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Innovation on the Wall

Scribit, a robot that can draw on vertical walls. Image credit: Scribit

Yesterday I had the pleasure of mingling with young entrepreneurs and designers clustered to celebrate the coming holidays in a building that used to be a steel-mill and has now being transformed into an innovation-creativity lab by Carlo Ratti.

Really nice to be among these people that can not just imagine the future, they can prototype it and spin off companies that will eventually create it!

I spoke with people that created Scribit, (go and check their website), who showcased a disk with what I took for three antennas glued to  wall. Actually, getting closer, I realised that those were not antennas (given my history I tend to see antennas everywhere) but felt pens, three with an empty slot to accommodate a fourth one and the disk was not glued to the wall but actually hanging from the wall thanks to two tiny wires too this for me to spot.

Andrea, two Andreas actually,  key people involved in Scribit, explained what it was all about.
Scribit is a robot (watch the clip) that can easily be positioned on any vertical wall (most walls are vertical…) by just nailing two nails in the upper part of the wall and connecting two wires from the nails to the robot. The distance of the nails and their hight on the floor is basically identifying a rectangular canvas onto which Scribit can write.
What would it write? Anything, actually, using the 4 felt pens allowing drawing in 4 colours. You use an app they provide to load any text, drawing from your smart phone to the robot and it immediately will start its “painting” activity. Just think how nice it would be to have one of your white wall becoming a canvas where you can have … whatever it is your fancy! Of course, since it is a fancy, you are likely to love it now and hate it tomorrow. No problem, just tell Scribit to erase it and in a very little time that ugly drawing will disappear leaving you with a pristine canvas where you can ask Scribit to draw something you absolutely love today!

What about having Scribit writing down the main news on your bedroom wall so that first thing you see on waking up in the morning are the headlines of the day?  Or that nice message your girlfriend sent you during the night? Up to you, just let Scribit know what you like.

What really amazed me is the idea on the one hand and the execution on the other. That little disk is chocked full with math to calculate its position on the wall and where ad when to use the felt pens. It has a computer, communications capability, it lives in symbioses with the app on your phone and… it is affordable!

Really, this is just one more proof that imagination and creativity are the limit to what can be done, technology is here to support them. Of course the big challenge remains the execution that has to make the idea affordable and usable, and for that you have people like Andrea(s).

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.