• Tell The Truth But Tell It Slant: There Are Still Major Worker Issues In China, Just Not Where Daisey Looked

    Tell The Truth But Tell It Slant: There Are Still Major Worker Issues In China, Just Not Where Daisey Looked

    In the hullabaloo over Mike Daisey lying about meeting injured workers, the spotlight turned from actual employment problems in Asia onto the face of the orotund and penitent former colonialist. Now that the news cycle has passed, we’re no longer interested in the topic of Chinese manufacturing and, judging by the positive response to my April Fools’ post on Sunday, the world… Read More

  • iNdustrial Revolutions

    iNdustrial Revolutions

    To paraphrase Otto von Bismarck, “iPads are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” It’s an ugly story. Over a hundred employees “injured by n-hexane, a toxic chemical that can cause nerve damage and paralysis” because its use “meant workers could clean more screens each minute.” Other workers killed or injured by explosions. All so… Read More

  • The Future Of Foxconn: Ten Thousand Horses Galloping

    The Future Of Foxconn: Ten Thousand Horses Galloping

    Shenzhen is a town of migrants. The estimated median ages is between 15 and 25 and the old and battered sits in wild contrast with the brand new. Even in the few years between my last visit and this one, the city has changed so drastically that I barely recognized it. The last time I was here I imagined the place as a cross between a favela and Blade Runner, high and low tech mashed together… Read More

  • Foxconn Planning To Hire 1 Million Robots

    Foxconn Planning To Hire 1 Million Robots

    Foxconn is planning on replacing many of it’s hard-working human manufacturers with about 1 million robots, a number that, if you think about it, is a very telling comment on the current state of electronics manufacturing. There are apparently 10,000 robots at the factory now and that number will increase by 300,000 next year. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou plans another million robots by 2014. Read More

  • Be Your Own Souvenir Lets You 3D Scan Yourself And Take Home A Figurine

    Be Your Own Souvenir! from blablabLAB on Vimeo. This odd system uses a Kinect head and some homebrew software to 3D scan you in real time and then print out a micro-figurine. It seems to take a little bit of time – that’s not clear from the video – and the whole system isn’t quite ready for prime-time yet. Read More

  • Alibaba And The Curse Of Chinese Manufacturing

    A fairly unnoticed story percolated through the interwebs this weekend about Alibaba’s CEO and hundreds of employees being implicated in what amounts to a payola scandal. Alibaba is a site that allows you to buy the worst junk imaginable. They represent over 500,000 factories in China. It is a sourcing site full of fake laptops, poorly made clothing, and potentially life-threatening… Read More

  • Inside the Foxconn "Prison"

    I present to you, friends, unadulterated, the horrors witnessed by French journalist Jordan Pouille and recorded in his video, “Inside the Foxconn Prison,” are truly manifold. In what will soon be the The Jungle of its day, Pouille’s video of Chinese factory workers living their oppressed lives while shopping for food, listening to pop music, and meeting for lunch reminds us… Read More

  • Inside Foxconn's Factories

    Our good buddy Joel Johnson went inside Foxconn’s 540,000 employee factory in Shenzhen. There are 950,000+ employees in China alone. To put that into perspective, Columbus, Ohio, my hometown, is home to 711,470 people. Read More

  • Inside Foxconn And The Man Who Made Your iPhone

    It’s not every day you get to look inside a major electronics factory. Most of the work done there is compartmentalized and the manufacturing done for one company never touches the manufacturing done for another. In fact, Foxconn’s R&D labs consist of a series of locked doors. You can only get into one and that’s only if you’re allowed in to see prototypes. Read More

  • Ponoko Teams Up With SparkFun To Help You Make Stuff

    Ponoko, a company that helps people make stuff on a small scale, has teamed up with SparkFun Electronics – another company that helps you do the same thing. The reason? Well, Ponoko makes the physical enclosures, and SparkFun makes the electronics. This enables people who want to make stuff order all the parts from one source, rather then multiple sources on the internet. Read More

  • Don't cry for the workers at Foxconn

    I’ve been interested in gadget manufacturing for a while now and, as I reported a few months ago, things are pretty bad but they’ve been worse. Now, however, we’re seeing clusters of suicides at Foxconn as well as an undercover “report” from Foxconn’s “Hell Factory.” I’m calling bull. First, consider that Foxconn has 400,000 employees… Read More