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The workspace of the future is in Elon Musk’s lab. Using a variety of virtual reality and gesture-sensing tools, Musk has set up a system that allows himself and his engineers to design and manipulate models of rocket parts using just their hands. He's compared it to the Iron Man laboratory, and in many ways, it looks like just that.

But you won't need the technological expertise of Tony Stark in order to make one: Musk employs a Leap Motion Controller, an Oculus Rift, and a projector — among other common tools — in order to make the setup work. Not all of those are necessarily being used at once though. Musk says that he began with the Leap Motion, and then expanded to more advanced setups, such as one that involved projecting 3D mockups onto a translucent pane of glass.

While Musk admits that it's partially just "a fun way to interact with a complex model," he thinks that this new setup could mean far more than that. "I believe we're on the verge of a major breakthrough in design and manufacturing." Musk demonstrates how using the Leap he can fully move and rotate the model by just swiping, opening, and closing his hands.

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Tim Lord met Jay Kim at the RSA Conference in an Francisco. Kim's background is in manufacturing, but he's got an interest in security that has manifested itself in hardware with an emphasis on ease of use. His company, DataLocker, has come up with a fully cross-platform, driver independent portable system that mates a touch-pad input device with an AES-encrypted drive. It doesn't look much different from typical external USB drives, except for being a little beefier and bulkier than the current average, to account for both a touchpad and the additional electronics for performing encryption and decryption in hardware. Because authentication is done on the face of the drive itself, it can be used with any USB-equipped computer available to the user, and works fine as a bootable device, so you can -- for instance -- run a complete Linux system from it. (For that, though, you might want one of the smaller-capacity, solid-state versions of this drive, for speed.) Kim talked about the drive, and painted a rosy picture of what it's like to be a high-tech entrepreneur in Kansas.

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Simplicity in a Complex World: Charley Johnson at TEDxSMU 2012

A former corporate executive in manufacturing, Charley has been a longtime supporter of the Pay it Forward mission. In fact, Charley is so passionate about Pay it Forward that he left his company and career behind in 2011 to help advance its mission and bring back simplicity in a complex world. As the president of the Pay it Forward Foundation and head of the worldwide Pay it Forward Movement, he is the creator of the Pay it Forward bracelet, a physical reminder to do good that has been sent to over 1.3 million people in 117 countries. He founded the PIF Experience, the official website of the Pay it Forward Movement, responsible for keeping the world up to date on all things Pay it Forward. Charley also founded the Pay it Forward Hall of Fame in 2011. F unfacts : Over 1.5 million PIF bracelets have now been sent to 122 countries. // Take the PIF Birthday Pledge! Simply execute one Kind Act per year you've been alive on your birthday. The acts must be done on your birthday and the more people you get involved the better. Enlist your friends, family, neighbors...even strangers or people at work! Anyone can help you reach your goal. AboutTEDx: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x <b>...</b>
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Robots are taking over factories around the world.

The International Federation of Robots tracks the growth in usage, production, and trade in robots, and the numbers have grown at a tantalizing rate. Robot sales jumped by 38 percent in 2011, and the worldwide stock of robots is estimated to be in the range of 1,153,000 - 1,400,000 units — up from a minimum stock of 1,021,000 units in 2009.

South Korea lead the way in robot density in 2011, with 347 robots per 10,000 workers in the manufacturing industry. What's more impressive is the tremendous spike in robot density; South Korea had 287 robots per 10,000 workers in 2010.

Here are the countries where robots are taking over manufacturing:

Robot population graph DO NOT USE

Robot population graph DO NOT USE

 

The automotive industry has an even greater robot density.

Although three of the top four countries for robot densities stagnated from 2010-2011, developing countries like China, Thailand and Brazil saw big gains in robotic density.

Here are the countries where robots are taking over auto production:

Robot population graph DO NOT USE

Robot population graph DO NOT USE

Expect this trend to continue as gadget-maker Foxconn plans a big push toward robots.

SEE ALSO: Check Out The Amazing Kiva Robots That Amazon Just Bought For $775 Million

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There’s a reason why Elon Musk is being called the next Steve Jobs. Like Jobs he’s a visionary, a super successful serial entrepreneur having made his initial fortune with a company he sold to Compaq before starting Paypal. Like Jobs, he saved his beloved baby Tesla Motors from the brink of oblivion. Like Jobs, he’s a genius generalist with “huge steel balls” (according to his ex-wife) and a knack for paradigm-shifting industry disruption. Which means he’s also hard to work with. “Like Jobs, Elon does not tolerate C or D players,” SpaceX board member and early Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson told BusinessWeek.

But while Jobs was slinging multi-colored music players and touchable smartphones, Musk is building rocket ships and electric-powered supercars. It’s why his friends describe him as not just Steve Jobs but also John D. Rockefeller and Howard Hughes all wrapped in one. His friend Jon Favreau used Musk as the real-life inspiration for the big screen version of Tony Stark. Elon Musk is a badass.

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Have the Life you Want by Applying Manufacturing Disciplines: Julie Fraser at TEDxNewBedford

TEDxNewBedford was hosted by Chris Rezendes and Dolores Hirschmann on September 5th, 2012. www.TEDxNewBedford.com Fraser is passionate about advising both individuals and companies on effective approaches to improve their performance. She has 25 years' experience as a manufacturing, supply chain, intelligence and enterprise systems industry analyst and marketer. Julie's work advising individuals is evolving and emerging with her own journey toward greater success and fulfillment. Previously, she has had executive positions at several industry analyst and market research firms as well as marketing software into manufacturing industries. Fraser is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and is active in several plant floor technology associations. Hundreds of her articles, papers, studies and presentations that have inspired business action and success are available on-line and in print. She also practices Reiki, yoga, meditation, energy healing, and also enjoys gardening, needlework, scuba diving, reading and fitness. In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized <b>...</b>
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