I’m very humbled and surprised to share that Forbes Magazine has included me on their annual “30 Under 30” list in the “Manufacturing & Industry” category. The “30 Under 30” Manufacturing and Industry award aims to recognize 30 people under the age of 30 who “invent new technologies that help America make things and get stuff done.” You can see my brief profile here, or in the print edition that comes out on January 10th.
I didn’t get an engineering degree because I wanted to be awarded or recognized (there are better career paths for those who are looking for fame!) – I do what I do because it provides me with a creative outlet that delivers exciting new challenges every day. I suspect that that is the case for most engineers. I love my job, I love my hobbies, and I love sharing what I’m working on with people who want to learn from it. It’s exciting to be recognized by Forbes, but I’m really just doing what I love. It feels kinda weird to be given an award for just doing the stuff that I want to do anyways, but I’m grateful nonetheless and I promise to continue working on the things that I feel are important. Thank you to everybody who has supported me along the way, notably my university professors and peers, my work colleagues, my family/friends, and my mentors.
It’s no secret that I LOVE LEDs. It’s also no secret that I love 3D printing, Raspberry Pis, Laser Cutting, and woodworking (I just started a new job in an office with a full-featured wood shop). This project combines all of these things into a final product that I’m really proud of. I built it as a gift for my girlfriend, Leah. Taking inspiration from many commercial and DIY Word Clocks (example 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) that I’ve seen around the web, I built my own take on this unique timepiece. It uses words to spell out the time, occasionally displays “secret messages” in an accent color, and slowly cycles display colors for Leah’s name. First, here’s some pictures of the finished product (then I’ll go into more detail on the design process).
A few years ago, I gathered all my things, packed them in a moving pod, and moved out to San Francisco to start my dream job as a “Hardware Astronaut” at Google [X]. The past few years at Google have been nothing short of amazing. I worked among the smartest people I’ve ever met, and learned an enormous amount. I did everything from rapid prototyping to complete system architecture design, and I had the opportunity to work on several amazing projects, including Google Glass. The technical complexity of these projects taught me about manufacturing constraints, electrical design, certifications, user experience, product design, industrial design, branding, and so much more.
But, I’m always eager for a new challenge. After spending a few years becoming the expert on all things electrical within the Google Glass team, I decided that I was ready to work on a different kind of product. Specifically, I wanted to get back to my roots, by working on a product that could empower people to make amazing things. I considered switching to one of the other teams at Google, such as VR/Cardboard, Robotics, or the Self-Driving car, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I really wanted to jump back into the startup world. When the opportunity to join Shaper presented itself, I knew what I had to do. Shaper’s mission and product goals resonate very strongly with me – we’re building smart power tools. In short, we want to empower people to make things by creating tools that anybody can use with confidence. As of November, I’ve joined Shaper as the Head of Electrical Engineering. I’m responsible for architecting the electronics for our first product, an augmented reality cutting tool called Shaper Origin. Origin simplifies the process of making by combining the versatility and intuitiveness of handheld tools with the intelligence of machine automation. We think of it as autocorrect for your hands. To fully appreciate what our tools can do, check out our videos on YouTube. Here’s a playlist of some videos showing what our tool can do:
Still curious about how Shaper works? Here’s a handy diagram that explains the technology we’re building:
How Shaper Origin Works
I’m REALLY excited about what we’re building at Shaper. The world is built with hand tools, but they’ve remained largely unchanged for centuries. It’s my hope that we’ll be able to bring tools into the 21st century, while making it easier than ever for people to unleash their creativity.
Brraaaiiiiinnnnsssss!!! When the zombie apocalypse inevitably occurs, will you be ready? I recently served as the Technical Editor for Simon Monk’s latest book, “The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.” The book introduces novice makers to electronics and programming through the lens of a theoretical zombie apocalypse. Learn how to use Arduino and Raspberry Pi to build surveillance equipment, zombie distractions, booby traps, and more!
I’m not new to the topic of zombies – you might recall some of my previous guest appearances on the zombietech podcast. The zombie apocalypse, though unlikely, is actually a perfect scenario for learning new technical skills. In a post-apocalyptic world, you’ll need to generate power, set up surveillance systems, establish secure communications, and more. These are all perfect topics to be conquered with knowledge of Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and simple electrical engineering. Doing the technical editing for this book was a lot of fun – Simon did an excellent job authoring the book and the projects therein. And Simon isn’t new to writing electronics books; you can check out some of his other books on Amazon. Of course, my book, Exploring Arduino, is a great companion to this one if you want to dive deeper into Arduino projects and embedded engineering/design – it gets a nice shout-out from Simon in his book, too.