the conclusion of the workshop the participants nearly all agreed that the three intense days had significantly pushed forward the state of the art of developing the next generation of digital products and environments.

Sketching in Hardware was organized by Mike Kuniavsky and ThingM Corporation and sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

For more information:
Sketching in Hardware 2010 general information:
Sketching in Hardware presentation slides:


NETLab Toolkit:

Founded in 2006 by Mike Kuniavsky and Tod E. Kurt, ThingM is a ubiquitous computing device studio. Here, networked electronics meet user experience design in products for everyday problem solving and self-expression. We bring together people’s lives with cutting edge technologies to develop and manufacture original products and services.

Our specialty is making everyday things from the near future.

For more information, visit

Posted in July 2010