Inventions
Crystal Fire: The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age (Revised)
Crystal Fire
The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age (Revised)
Paperback      ISBN: 0393318516

On December 16, 1947, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, physicists at Bell Laboratories, jabbed two electrodes into a sliver of germanium. The power flowing from the germanium far exceeded what went in; in that moment the transistor was invented and the Information Age was born. No other devices have been as crucial to modern life as the transistor and the microchip it spawned, but the story of the science and personalities that made these inventions possible has not been fully told until now. Crystal Fire fills this gap and carries the story forward. William Shockley, Bell Labs' team leader and co-recipient of the Nobel Prize with Brattain and Bardeen for the discovery, grew obsessed with the transistor and went on to become the father of Silicon Valley. Here is a deeply human story about the process of invention including the competition and economic aspirations involved all part of the greatest technological explosion in history. The intriguing history of the transistor its inventors, physics, and stunning impact on society and the economy unfolds here in a richly told tale." Science News "Thoroughly accessible to lay readers as well as the techno-savvy. . . . A

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality
Dawn of the New Everything
Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality
Paperback      ISBN: 1250097401

Named one of the best books of 2017 by The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, & Vox

The father of virtual reality explains its dazzling possibilities by reflecting on his own lifelong relationship with technology

Bridging the gap between tech mania and the experience of being inside the human body, Dawn of the New Everything is a look at what it means to be human at a moment of unprecedented technological possibility.

Through a fascinating look back over his life in technology, Jaron Lanier, an interdisciplinary scientist and father of the term "virtual reality," exposes VR's ability to illuminate and amplify our understanding of our species, and gives readers a new perspective on how the brain and body connect to the world. An inventive blend of autobiography, science writing, philosophy and advice, this book tells the wild story of his personal and professional life as a scientist, from his childhood in the UFO territory of New Mexico, to the loss of his mother, the founding of the first start-up, and finally becoming a world-renowned technological guru.

Understanding virtual reality as being both a scientific and cultural adventure, Lanier demonstrates it to be a humanistic setting for technology. While his previous books offered a more critical view of social media and other manifestations of technology, in this book he argues that virtual reality can actually make our lives richer and fuller.

Defending Your Castle: Build Catapults, Crossbows, Moats, Bulletproof Shields, and More Defensive Devices to Fend Off the Invading Hordes
Defending Your Castle
Build Catapults, Crossbows, Moats, Bulletproof Shields, and More Defensive Devices to Fend Off the Invading Hordes
Paperback      ISBN: 1613746822

A man's home is his castle, or so the saying goes, but could it withstand an attack by Attila and the Huns, Ragnar and the Vikings, Alexander and the Greeks, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, or Tamerlane and the Tartars? Backyard Ballistics author William Gurstelle poses this fascinating question to modern-day garage warriors and shows them how to build an arsenal of ancient artillery and fortifications aimed at withstanding these invading hordes. Each chapter introduces a new bad actor in the history of warfare, details his conquests, and features weapons and fortifications to defend against him and his minions. Clear step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and photographs show how to build a dozen projects, including "Da Vinci's Catapult," "Carpini's Crossbow," a "Crusader-Proof Moat," "Alexander's Tortoise," and the "Cheval-de-frise." With a strong emphasis on safety, the book also gives tips on troubleshooting, explains the physics behind many of the projects, and shows where to buy the materials. By the time they've reached the last page, at-home defenders everywhere will have succeeded in creating a fully fortified home.

Defying Reality: The Inside Story of the Virtual Reality Revolution
Defying Reality
The Inside Story of the Virtual Reality Revolution
Hardcover      ISBN: 110198371x
A fascinating exploration of the history, development, and future of virtual reality, a technology with world-changing potential, written by award-winning journalist and author David Ewalt, stemming from his 2015 Forbes cover story about the Oculus Rift and its creator Palmer Luckey.

You've heard about virtual reality, seen the new gadgets, and read about how VR will be the next big thing. But you probably haven't yet realized the extent to which this technology will change the way we live. We used to be bound to a physical reality, but new immersive computer simulations allow us to escape our homes and bodies. Suddenly anyone can see what it's like to stand on the peak of Mount Everest. A person who can't walk can experience a marathon from the perspective of an Olympic champion. And why stop there? Become a dragon and fly through the universe. But it's not only about spectacle. Virtual and augmented reality will impact nearly every aspect of our lives--commerce, medicine, politics--the applications are infinite.

It may sound like science fiction, but this vision of the future drives billions of dollars in business and is a top priority for such companies as Facebook, Google, and Sony. Yet little is known about the history of these technologies. In Defying Reality, David M. Ewalt traces the story from ancient amphitheaters to Cold War military laboratories, through decades of hype and failure, to a nineteen-year-old video game aficionado who made the impossible possible. Ewalt looks at how businesses are already using this tech to revolutionize the world around us, and what we can expect in the future. Writing for a mainstream audience as well as for technology enthusiasts, Ewalt offers a unique perspective on VR. With firsthand accounts and on-the-ground reporting, Defying Reality shows how virtual reality will change our work, our play, and the way we relate to one another.
Democratizing Innovation
Democratizing Innovation
Paperback      ISBN: 0262720477

The process of user-centered innovation: how it can benefit both users and manufacturers and how its emergence will bring changes in business models and in public policy.

Innovation is rapidly becoming democratized. Users, aided by improvements in computer and communications technology, increasingly can develop their own new products and services. These innovating users--both individuals and firms--often freely share their innovations with others, creating user-innovation communities and a rich intellectual commons. In Democratizing Innovation, Eric von Hippel looks closely at this emerging system of user-centered innovation. He explains why and when users find it profitable to develop new products and services for themselves, and why it often pays users to reveal their innovations freely for the use of all.The trend toward democratized innovation can be seen in software and information products--most notably in the free and open-source software movement--but also in physical products. Von Hippel's many examples of user innovation in action range from surgical equipment to surfboards to software security features. He shows that product and service development is concentrated among "lead users," who are ahead on marketplace trends and whose innovations are often commercially attractive.

Von Hippel argues that manufacturers should redesign their innovation processes and that they should systematically seek out innovations developed by users. He points to businesses--the custom semiconductor industry is one example--that have learned to assist user-innovators by providing them with toolkits for developing new products. User innovation has a positive impact on social welfare, and von Hippel proposes that government policies, including R&D subsidies and tax credits, should be realigned to eliminate biases against it. The goal of a democratized user-centered innovation system, says von Hippel, is well worth striving for. An electronic version of this book is available under a Creative Commons license.

The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs
The Department of Mad Scientists
How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs
Paperback      ISBN: 0062000659

From Smithsonian Books, The Department of Mad Scientists is the first trade book ever on DARPA--the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency--the maverick and controversial agency whose futuristic work has had amazing military and civilian application, from the Internet to GPS to driverless cars. Michael Belfiore, author of Rocketeers, visited science research sites across the country to provide this unprecedented look at the people who shape our country's future technology.

Edison
Edison
Hardcover      ISBN: 081299311x
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris comes a revelatory new biography of Thomas Alva Edison, the most prolific genius in American history.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time - Publishers Weekly - Kirkus Reviews

Although Thomas Alva Edison was the most famous American of his time, and remains an international name today, he is mostly remembered only for the gift of universal electric light. His invention of the first practical incandescent lamp 140 years ago so dazzled the world--already reeling from his invention of the phonograph and dozens of other revolutionary devices--that it cast a shadow over his later achievements. In all, this near-deaf genius ("I haven't heard a bird sing since I was twelve years old") patented 1,093 inventions, not including others, such as the X-ray fluoroscope, that he left unlicensed for the benefit of medicine.

One of the achievements of this staggering new biography, the first major life of Edison in more than twenty years, is that it portrays the unknown Edison--the philosopher, the futurist, the chemist, the botanist, the wartime defense adviser, the founder of nearly 250 companies--as fully as it deconstructs the Edison of mythological memory. Edmund Morris, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, brings to the task all the interpretive acuity and literary elegance that distinguished his previous biographies of Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Ludwig van Beethoven. A trained musician, Morris is especially well equipped to recount Edison's fifty-year obsession with recording technology and his pioneering advances in the synchronization of movies and sound. Morris sweeps aside conspiratorial theories positing an enmity between Edison and Nikola Tesla and presents proof of their mutually admiring, if wary, relationship.

Enlightened by seven years of research among the five million pages of original documents preserved in Edison's huge laboratory at West Orange, New Jersey, and privileged access to family papers still held in trust, Morris is also able to bring his subject to life on the page--the adored yet autocratic and often neglectful husband of two wives and father of six children. If the great man who emerges from it is less a sentimental hero than an overwhelming force of nature, driven onward by compulsive creativity, then Edison is at last getting his biographical due.
Edison vs. Tesla: The Battle Over Their Last Invention
Edison vs. Tesla
The Battle Over Their Last Invention
Hardcover      ISBN: 1510718761

Thomas Edison closely following the alternative physics work of Albert Einstein and Max Planck, convincing him that there was an entire reality unseen by the human eye. This led to the last and least-known of all Edison's inventions, the spirit phone. His former associate, now bitter rival, Nikola Tesla, was also developing at the same time a similar mysterious device. Edison vs. Tesla examines their quest to talk to the dead. It reveals:

Edison's little-known near-death experience formed his theory that animate life forms don't die, but rather change the nature of their composition. It is this foundational belief that drove him to proceed with the spirit phone.
Tesla monitored Edison's paranormal work, with both men racing to create a device that picked up the frequencies of discarnate spirits, what today is called EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon).
Both men were way ahead of their time, delving into artificial intelligence and robotics.
Although mystery and lore surround the details of the last decade of Edison's life, many skeptics have denied the existence of the mysterious spirit phone. The authors have researched both Edison's and Tesla's journals, as well as contemporary articles and interviews with the inventors to confirm that tests were actually done with this device. They also have the full cooperation of the Charles Edison fund, affording them access to rare photos and graphics to support their text. Edison vs. Tesla sheds light on this weird invention and demonstrates the rivalry that drove both men to new discoveries.
Elon Musk: Tesla, Spacex, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Elon Musk
Tesla, Spacex, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Paperback      ISBN: 006230125x

In the spirit of Steve Jobs and Moneyball, Elon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley's most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs--a real-life Tony Stark--and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new "makers."

Elon Musk spotlights the technology and vision of Elon Musk, the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, who sold one of his Internet companies, PayPal, for $1.5 billion. Ashlee Vance captures the full spectacle and arc of the genius's life and work, from his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and flight to the United States to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Vance uses Musk's story to explore one of the pressing questions of our age: can the nation of inventors and creators who led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk--one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history--is a contemporary, visionary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.

Thorough and insightful, Elon Musk brings to life a technology industry that is rapidly and dramatically changing by examining the life of one of its most powerful and influential titans.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Elon Musk
Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Hardcover      ISBN: 0062301233

In the spirit of Steve Jobs and Moneyball, Elon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley's most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs--a real-life Tony Stark--and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new "makers."

Elon Musk spotlights the technology and vision of Elon Musk, the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, who sold one of his Internet companies, PayPal, for $1.5 billion. Ashlee Vance captures the full spectacle and arc of the genius's life and work, from his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and flight to the United States to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Vance uses Musk's story to explore one of the pressing questions of our age: can the nation of inventors and creators who led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk--one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history--is a contemporary, visionary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.

Thorough and insightful, Elon Musk brings to life a technology industry that is rapidly and dramatically changing by examining the life of one of its most powerful and influential titans.