Little Robot Friends: Kids Should have Fun with Code

Little Robot Friends is a Toronto-based startup that wants kids to not only be comfortable with code, they want kids to have fun playing with it too. The company runs traditional classes which teach coding practices like similar educational services. The neat thing with Little Robot Friends is that they want you to take it home. They sell kits for kids to make, you guessed it, a little robot they can be friends with.

We started with a simple idea. How can we blur the line between toys and tools? Can we make a robot that encourages kids to customize not only how it looks and sounds, but how it works? And so we created the Little Robot Friends – a coding companion for curious minds.

Before launching Little Robot Friends, Ann & Mark spent their time designing and building museum and science center exhibits around the world. Their expertise is in taking challenging subjects and making them fun & engaging for kids. When kids discover for themselves why things are awesome, they can propel their own excitement and imagination. Check out their past work at Aesthetec Studio.

Check it out.
Thanks to Nick!

Autonomous Objects

tape and tool

The sharing economy should be about sharing more than profits. At least that’s what the thinkers behind the sharing economy called for in the early days of the term; however we’ve seen it evolve into a profit-driven notion like rental cars and the ever-questionable AirBnB. Frustrated by this greedy turn in the sharing economy the people at Good Robot started Autonomous Objects (AO). AO is similar to the tool library except there are no physical locations for the service, instead the tools are listed and tracked on an ethereum blockchain. The tools live in the houses of the borrowers until the next borrow shows up.

Why Autonomous Objects?
Autonomous objects are objects with freedom: they can’t be owned because they are part of a commons. This is an important and deliberate choice, because while ownership and its assumptions have been very valuable for our society, these assumptions have also dismantled many a successful commons. We try and avoid that problem by ensuring the objects in our system have genuine autonomy. Every object even has its own web page and even a ‘bank account’ (more about that later). Autonomous objects are public goods that can be enjoyed, used and shared by anyone. But they also need kind-hearted people to help, care for, fund, and protect them too (a guardian). Anyone can help, and best of all, if you like an autonomous object enough to donate to it you can help it spawn new offspring. Once an autonomous object accumulates enough donations in its ‘bank account’ it will purchase new copies of itself (its children) to share with the world!

Check it out!

Try These Ethical Alternatives to Popular Apps

computer screen

Large tech companies find ways to make money off of your data without you knowing about it, they might even be sharing personal information about you with governments or advertisers. If that makes you uncomfortable (I hope it does) then you should consider looking for alternatives to mainstream software services and applications. For example you can replace Google with Ecosia or DuckDuckGo.

Thankfully there’s a group that is dedicated to making our tech more ethical and encouraging people to find these ethical solutions in an easy way via one site: ethical.net.

You can join in the conversation about ethical technologies and uses at their forum.

Ethical.net is a collaborative platform for discovering and sharing ethical product alternatives — whether that means purchasing from a social enterprise, thrift shopping, or learning how to fix your old phone instead of buying a new one.

What do we mean by ethical?
We know that “ethical” can mean very different things to different people.
But for us, it’s broadly about pursuing sustainability instead of growth, and putting people above profit.

Check it out!

Noteworthy Companies from Collision Conference

Collision Conference
21 May 2019; Chelsea F. Briganti, left, CEO, LOLIWARE, Dianna Cohen, centre,rnCEO, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada, on planet : tech Stage during day one of Collision 2019 at Enercare Center in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Sam Barnes/Collision via Sportsfile

There were a lot of companies at Collision Conference and many will be lost in the coverage. I want to celebrate the companies that are trying to make the world better while also making a profit.

Ava Byte – grow food in your tiny apartment

Avara – AR app to educate people on endangered species

Bee Meaningful – a social network for making the world better

Carbon Upcycling – chemically adsorbs CO2 emissions into inorganic solids

Distributed Compute Labs – use underused existing computer power instead of building new super computers

Echo Ridge – crowd driving activism platform to influence politics

Ethical Brandz – Get consumers towards making ethical, sustainable purchases, while holding businesses accountable.

Fable– a company focussed on user testing for people with disabilities

Green City Solutions – moss based biotech air filters

Intuitive AI – using AI for zero waste in offices

Kind Village – A community for local businesses, professionals and organizations that donate and give back

Nutana Power – renewable energy storage

PayGreen – Automatically include a carbon offset into your purchases (France only for now)

Plant Plus – plant based plastic replacement

Quantaloop– Quantaloop is a land regeneration & eco-marketing company

Steadiwear – tremor gloves for people suffering from Parkinson’s

Swrm –  platform to live a sustainable lifestyle & interact with the sustainable community

Unpublished Media Network – vote on weekly political actions

Wayaj – explore and book sustainable and socially responsible destinations around the world

With any luck these companies will be mentioned on Things Are Good for years to come.

Canada and Global Fishing Watch Trying to Save the Oceans

Collision 2019 - Day One
21 May 2019; Stephen Leahy, International Environmental Journalist, National Geographic, left, with, Andrew Sharpless, CEO, Oceanaon centre and Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary, Government of Canada, on Planet : Tech Stage during day one of Collision 2019 at Enercare Center in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Collision via Sportsfile

Our oceans are vital to our existence and nobody knows that better than Andrew Sharpless of Oceana. He and Sean Casey the Parliamentary Secretary were on stage at the Collision Conference presenting their efforts on saving the worlds oceans. Canada has gone from protecting only 1% of its coast line to 10% in less than a decade, hopefully this will continue. Our coasts are great spaces for marine life to lay eggs and eat.

The key takeaway from the panel was the really cool global fishing map which tracks the location of every fishing vessel on the planet! The ships are tracked using regional Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), so the some of the data might not be accessible depending on which countries abide by the standard broadcasting rules.

Tracking the ships helps governments and NGOs enforce rules and regulations. Casey pointed out that tracking the ships will also help with identifying the polluters who drop their nets (accidentally) and leave them to drift (most of the plastic waste in the oceans comes from fishing activity).

Just a decade ago, building an accurate picture of the commercial fishing across the globe would have been impossible. Today, thanks to advances in satellite technology, cloud computing and machine learning, Global Fishing Watch is making it a reality.

Scroll To Top
%d bloggers like this: