The Week in Innovation: Aug. 13-19

Mobile phone throwing, HuffPo goes live, ‘telepresence robots’—and what else to expect in the next 144 hours.
  • Thisweekininnovation


Discussing The Servant Economy | Aug. 15 | Washington, D.C. Jeff Faux, founding president and distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute, will talk about his new book, The Servant Economy: Where America’s Elite is Sending the Middle Class. Joining Faux will be Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Harold Myerson, The American Prospect editor at large, to offer perspectives on restoring the middle class’s dream of rewarding hard work with rising living standards.

Mobile Phone Throwing Championships | Aug. 18 | Savonlinna, Finland The annual Mobile Phone Throwing Championships, now in its 12th year, lets participants air their frustrations with mobile phones in either “traditional” (over the shoulder) or “freestyle” (points for creativity) events. While participating phones must be donated, the competition’s site notes that “some competitors have wanted to throw their own phones as far as possible, but that is against the rules.”

Schiaparelli and Prada | Ends Aug. 19 | New York Compare the most innovative works by Italian fashion designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada at this exhibition of about 100 designs and 40 accessories. Iconic ensembles are accompanied by Baz Luhrmann-directed videos of simulated conversations between Schiaparelli (1890-1973) and Prada (b. 1949).

Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival | Aug. 21 | New York Meet the next generation of Brooklyn-based wordsmiths at this free, outdoor reading featuring writers age 7-17. The readings, which will also spotlight more established voices like Kwame Dawes and Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, is the culmination of a six-week writing program for young people created to promote self-expression in everyone, “not just the privileged and powerful.” Read selected poems from the workshops here.


The launch of HuffPost Live The Huffington Post launched an ambitious attempt to redefine TV news with the introduction of its online TV channel, HuffPost Live. A streaming network that uses HuffPo stories as its real-time script, HuffPost Live drops the wall between viewers and hosts by allowing users to pontificate on headlines via Google Hangouts or comment in a chatbox equal in size to its live video.

A robot in every home and office Are robots the next home appliance? The New York Times’ Bits blogger Nick Bilton offers a glimpse of the next generation of robots that could take over everyday household tasks, from folding laundry to setting tables. While Robert Bauer, the executive director of robotics company Willow Garage, predicts that the next wave of robots will most likely be “bodies” for people with physical disabilities, TechCrunch offers news of a “telepresence robot” that, at $2,000 a pop, could become standard for companies like startups, hospitals, and global corporations whose employees need to be in more than one place at a time.

FROM the greenhouse