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Blog posts from February 2012

Sunday links

What have we been looking at this week?

Telecommunications services for the 1990s

Friend of BERG Tom Stuart is writing a book for O’Reilly: Understanding Computation

answering questions about computation and the fundamental mechanics of programming languages: how do they really work? what can they really do? what do the programs we write in them really mean?

Music video watch:

“lonely AI whose efforts to reach out to its creators ends in tragedy” by @johnpavlus.

Injection moulding watch:

Injection moulding of 72 screw caps in less than 3 secs

Mattel’s Apptivity iPad toys enhance ‘Fruit Ninja’, ‘Cut the Rope’, and ‘Angry Birds’ gameplay

Nine block pattern generator

Wrap Your Head Around These Gears

The Strongest Weapon In the World a.k.a. Weapons of Mass Happiness / 2006

Adafruit IoT Printer Project Pack “Internet of Things” printer

Nike+ new sensor array using Bluetooth LE.

The Mu

Weekend in SF from robert mcintosh on Vimeo.


And the quest for a studio dog continues, Maddie is our inspiration.

Week 350, the Hertzian view

This week saw us filming the prototypes for one of our clients, Chaco, that meant two days with a studio full of people, cameras, lights, product models and as it turns out, a huge amount of extra radio waves.

(click for larger image)

This is a visualisation by Phil Wright who is working with us. It shows the usual BERG wifi network versus the monstrous chunk of the spectrum taken up by the ‘CHACONET’. That’s what happens when you have experience prototypes that use four wifi phones, two wireless baby monitors and eight bluetooth connections.

Week 350

Week 350 from BERG on Vimeo.

Suwappu in Designs Of The Year 2012

Suwappu at Designs Of The Year, Design Museum

Suwappu – the augmented-reality toy we invented with Dentsu London is a nominee this year in the Digital category of the Designs Of The Year show at London’s Design Museum.


It’s in great company – with other nominees in the category such as the Kinect, the Guardian’s iPad app (which we also consulted on, with Mark Porter and the brilliant internal team at the paper), High Arctic by UVA and others.

The Suwappu certainly get around a bit – here they are last year where they went to Pop!Tech with me to speak about toys, play and learning in a Robot-Readable World.

Suwappu at Pop!Tech

And last year they also lived for a while at MoMA, at the Talk To Me exhibit

We worked with Dentsu London from their original idea to bring them to life through model-making and animation, and then build working prototype software on the cutting-edge of what’s possible in computer-vision on smartphones.

It’s great to have partnerships like this that can rapidly get all the way from a strategic idea ‘What if toys were a media channel’ through to working, real things that can be taken to market.

That’s our favourite thing!

Of course – it’s a lovely bonus when they get recognised in a wider cultural context such as MoMA or the Design Museum.

As well as making our own products, we spend most of our time in the studio working closely in partnership with clients to create new things for them – making strategy real through research, design, making and communication.

Do get in touch if you and your company would like to work with us this way.

Here & There in MoMA’s permanent collection

Back in 2009, BERG created Here & There — a horizonless projection of Manhattan, and a new kind of city map that let you see simultaneously where you are and where you’re going. (The art prints are not currently on sale, and we’re not currently planning a reprint.)


Last year, the uptown and downtown maps were included in Talk to Me, an exhibit at MoMA – the Museum of Modern Art in New York – about design, things, technology and people, alongside some incredible peers and inspirational design work. (Read about Here & There on the Talk to Me website.)

(Here & There at Talk to Me, photo by Fiona Romeo.)

Last week, our Here & There maps became the latest addition to the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

I feel privileged and proud that our maps of Manhattan now have a permanent home in New York and at MoMA!

Many thanks to MoMA’s Acquisition Committee, and huge congratulations to the team: Jack Schulze, James King, and Campbell Orme.

If you’d like to read more, our previous blog posts about Here & There dig into the appearances and design influences of the project.

(A thought… we’ve been wondering about Here & There for other cities, perhaps as public display and taking the concept in new directions. It would have to be in partnership with a brand, so if you have any ideas then do get in touch:

Week 349

A prime, the sum of 3 consecutive primes, and the number of seats in the Swedish Parliament it would seem.

Retrospective (and rather list-like) week notes this week, and what a week! Not least, there have been 3 babies born, safely and I’m sure soundly. Hooray!

In the studio it’s been busy as usual. Simon’s been out and about wrapping up a project for Uinta. Matthew’s been juggling a mix of sales and interviews around Little Printer.

Nick has been doing a marvellous job traversing the full height of the Little Printer/Berg Cloud stack, and moving house, to top it all.

Joe, Alex and Denise have also been working on a part of the Uinta wrap up (called LaMotte) while cracking on apace with the comms surrounding another project (called Kletting).

James and Alice have been licking the cloud-side bits of Berg Cloud into shape. Some significant heavy lifting going on.

Denise is continuing to refine information architectures and feeding into Kletting, whilst joining Alex, Simon and myself for some Little Printer packaging design. Good stuff.

Timo was away for the start of the week, but back in time to launch our next BERG event at St. Bride’s on March the 21st, and in time to see it sell out!

We’ve just had another cracking Friday demos, with a special guest appearance from Matt Biddulph, who’s here for 2 weeks. Lovely.

Things are moving apace. We’ve just had cake to celebrate Matthew’s birthday. It’s drive-time.

That was week 349.

An “Evening with BERG” at St. Brides, London, March 21st

On March 21st, St. Bride’s Type Library in London are hosting us for the rather-marvellously titled “An Evening with BERG”.

Timo is the headliner, but there’ll be a few of us from the studio, discussing our work and approach to it – and hopefully getting a good discussion going.

If you’d like to come along, the event page is here.

I’m rather hoping there will be bar stools and tumblers of scotch, a bit like Dave Allen used to have, while we tell tall-tales of injection-molding and machine intelligence…

BERG in Fast Company’s list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies

I’m super proud to see BERG at #44 in Fast Company’s list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.

It’s an incredible list to be on! Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon, Square and Twitter are all there — and to pick just a few of the others, Jawbone, Polyvore, and Kickstarter.


Little Printer gets a shout out — our product for the home that prints you a miniaturised personal newspaper, daily.

It also seems like BERG is the only design consultancy on the list. We spend 50% of our time collaborating with clients, people like Intel and the Guardian, prototyping and producing everything from cute toys that talk in augmented reality to the first magazine (and magazine platform) for the iPad.

We’re currently planning our work across March and April. If you’d like to work with us, inventing and innovating, do drop me a line. The email is

In the meantime here’s our profile in Fast Company’s list: #44 Berg – For wildly imagining the marriage of the digital and physical worlds.

Thanks FastCo, and thanks team!

Friday Links

“Shazam For Everything”

Week 348

It’s week 348 and it’s really cold outside. There’s nothing very poetic to write about this week. It’s that time of year where everyone just works. We work and we do our chores. A quiet, sombre, productive time. I may be boring, but my bedroom is tidy. These are the things we are working on.

Webb, Jones and Timo are working on some sales. There is a Uinta project which doesn’t have a name yet, which Joe, Alex and Denise are working on. Me, Alice and Nick and working on Berg Cloud’s cloud. Andy is celebrating the end of Chinese New Year by talking power supplies. Timo and Jack are working on filming something.

There is temporarily no Simon, and Kari is away on Maternity leave now. Helen is therefore now in full time mode. There has been no hiccough in the transfer.

Everyone is working on many more things than mentioned here. You probably have a list like it. This is what the first week of February feels like.

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