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Buried in the account of the accomplished month, which was absolutely a active one, was a columnist absolution headlined: “Geomagic Acquires Sensable 3D Architecture and Haptics Businesses.” As far as I can tell, no media outlets besides Xconomy best up on this accord or its historical—and now, political—significance. Woe is them.
That’s because “Sensable” would be SensAble Technologies, the Woburn, MA-based maker of touch-based computer clay and architecture systems. The admirable New England close started aback in 1993 and went on to avant-garde all sorts of applications in 3-D clay and haptics technology—a acreage of human-computer interfaces that involves blow feedback, array of like the affectionate you feel in avant-garde video-game controllers and smartphones.
After about 20 years, SensAble’s accretion by North Carolina-based Geomagic—the amount wasn’t disclosed, but was accounted to be aloof a few actor dollars—is an hasty catastrophe to one of the best arresting companies of its era. [Disclosure: Xconomy CEO and Editor-in-chief Bob Buderi was an aboriginal broker in SensAble.]
Yet alike added acute than the aggregation is its founder, a adolescent engineering adept from MIT alleged Thomas Massie. Over the years, that adept kid developed abounding added passions besides architecture computer interfaces and active a tech company. Things like activity independence. The following of alone liberty. Faith and family. And guns—lots of guns.
After abrogation SensAble in 2003 (read on for what he says about that), Massie confused aback to the heartland of his home accompaniment of Kentucky and spent a few years active a acreage and architecture a solar-powered, off-the-grid abode for his family. Again he got into politics. In 2010, he ran for the appointment of Judge-Executive of his rural county, and won in a landslide.
Now, in a beauteous move to those who knew him in Boston, he is active for Congress in one of the best acrimonious contest about the country. He has been accustomed by U.S. Representative and presidential applicant Ron Paul (R-TX) and his son, Senator Rand Paul—both arresting abstracts in the bourgeois Tea Party movement. The Republican primary in Kentucky is abutting Tuesday, May 22, and as of aftermost anniversary acclamation showed Massie in the lead. Since the canton is predominantly Republican, if he wins, he will be the presumptive admired to represent Kentucky’s 4th District in the U.S. Abode of Representatives.
That’s right, the boy-wonder ability from MIT—the architect of SensAble, a avant-garde of haptics—is now a political hero of the Tea Party. And he wants to ameliorate our government. An absurd story? You be the judge.
Diversity Was a Catholic
Thomas Massie grew up in northeastern Kentucky, in a baby boondocks alleged Vanceburg, on the Ohio River. From a adolescent age, he was absorbed in demography afar radios and exhaustion cleaners, alarming things up with gunpowder, and architecture automated contraptions—everything from a self-watering flowerpot to a apprentice arm. He entered abundant science fairs and competitions from brand academy through aerial academy and generally won, admitting not accepting abundant in the way of resources. That afflicted back he got to MIT as a apprentice in 1989 and was amidst by world-class accessories (and adolescent geeks).
“He was apparently the aboriginal actuality from his ZIP cipher that anytime went to MIT,” says Bill Aulet, a accepted MIT adroitness affiliate who helped advance SensAble Technologies as its admiral from 1996 to 2002. “He would say, ‘Diversity area I came from was a Catholic’—a Catholic, singular.”
As an undergrad, Massie formed in roboticist Kenneth Salisbury’s lab in the old Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. (Salisbury would move to Stanford University in 1999.) One of their after projects was to body a accessory that would simulate actuality able to blow and dispense altar in the basic apple with your hand. It consisted of a computer-connected apprentice arm with a thimble on the end that you could stick your feel into; back you confused your finger, the computer sensed your absolute motions through the movements of the apprentice arm, and again provided force acknowledgment through the accoutrement to simulate the feel of an article on the awning (a button, say). Massie congenital aboriginal versions … Abutting Page »
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