“Teach Through Play” Hops Border and Language Barriers

DEMO COMPANY SPOTLIGHT: ThinkFun, Inc.

ThinkFun, Inc., originally known as Binary Arts, is an Alexandria, Virginia-based educational toy company. Founded in 1985 by Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello, the company has since been featured in the New York Times, TechCrunch, and Wired, while also winning many awards for their games. The company is on a mission to “Teach Through Play” and neither borders nor language barriers will stop them: their games are sold in over 60 countries and have been translated to over 20 different languages.

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With a catalog of over 70 games throughout its history, ThinkFun, Inc. continues to innovate and remain relevant. 2014 saw the company release the game Robot Turtles (one of the most backed board games in Kickstarter History) followed by 2015’s Code Master, with both games sharing the intent of teaching children the logic and problem-solving mentalities needed to be successful at coding.

Looking for work in coding? Apply here.

For 2016, the company is making its rounds to toy fairs and gaming conventions alike in promotion of their newest game, Escape the Room, a logic-puzzler that is based on the internet and real life sensation.

If you want to meet ThinkFun, Inc., up close and personal, you can find them on February 25th at Tech in Motion DC’s Demos: EdTech Edition. Otherwise, you can learn more about them on their website.

Interested in the intersection of technology and education? You might be interested in:

Product Design Trends: The Future

Within the tech industry, it is becoming increasingly important to broaden our skills and embrace new ones that are paving the way of our future. Product design is described as a whole process with many different factors that go into the design. From concept to completion, an idea evolves through a life cycle of UX/UI designers, graphic/visual designers, user researchers, data analysts, and prototypers to name a few. As we see day to day, current trends of messaging, virtual reality, all things “smart”, and data storage are consistently changing.

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Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley recently held a Product Design Demo at The California Art Institute in Sunnyvale. With roughly 200 tech enthusiasts in attendance for the night, the event showcased companies such as:

  • Zackees– the World’s first turn signal glove
  • FlameStower– designs/manufactures energy products and services for global markets
  • PocketLab– a wireless multi-sensor and software platform that enables anyone to engage in open ended science experiments
  • VivaLnk– developing integrated solutions with its ultra-thin and flexible eSkin™ wearable technology platform
  • Nixie– the first wearable camera that is also flyable
  • The Wearhaus Arc– Bluetooth headphones that let you wirelessly sync music with multiple people around you
  • Orion– creates communication accessories and services that connect people
  • Ministry of Supply– research-based design used to create purposeful products for a life spent in motion
  • Flashtag Photo– an interactive photo booth that automatically prints photos taken at your event when they’re tagged on Instagram or Twitter.

Sign up to attend the next drinks & demos event from Tech in Motion by finding the closest one here.

Throughout the night,Tech in Motion organizers interviewed the guests and demo companies on what some of their favorite products are, what the future holds for product design, and the hottest design trends on the market now. Here are some of their responses:

What are some of the trends in product design for 2015?

Richie Zeng, CEO/Founder of Wearhaus  

“I’m seeing a lot of connected devices and products built around connectivity with phones as the central hub.”

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Sylvia Wu, Design Lead at Orion

“Wearables that add value to people’s lives, or products that are specific for communication. Products utilizing voices are becoming popular as well because you can convey emotions through tone, for example Siri and Amazon Echo.”

Clifton Zoozeboom, CEO/Co-founder of PocketLab

“Simplicity. Everyone is following the ‘Apple Way’.”

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What makes your product stand out among competitors?

Alena Laptsinskaya, Director of Customer Relations for Zackees

“We make better quality products. We have sensors that detect ambient light so that the LED will be brighter at night. We have a feature that disconnects the light after a certain amount of time to save battery, and you can change out batteries, unlike our competitors.”

What was the story behind your product and what does the future look like for it?

Adam Kell, Founder at FlameStower

“We’re aiming to impact energy services, and we’re also currently partnering up with the Guatemalan Government as well as doing some work in Ethiopia.”

“In 3 months we will start working on emergency energy solutions. Like for earthquake kits.”

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What is your current product you are involved with and how does it play a role in consumer’s lives?

Guy Horgan, Sales consultant for Ministry of Supply

“We do ‘smart’ men’s clothing… We are looking into eyewear as well.”

“We want our customers to feel comfortable in our clothes all day. We want work life integration. Our customers can go from work, to dinner, to a movie, and then out for drinks without the need to change or any discomfort.”

Interested in participating in a Tech in Motion event? Contact your city’s team here.

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Audience favorites of the evening were Nixie, PocketLab, and VivaLnk to name a few. Be sure to keep an eye out for these companies and how they will be impacting the product world and possibly our very own lives.

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There’s an exciting lineup of events coming up for Tech in Motion in Silicon Valley this spring and summer. Join in on the next meetup by becoming a group member and see what’s on the docket for April and May.

“Kickstart” into 2015

When someone hears the word “Kickstart” it automatically sparks an interest and excitement. “Kickstart” embodies a vision, innovation, a dream, and the possibility of the next big thing in an industry.

High_Res_Logo_no_shield_Sm_400x400Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley wanted to start the New Year off with a bang and welcome 2015 with a “Kickstart” into the New Year Mixer held at Strike Brewery Co. in downtown San Jose.

This networking event was aimed with a goal to connect people and ideas together. Building off of one another made the theme of the night very inspiring whether you were new to the tech industry or a seasoned veteran. Conversations throughout the crowd, were of passionate tech enthusiasts who had their eye on what the future could possibly hold.

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The taproom for Strike was actually funded through Kickstarter making it the perfect venue to host this event. Located in an industrial environment with an open floor plan design, it was the ideal space to display their huge steel tanks for brewing. The mixer was packed with over 100 techies in attendance, ranging from Kickstart companies to founders in search of co-founders, and regular tech lovers interested in new products/designs.

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The night was filled with plenty of perks for the early attendees including: free drink tickets, free group tours of the brewing facility, delicious food from Melts my Heart Truck, and a special promotion for members to come back between January 8th– February 28th to enjoy a “Buy one four-flight, get the second for a penny!”

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Strike recently just released their new winter seasonal Stout. A crowd favorite for the event, it is definitely something to stop by and enjoy while relaxing and playing some games or watching your favorite sports team.

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Keep the momentum going in Silicon Valley with Tech in Motion’s events coming up in spring: The Women of Influence Tech Talk on March 26th, the Social Tech Mixer on April 9th and more.

Not in Silicon Valley? Check out our list of events happening across the nation.