News Volume I Issue 16
Living in Digital Times
Toys, Wellville and Cybergym
The Harbinger of Holiday Toys
This week I stopped in at Sweet Suite, an imaginative showcase of play for families and their kids. If instinct serves me, this is not going to be an especially high tech holiday. Lots of slime, bath balls, and inexpensive plushies underscore the fact that the toy industry is still a bit queasy about the price points of high tech toys. But there were a few notables on the scene.

3D Doodler scored ingenious points for turning their simple plastic-oozing 3D pen into a much larger palette for young makers. New at the show was a 3D printing kit for printing Hexbugs. And if you thought Hexbugs were just cockroach-looking creatures, they've also turned bugs into game play. There's a new Hexbug robotic soccer game that's a tabletop play experience.

Thames and Kosmos introduced Sensors Alive, a gamified physics lab, where kids play the role of scientists who take readings from various sensors that help them create bio-engineereed creatures they'll need to keep alive. Puzzle making gets lit by Cra.Z.Art, which embeds LEDs in traditional puzzles made from Kodak quality photos. K'Nex combines their Bionic Blast Roller Coaster Building Set with with a cardboard VR viewer. Sick! You get to ride the roller coaster you build in VR. The ride 'em scene was dominated by Scout from The battery operated ride's built in sensors also respond to brushing, feeding and yes... dancing.
Yikes! Esther Dyson is Out to Change the Small Town Health Landscape
This week we also stopped by's series “What's Up NY” to listen to industry icon, Esther Dyson. Dyson is known for her uncanny early investments in startups like Flickr and MeetUp, her ability to see things ahead of the curve (ask her about Eastern Europe's early coding days) and her legendary influence at ICANN, the home of Internet domain naming. She's a board member at 23andMe, and been involved with missions to space. At ReInvent, she focused on how to healthify American towns. Wellville, her 6-year old venture, looks to apply the same accelerators used at tech startups to reboot small town America, helping them change bad behaviors (binge eating, opioids, drinking and smoking to name a few) and usher in newfound prosperity.

As I listened to her, I kept having that sinking “not going to break this cycle” feeling. Providing a low income single single mom who's working two jobs, the chance to attend a parenting class or creating groups for those suffering from mental health issues feels like putting pressure on the wrong point. I kept thinking that if I were in Dyson's position, I'd use my years of tech-wealthy connections to pressure them into tithing a bit of cash into creating economic opportunities. One phrase stuck with me as Dyson discussed the short and long tail of healthy cities. “Insecurity makes you think short term.” Agreed, but we've trained a nation of investors to think in the shortest terms of all. Long term thinking, often squandered, is a privilege of wealth. Watch Dyson's talk here.
CyberSecurity As Gladiator Sport
In the “as if you weren't uneasy enough category,” you'll get your workout at one of these, but forget the abs. The newly opened Cybergym takes a decidedly gladiator-type approach to teaching companies to think like hackers and train through hacking emulation. Cybergym's hacker warfare training was born in Israel, arguably one of the most hacker-proof countries in the world. Now in Lithuania and Australia, it's only fitting that New York, home to finance and banking, should be Cybergym's next location. If only they'd work retroactively and give the beleaguered Mueller Investigation a hand?
Notes from Friends
Media Excellence Awards
It's The Media Excellence Awards (MEA) 11th Annual Awards season, honoring innovation and leadership in all things mobile entertainment, from content to distribution and beyond. Living in Digital Times subscribers can get a 15% discount on submission fees.

Contact Julie Sylvester for details
Young Innovators to Watch
In partnership with our Young Innovators to Watch program, we've partnered with the New England Venture Summit(December 12, 2018, Randolph, MA.) . The Summit hosts 600 VCs, angel investors, investment bankers and CEOs of venture backed, emerging and early stage companies. Join us and receive an additional 10% off the early bird rates (which are 50% reduced) using the code LIDTVIP and the event site link
January 8-11, 2019
CES 2019, Las Vegas
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Robin Raskin