Insights: NYC Creative Morning with Carla Diana

Insights: NYC Creative Morning with Carla Diana

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Highlights from Sub Rosa Producer Laurel Smyth’s attendance at CreativeMornings‘ “Embracing a Robotic Future” with Carla Diana.

Creative Mornings is “a breakfast lecture series for the creative community.” The lectures follow a different theme every month and maintain chapters all over the world.

Carla Diana

Carla Diana

Carla Diana is a designer-artist who explores the impact of future technologies through hands-on experiments in product design and tangible interaction. She has designed a range of products from robots to connected home appliances and is a Fellow at the innovation firm Smart Design and a Lecturer in Smart Objects at the University of Pennsylvania.


Carla Diana shares projects throughout her career as a mechanical engineer, and more recently as a "maker futurist."

Overall, the morning included great insights on social robotics and interactive design – especially relevant for Sub Rosa’s work with GE.

Carla showed a clip from her project, Lickestra, which was entertaining. She embedded capacitive sensors in 3D printed ice cream cones perched atop pedestal-like boxes. When a tongue made contact with the (real) ice cream, a signal was sent to a hidden Arduino, assigned a sound by onboard software, which was then played out through speakers.

Lickestra is a musical licking performance at the intersection of food design and smart objects developed in collaboration with smart object designer Carla Diana and composer Arone Dyer of Buke&Gase.


It's appreciable to see new uses for technologies we've used in previous executions (Arduino for Target at Hello Kitty Con, 3D printing at GE's Garages, and audio integration in more activations than I can count).

Carla also spoke about her recent project, LEO the Maker Prince – the world’s first combination book and open-source design collection aimed at introducing the world of 3D printing to kids.

“I’d love to explore incorporating 3D printing in activations where children and families are the primary attendees. It’s been so well received in the variations we’ve launched to-date; I’m excited to continue working with it in original ways.” – Laurel Smyth, Producer

Her article, Talking, Walking Objects, which appeared on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Review in 2013, is a good representation of her POV on our robotic future.

In it, she discusses robots, Simon and CURI, which are incredible.

"Simon, a research effort and not meant to be sold, is part of a growing collection of social robots that can essentially see, hear, feel and react through humanlike sound and movement." Carla Diana for the NYTimes

The recent short internet documentary "Humans Need Not Apply" also came up during the Q&A,

referencing a related conversation about the future of the integration of automation in economics and the global workforce.

Want more? You can watch the complete CreativeMornings talk here: