Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Cogswell Announces the Appointment of Dr. Zachi Baharav to Lead Engineering Program

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Dr. Zachi Baharav joined the Cogswell College faculty on August 1 as Director of Engineering, Director of the Master’s program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Executive Director of the Cogswell Idea & Innovation Lab. Dr. Baharav is a Silicon Valley innovator who brings a rich background in research and applied engineering, most recently with Corning West Technology Center.

Dr. Baharav envisions an engineering department that brings the artistic flavor of Cogswell to tangible products, drawing on the cultural strength of Cogswell’s animation, game and audio programs. A Silicon Valley resident for 14 years, Dr. Baharav plans to use his familiarity with local industry to engage engineering students with real-life applications by collaborating with local Silicon Valley groups. These relationships will also contribute immensely to the Masters in Innovation & Entrepreneurship program. A focal point for combining all this will be the Idea and Innovation Lab, where undergraduates from all of Cogswell’s degree programs benefit from the skill, talent and creativity of each other as they build their ventures or work on corporate projects.

“Engineering is the process of bringing science into practical applications. It is the perfect tool to bring various abstract artistic ideas to fruition and make them work,” says Dr. Baharav. “It’s important to give undergraduates the chance to solve specific problems and bring things to completion. We are focusing on making things practical and relevant, without sacrificing the theoretical base. One of Cogswell’s advantages is that it is small and nimble—allowing its students greater flexibility to engage collaboratively with other departments—while being set in the incredibly creative environment of Silicon Valley.”

According to Dr. Baharav, art and engineering are highly complementary disciplines. “We have moved from functional-centered products to design-centered products,” says Dr. Baharav, “In the past, engineers determined the functionality of the product, which in turn drove the design. These days, the designers determine the look and feel of a product, and engineers need to make it work. As we move forward, people are looking for personalized devices. Artistic, personal expression in your own device is coming, be it in the external design or in the content you watch – and this is exactly the intersection of Art and Engineering.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Baharav’s high-profile Silicon Valley background and engineering expertise to Cogswell,” says Dr. Deborah Snyder, provost and chief academic officer at Cogswell. “The energy and creativity he brings to the engineering program will incorporate the world of mobile, consumer electronics and big data visualization into our curriculum. Also under Dr. Baharav’s guidance, graduate students will work on their own innovations and ideas and create their own business plans before taking their product to market.”

Dr. Baharav holds more than 30 patents in diverse areas ranging from printing to millimeter wave imaging, from digital cameras to touch sensing, and others. Many of those were used in products. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society. He previously worked at HP/Agilent and Synaptics.

How Social Media Levels the Playing Field in the Film Industry

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Image from Under The Milky Way,

Social Media has definitely changed the way we do business. Gone are the days when advertisers tell the public what it wants. Maybe it was bound to happen anyway but social media has hastened the transition that puts the public in the driver’s seat.

The film industry has felt the impact now that anyone with a video camera or cell phone can create a film and get it viewed across multiple public platforms. Some of these films have gained traction around specific causes or issues.

HootSuite put together an interesting look at how film companies have learned to use the power of social media to promote their films and engage their audiences.

A Look Inside the Mind of an Entrepreneur

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Ever wonder what makes an Entrepreneur tick? The Kauffman Foundation sponsored a series of  studies of 529 company founders to find answers to the question. The study delved into the founders’ motivations, socio-economic background, education and family history.

A few of the findings include:

  • More than 90 percent of the entrepreneurs came from middle-class or upper-lower-class backgrounds and were well-educated: 95.1 percent of those surveyed had earned bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent had more advanced degrees.
  • Only 11 percent of the first-time entrepreneurs received venture capital, and 9 percent received private/angel financing. Of the overall sample, 68 percent considered availability of financing/capital as important. Of the entrepreneurs who had raised venture capital for their most recent businesses, 96 percent considered financing important.
  • In identifying barriers to entrepreneurial success, the most commonly named factor – by 98 percent of respondents – was lack of willingness or ability to take risks. Other barriers cited by respondents were the time and effort required (93 percent), difficulty raising capital (91 percent), business management skills (89 percent), knowledge about how to start a business (84 percent), industry and market knowledge (83 percent), and family/financial pressures to keep a traditional, steady job (73 percent).

To read the full reports, visit the Kauffman website.

Where Did ET Go?

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Following the popular Steven Spielberg movie, “ET,” Atari made a video game about the adventures of the lost, little alien. According to this report in, it was among the worst video games ever and Atari purportedly buried its mistake in the New Mexico dessert.

Now a Canadian video game company, Fuel Entertainment, is attempting to locate it and dig it up. Watch this short video of the Marketplace report and a short gameplay video of the original Atari game.

Do you agree that the ET video game is one of the worst ever made?

Gamespot Reveals its Top Video Game Picks From E3 2013

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Now that the show is over, Gamespot staff put together their list of the 12 best-of-show games. The list includes Battlefield 4, Mario Kart 8, Forza Motorsport 5 and Watch Dogs.

Check out their reviews and let us know if you agree with their choices? Did your favorite make the list?

How the Animation Industry is Becoming More Nimble

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Form 1 3D Printer

Most of you have probably heard about the challenges animation studios and VFX houses have faced in recent years. Costs have spiraled yet the demand for ever-increasing levels of realism have escalated.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and this article in Digital Arts online explores a few of the options that studios have implemented to increase profitability.

Solutions discussed include using more sophisticated software that allows companies to work with smaller budgets, taking a DIY approach to in-house green screen production to augment VFX shots, crossover between 2D and 3D workflow pipelines, 3D printing to create models and using 3D scanning technology.

What other changes do you see happening in the animation industry?

Is Innovation Inherently Good or Bad?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Is Innovation Inherently Good or Bad?

We all love innovation, don’t we?

Innovation brought us the light bulb, the Ford Model T and the polio vaccine.

Innovation in search technology allowed Google to dominate search, to make billions and it even resulted in a new verb “to Google”.

Innovation in product design and marketing allowed Apple to rise up from the position of also ran to become a dominant player in computing, digital media players, online music and even to validate a new category (despite the skeptics), the tablet computer.

But there’s another kind of innovation.

Monsanto’s gene mutations are controversial examples of innovation in the agricultural industry.

The atomic bomb is an example of one the most powerful and scary innovations in weapons and warfare.

Innovations in terrorist organizations can have devastating results.

At a recent Silicon Valley Innovation Institute event (“Innovation Feng Shui”) held here at Cogswell College, the good, bad and ugly of innovation was discussed.

The attendees, SVII Founder Howard Lieberman and a panel of innovation specialists all participated as equals in this discussion that was run in a unique way. There was no podium, panelist table or slide presentation. Each participant grabbed a chair and picked a spot in a hexagon taped on the floor.

Everyone gathered around the two lamps situated in the center. The free form discussion that resulted was a great opportunity to learn and to exchange ideas on the topic of innovation. Some key takeaways follow:

Can cities innovate?

Per one of the panel members, every municipality has innovation in their mission statements. Is there a gap between desire and actual innovation? What is innovation for cities?

Singapore, the city-state, was highlighted as a key example of civic innovation.

Cities in China competing for awards as the top technical city, the city with best transportation and other similar awards were called out as other examples of ways that cities can innovate.

Closer to home in San Jose, a recent participatory budget modeling exercise, was called out as an innovative way to get community involvement in the tricky city budgeting process.

I would argue that cities and towns can innovate. The fact is, most probably want to be, but aren’t (to the point of the original comment).

The consequences of innovation

We may not always realize the unintended consequences of innovation. The smart phone is an amazing innovation but we certainly talk to each other a lot less in person.

In the retail industry, is a big box store the dark side of innovation?

  • Big box stores increase their buying power and lead to cheaper products and more convenience for the consumer.
  • The downsides: they drive what we are able to buy and they drive smaller businesses out of business.

Innovations in the industrialization of food industry have resulted in chickens becoming production machines. Under these circumstances, they need hormones and antibiotics to combat disease.

McDonalds can be called innovation in food. If you’ve seen Super Size Me, you know that it can kill you.

Is our innovation stuck in “D” for “Dumb”?

The development bags that can change color – is that innovation?

Was “pink slime” an innovation?

Where’s innovation where we need it?

Things that need innovation don’t get enough because the economic incentives are low. Areas like drought and the food supply.

Branding innovation can be applied to anything

Nuclear energy is now called passive energy.

Has the nature of innovation changed?

Innovation in past was lonely, guy or two in the garage. These days, collaboration (often across the world) is leading to many of the newer innovations.

Change is neither Good nor Bad

At the end of the day, innovation is neither a positive nor a negative thing. It’s a major change, shift or improvement in a process, product or service.

Stainless steel can be made into a scimitar or a scalpel.

Innovation may be amoral, but we need to be aware of the consequences that can result from it.

About the author: Tom Treanor is an adjunct professor for Cogswell’s Entrepreneurship Master’s Program and consults on and teaches social media and SEO in the Bay Area for Right Mix Marketing Inc.

Audio Speakers Move from Old School to New School

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

If you thought a speaker was just a speaker – then you’re probably not a Cogswell College Digital Audio Technology student – and you should take a look at this article in Sound and Visioning for a review of what’s on tap for 2013.

The models reviewed include Magico’s S1, Jamo’s S25, GoldenEar Technology’s Triton Seven and Polk Audio’s TSX.

Granted you won’t find these pricey works of art (costs for the models reviewed range from a low of $599 to a high of $12,600) at your local discount store – but one can always dream about how they would look in your living room.

If money were not an issue, which speakers would you purchase?

Is the Videogame Console Obsolete?

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Is your mobile device your constant companion? If you are like most people, your answer is yes so it’s no wonder that those of us who enjoy videogames turn to our smart phone or tablet for entertainment.

Not only is it always by your side but you can access both big-name titles or small, independent titles with a just a few clicks.

According to this article in Venture Beat, the companies making games for consoles are hurrying along their own demise by churning out a long string of ‘been there, done that’ games and charging budget-busting prices for the privilege.

The article explores how mobile and console will change as they compete for attention, what will happen to the console developers and what to be aware of as mobile gaming continues to grow.

Are you going to miss your console games?

Find Inspiration on Pinterest

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Now that everyone is settling in to the first week of the summer term, we thought you might find yourself looking for some inspiration for one of your projects some time during the term. In case you aren’t familiar Pinterest, we’d like to introduce you to Cogswell’s page.

Pinterest is billed as a photo sharing site – but it is so much more. You can share videos and blog posts along with artwork and photos. We have created a number of ‘photo albums’ called boards on Pinterest to give visitors an idea about what life at Cogswell is like plus one board of student artwork. We have also create a board called “Cool Things We Like” as a gathering place for images we think you will find interesting.

Check it out and let us what you liked best!