Regenerative braking for bicycles and more. Intelligent power boost while you pedal, Wifi connection, API for developers… This is pretty great stuff, but now someone has to figure out a bulletproof way to lock your rear wheel.

MIT Actually Reinvented The Wheel – Digg.

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You know what’s faster than using a photocopier to copy and/or send something? Take a picture of it with your phone. But, you say, it gets all distorted, and it’s hard to read… and the file size is too big. Go download this free app:

Genius Scan – PDF Scanner for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

You take a picture with your phone then quickly drag the corners of the image to correct for perspective. When you’re done it automatically converts it to an either black-and-white or vivid color pdf. Then you can email it (as a very small attachment) or move it around your phone to other apps.

Two ways I often use Genius Scan:

1. Draw a sketch by hand at my desk. Send by email immediately. (I usually take the photo a little askew in order to keep the shadow of my phone off the drawing. Then perspective-correction makes it straight again.)

2. Copy someone’s document during a meeting or in the field without ever even taking the paper away from the person.

BONUS: if you put a scan of a document (image or pdf) in Google Drive, you can ask Google to turn it back into text (OCR). Any scan–not just the ones made with Genius Scan. Not 100% effective, but worth a try if you need to edit or copy the text.

BONUS+: The Drive app also lets you access this feature directly with your camera phone.

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Ikeas new AR app superimposes furniture into your empty room | Digital Trends.

Very clever, using the catalog cover as the reference point to determine view angle and scale. Watch the video.

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Photosynth – Capture your world in 3D.

For iPhone and Windows Phone


A must-have for architects in the field: superpowerful app that creates XY panoramas with your phone. I say XY because you can point your camera in any direction–left, right, up, down.

Why are panoramas so great? You know how you’ll take 100 photos on site, get back to your desk and realize you missed just one shot that would tell you how something was installed? Or you’ll forget what sequence you took the shots and not know how two photos go together? With a panorama you have a fighting chance at documenting everything you need.

You just aim your camera, no need to tap anything until you feel like you’re done. It auto-stitches all your shots, saves it as a flat fisheye shot in your camera roll, and keeps the panorama in your phone, in the app. You can name your panorama and use the GPS locator to identify where it’s taken.

On top of that, you can upload to (once you create an account), see the panorama in the browser and share through email and Facebook. You can also embed it in a webpage.

You can choose to make your panoramas public (there are some great hi-quality public ones on or keep them private.

Great stuff. Go get it now.

BONUS: This is what Photosynth used to be. Really. Really amazing.

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Ever get a PDF from someone that looks mysteriously empty on your iPhone? An email like, “I marked up your drawing. See attached for the area I’m talking about.” Then you open the attachment and see your own drawing but no comments? It’s because the default PDF viewer (iBooks) can’t display PDF comments.

Never fear, there’s an app for that. There are actually lots of apps that show annotations. I like Adobe Reader. If you don’t have it on your iPhone you need to go get it now.

Once you’ve installed it, you can skip the default iPhone viewer in your Mail app and other apps, too. In Mail, just hold down on the attachment for a couple seconds instead of tapping. You’ll get a new screen asking what app you’d like to use. (Choose Adobe Reader.) The document is added to Adobe Reader’s library, and all the glorious comments become visible.

What’s more, you can add your own comments from your iPhone. And you can send the doc as an attachment from Reader. Or print it. You can also add it to, if you want to keep an account in Adobe’s cloud. If it confuses you, there’s help online.

Adobe Reader is great for field work, too.

You can collect PDFs here that are always accessible once they’re downloaded to your phone (unlike Dropbox, which requires a network connection). You can organize them in folders and/or rename the files as you please. So before you do a site visit, load it up with all your construction docs and finish schedules. Much more convenient than lugging around a binder.

By the way, you can “Open in Adobe Reader” from the Dropbox app, too. Look for this button (or a variant of it, anything with an arrow coming out of a box):


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Damn You Art School.

Apps, Tools, and Resources creative professionals

use to improve Productivity & Creativity.

For everything they never taught you in art school. And other cool stuff.

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SketchBook – SketchBook – Introducing 123D Creature.

Impressive (although I’ve only read, haven’t tried it): model a monster on your iPad in 3d, skin it, render it and even print it in 3d (they send it to you). Now $1.99.

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