"It’s compassion. It’s humility. It’s saying thank you. It is always putting yourself in the other person’s position. I know it might sound weird, but empathy is one of the greatest creators of energy. It’s counterintuitive, because it’s selfless.” (!)
In February 2002, Michael Gore broke his back in a work accident and lost all function and feeling in his legs. Using the Indego Exoskeleton, a device at the forefront of wearable robotics, Gore can now get up and walk again (see video).
With the Indego, patients with spinal cord injuries or with other motor problems strap their lower bodies into a piece of equipment that looks like leg braces. The Indego, however, uses sophisticated technology that does much more than just provide support. Gyroscopes and accelerators anticipate a patient’s steps by subtle upper body motion—similar to how a Segway works. Then, the Indego moves in concert with the patient’s leg to take a step. The wearer is using their own muscles to do the work, with a little extra help.
When Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler founded the high-end gym chain SoulCycle, they faced an uphill battle. Their friends, for starters, told the cofounders and CEOs that their emphasis on indoor spinning was a dated idea.
"He said, ‘I don’t have the heart to tell you this, but you know spinning is dead,’" laughs Cutler, recalling the conversation.
But Cutler and Rice felt differently. “We were like ‘Well, I think we can still do it. I think we can still reinvent it,’” she says. “‘I think we can still create something we want as the user.’”
Could a former law firm or accounting office be the perfect place to send out of town guests for a night? The architecture collective Pink Cloud thinks so, and is on a quest to transform vacant skyscrapers into pop-up hotels.
There should be no stigma attached to failure. If you do not fail often, you are not trying hard enough. At Google, once a product fails to reach its potential, it is axed, but the company pulls from the best of the features. “Failure is actually a badge of honor,” he says. “Failure is the way to be innovative and successful. You can fail with pride.”
“In this way we get “brain hubs,” places that contribute an outsized portion of the GDP and generate an unreasonable number of patents. This capital-ization has pretty far-reaching effects: the more high-tech, high-powered folks you have in a place, the more similarly gifted people will be attracted to moving there—and all these jobs actually generate more jobs. Moretti says that a high-tech job actually creates something like 10 service sector gigs.”
This week, the home page of the NYTimes.com featured an unusual, wonderful Op-Doc called “A Short History of the Highrise.” Billed as an “interactive documentary,” the project was a collaboration between the Times and the National Film Board of Canada.