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Archive for June, 2008

The Electronic Research Laboratory – Volkswagen of America, Palo Alto

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

That was great!

ParkAssist enables automatic parking, using front and rear ultrasonic sensors to detect available parking space and a control unit to calculate the ideal manoeuvring path. Acoustic and visual displays guide the driver to the correct parking start position, then once reverse gear is selected the car parks itself in under 15 seconds. All the driver has to do in this time is accelerate and brake – the Touran does all the steering. The system has been available since June 2007.

The Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL)

Having been invited by Burkhard Hunke, Director of the ERL at the MIT European Career Fair (Rueckblick von Brainpower-Austria), I arrived in Palo Alto on Tuesday, in the early afternoon.

Besides driving the Touran I got to see the entire laboratory and pretty much met the entire team of the ERL. It was a great time! On Wednesday night, before driving to the airport, we went to an amazing steak restaurant on the 50th-something floor of a skyscraper with a view of the entire San Fransisco Bay, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge – amazing! I didnt know that the bridge got its name in 1848 during the time of the big gold fever. At this time thousands of gold diggers came on their ships through the waters to the harbor of San Francisco. The gold fever brought much wealth and the name for the bridge was settled.

The ERL supports all brands within the Volkswagen Group. This includes Volkswagen, Skoda, Bentley, and Bugatti as well as Audi, Seat, and Lamborghini. In addition to working with research and development teams in Germany, the ERL also supports the development of U.S.-specific features at the Volkswagen of America headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.


A great project coming from Stanford University and the ERL is the autonomous vehicle VW Touareg, called Stanley, which won the DARPA Grand Challenge and $2 million. Now it sparks inquiries from entrepreneurs and defense contractors. “Herbie, meet Stanley.”

Micro Credits and Redwired Ideas

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008


Two days ago I visited the talk by Damian von Stauffenberg from MicroRate on "Kapitalmarkt und Mikrofinanz-Sektor – Trends, Chancen und Perspektiven fuer Kommerzbanken". I believe, I was the only one who did not represent a large bank or was a VC or owner of an enormous company, sitting among the listeners.
The talk and the following article from Die Presse all speak about Microfinancing Institutions (MFIs) for 3rd World countries. I believe that there is also a big opportunity for MFIs for 1st World countries through Redwired Ideas!

Die Presse article over Mikro-Kredite:


Muhammad Yunus (Winner of the Nobel Peace Price):

Redwired Ideas – Brainstorming and Creativity

Saving the Spark (from A List Apart by Mark Boulton)

What can Creativity do?

All of us are creative and have ideas and everyone needs ideas!

Redwired – Ideas: A new forum in Redwired, where users can post any ideas they have and create discussion and brainstorming circles around these ideas to make them happen!
The most talked about and best rated Ideas will then transform into Redwired – Projects and these projects will be financially supported through a micro-financing model!

Redwired Ideas will try to harness the power of crowds ("Crowdsourcing") and through the creativity and talent that is among all of us will seek to find ideas that can change the world of everyone of us.

We are currently in touch with the HTL Wolfsberg, the Lavanttal Haus – Entwicklungagentur Kaernten, a financial organization in Carinthia, as well as Iqbal Quadir from the Legatum Center for Development & Enterpreneurship, who has led similiar initiatives (Power to the People, Microloans,…) and has given the motivation for this new project and shown interest to help.

Time flys and so do I, all over the place!

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

It has been two weeks since I wrote my last blog, I cant believe it! The last week flew by! 4 days of last week almost seemed like one day!

Tuesday morning I flew to California, where I visited the Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) from Volkswagen of America! There is a 3 hour time difference between Boston and California. The next day I spent the entire day at the lab and met with all project leaders and all engineers of the entire lab. The ERL and Palo Alto were great places to see! – more to come on that!

Wednesday night, I flew back to Boston on a so-called "Red-Eye" flight, departing at 11pm and arriving in Boston at 8am on

Thursday. This day also my 15 OLPC laptops arrived! They are amazing – again, more to come on that, as well! Same day, I packed all my things and flew to Austria at 7:45pm.

Gladly, I finally arrived in Graz on Friday, at 2pm, having spent the past two nights in planes instead of a bed.

Since then, time has flown again and today is already Tuesday and I am now in Eisenstadt, close to Vienna, where I met with INITS yesterday. Furthermore, I visited ICEP and listend to the talk by Damian von Stauffenberg von MicroRate zu "Kapitalmarkt und Mikrofinanz-Sektor – Trends, Chancen und Perspektiven fuer Kommerzbanken" – more on that, as well! ;_)

Other things to come:

I took another INvenTERVIEW, with David Merill, from the Media Lab, at MIT, who I collaborated with on his PhD thesis working on Siftables, throught this years i-teams class – soon to be posted on this blog! ;_)

Again, I got some cool links for you that I came across, over the past weeks:

Control your PC with your Voice
on the same topic: Use your Voice to Power Microsoft Word

Trying to sublet my apartment I came across the following:

20 Unusually Brilliant Bookcase and Bookshelf Designs
Apartment Therapy


A List Apart
Tag Galaxy
and for all of you, who like listening to OE3’s Fruehstueck bei mir and many more: Podster

The OST* featured a short paragraph about me and the 2fast4u exhibition in Hickory, North Carolina.
* TheOffice of Science & Technology (OST) is  "Building bridges of knowledge and expertise between Austria and North America" – this is the mission of the OST at the Embassy of Austria in Washington, DC. The OST is the strategic interface in the sciences, research, and research policy between Austria and North America.