Posted in communication and networking, education, electronic imaging and displays

Week of TED: Siftable electronics

This past weekend great minds gathered in Monterey, CA, to explore different ideas at TED , the Technology, Entertainment, and Design conference that seems to collect the best minds in the business, from astronomers to novelists. They also grant prizes each year to three people who can then (hopefully) continue to explore their great ideas. This year’s winners were Jose Antonio Abreu, Sylvia Earle, and Jill Tarter.

Since this conference is devoted to bringing together art, technology, science, literature, and opening minds to all the possibilities, it only seems fair to devote an entire week exploring some of the talks given and new discoveries explored.

Today: MIT Media Lab students have created a new toy/tool/artsy thing called Siftables. These little electronic cubes have sensors on their sides that can tell when they’re being tipped, flipped, up, down, next to one another, or split up, and the images brought up on their little screens will react accordingly. Two faces can be programmed to look at one another, depending where the blocks are located in relation to one another. One block can “pour” red color onto another cube’s image by tilting the cube.

 The video embedded in Kim Zetter’s write-up provides a cool visual demonstration of just what these little cubes can do. This new design was presented at this year’s TED conference, which I will go through and bring the best tidbits of soon.

One of those highlights will NOT be when Bill Gates released mosquitos into the unassuming crowd. I HATE those litte bugs!



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.