Wayne Losey, chief creative at Modio, a toy startup that lets kids design and customize their own toys, is standing under a tent, next to a sprawling collection of toy parts on a large circular table. A gaggle of kids are assembling the parts in novel ways, showing their new creations to their parents.
A half a block away looms a corporate office building occupied by toy giant Hasbro. It’s also surrounded by kids, and parents, and makers: 3D printing personalized toys, flying drones, and checking out a geodesic dome.
We must be in Rhode Island, where a history of manufacturing overlaps with a culture of innovation and tinkering. We must be at Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire.
“It feels like a celebration of the pursuit of curiousity,” Wayne Losey says. “You got all these people, you’ve got Hasbro — Providence has always been a making town.”
Around 50 exhibitors joined Losey at this year’s version of the Faire, held last weekend in three locations in downtown Providence. Although the day started off rainy and windy, it ended up beautiful. There were 3D printers aplenty, of course, but also LED sculptures, pinball machines, robots, sculptures, and more robots.
Co-organizer Shawn Wallace said that the most remarkable thing about this year’s edition was how many repeat exhibitors were showing improved models of projects they had shown in previous years.
“So many things were more and more better,” Wallace said.
To co-organizer Brian Jepson the Faire was, “an awesome salute to Rhode Island’s innovation heritage.”
Jepson is referring, of course, to Rhode Island’s distinction as the place where the American Industrial Revolution began, when Samuel Slater snuck out of Great Britain in disguise in 1789. He needed the disguise because you weren’t allowed to leave there if you knew how to spark an industrial revolution. He arrived in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and made machines.
Rhode Island was also where sewing machine inventor George Henry Corliss came in 1844. He turned his talents to improvements in steam engine technology, and made a steam engine so efficient that European manufacturers produced knockoffs, even affixing Corliss’ name to their counterfeits.
Visitors to this year’s Faire had 50 reasons to believe that RI’s invention heritage continues. Check out the photo gallery for a representative sample.
<p><em>From the editors of MAKE, the Maker Pro Newsletter is about the impact of makers on business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends.</em> <em>Please send items to us at </em><a href="mailto:[email protected]"><em>[email protected]</em></a>.</p>
<p><strong>Are you a Maker Pro? We’re compiling a list of Maker Pro Twitter handles, so please </strong><strong><a href="mailto:[email protected]?Subject=Maker%20Pro%20Twitter%20handle">send us yours</a>. </strong>Subscribe to the Maker Pro Twitter list <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-i/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p>
<h2>Foxconn Courts Startups</h2>
<div id="attachment_394488"><img alt="foxconn" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/foxconn.png?w=620&h=201">
<p><em>From the front page of Kick2real's website.</em></p>
<p>This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who followed Foxconn’s recent sponsorship of Maker Faire Shenzhen, but the giant Chinese manufacturer, which makes many Apple products, has just rolled out a beta version of an online platform, <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-d/" target="_blank">Kick2real</a>, that is a welcome mat for smaller startups.</p>
<p>According to the <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-h/" target="_blank">Wall Street Journal</a>, Foxconn intends to use the site to help promising global entrepreneurs create prototypes at no cost. Once an entrepreneur registers and submits a project online, Kick2real’s team of manufacturing specialists will examine the project ideas and allow other registered members to give opinions. Foxconn will then select the projects and help those startups manufacture their product.</p>
<h2>Proto Labs Gets into 3D Printing</h2>
<div id="attachment_394260"><img alt="fineline2" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/fineline2.jpg?w=580&h=348">
<p><em>FineLine Prototyping’s additive 3D printing technologies can use computer-controlled lasers to sinter specialized resins and powders into solid, very tiny, forms.</em></p>
<p>Proto Labs, best known for injection molding and CNC machining, is adding 3D printing to its offerings. The company just bought <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-k/" target="_blank">FineLine Prototyping</a> in North Carolina, which will give Proto Labs sophisticated additive manufacturing capabilities such as stereolithography, selective laser sintering, and direct metal laser sintering.</p>
<p><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-u/" target="_blank"><img alt="MakerCon_Ad_500x150-Tickets" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/makercon_ad_500x150-tickets1.gif?w=500&h=150"></a></p>
<h2>Shapeways Goes for Gold</h2>
<div id="attachment_394825"><img alt="gold-top-wasp" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/gold-top-wasp.jpg?w=620&h=465">
<p><em>A gold wasp, now possible on Shapeways.</em></p>
<p>Shapeways has entered the <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-o/" target="_blank">golden age</a>.</p>
<p>The 3D printing service bureau said that its new 14k gold models are created using a combination of 3D printing and traditional <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-b/" target="_blank">lost wax casting</a>.</p>
<p>It’s the same process that Shapeways uses to make all of its metal products, except stainless steel.</p>
<p>Price: expensive. Details: <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-n/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p>
<h2>Highway1′s Next Class Open for Applications</h2>
<p><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-p/" target="_blank">Highway1</a>, the San Francisco-based incubator for hardware startups run by hardware services provider <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-x/" target="_blank">PCH</a>, announced today that its Fall 2014 program is now open for applications, which will be accepted until June 20, 2014.</p>
<p><img alt="highway1" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/highway1.png?w=620&h=295"></p>
<p>PCH said that this year Highway1 startups will receive $50,000 in seed money, an increase from the previous investment of $20,000. In return for the investment and the program, Highway1 takes an early equity stake in the startups that ranges from 3 to 6 percent.</p>
<p>Highway1 also announced that it is moving from its current location in the Mission District of San Francisco, to Potrero Hill, to accommodate more people, as the incubator is hoping to bring more hardware teams on board.</p>
<p>Highway1’s Fall 2014 program, its third hardware incubator batch to date, will accept up to 15 startups into its 4-month educational program, which includes a two-week trip to China.</p>
<p>“What we’re really looking for are next-generation hardware companies that view their product as ‘software in a box,’” says <strong>Brady Forrest </strong>(<a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-m/" target="_blank">@brady</a>), Highway1 VP.</p>
<h2>Facebook Buys into Fitness Trackers</h2>
<div><img alt="moves-detail" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/moves-detail.jpg?w=533&h=514">
<p>Detail from a Moves screen.</p>
<p>Fitness trackers are about to get more social.</p>
<p>Facebook has <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-f/" target="_blank">acquired</a> a Helsinki-based company that offers a fitness-tracking smartphone app called <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-z/" target="_blank">Moves</a>.</p>
<p><em>Wired</em> reports that Facebook’s head of mobile has already tipped his hand on what the company’s thinking.</p>
<p>“Wearables really come to life when you use them to connect to other people, not just collect data,” he told attendees at a NY tech event last fall.</p>
<h2>Two Maker Pro Adventures: MakieLabs & Circuit Stickers</h2>
<p><img alt="makies3" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/makies3.png?w=620&h=484"></p>
<p>* The journey of MakieLabs founder and CEO <strong>Alice Taylor </strong>(<a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-v/" target="_blank">@wonderlandblog</a>) is chronicled in a <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-e/" target="_blank">profile</a> in the Line/Shape/Space blog.</p>
<p><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-s/" target="_blank">Makies</a>, fully customizable dolls designed by customers and then 3D printed to order, are having a banner year. The dolls, made in the U.K., are currently on sale at Selfridges in London, and last year earned a spot on the high-end department store’s Top 10 Toys list.</p>
<p><strong><em>Note:</em></strong> Catch Alice Taylor speaking at MakerCon on May 14 with <strong>Wayne Losey</strong>(<a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-g/">@kidmechano</a>) of Modio, in a talk titled <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-w/">"Toys and Making: Toymakers Talk!"</a></p>
<p>* The first shipment of <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-yd/" target="_blank">Circuit Stickers</a> left the factory last week, right on time, which inspired co-creator <strong>Bunnie Huang</strong> (<a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-yh/" target="_blank">@bunniestudios</a>) <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-yk/" target="_blank">to reflect</a> on what it took for him and <strong>Jie Qi</strong> to successfully navigate the manufacturing process.</p>
<p><strong><em>Note:</em></strong> You can take Bunnie Huang's workshop, <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-yu/">"Advanced Manufacturing: Partnering to Get it Made"</a> at MakerCon on May 13.</p>
<div><img alt="circuit-stickers" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/circuit-stickers.jpg?w=620&h=325">
<p>The Circuit Stickers Startup Kit.</p>
<h2>Tindie raises funding, completes “hard reset.”</h2>
<p>Tindie, the artisanal electronics marketplace, has been remodeling. Founder <strong>Emile Petrone</strong> (<a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-jl/" target="_blank">@tindie</a>) reports that he’s pretty happy with it now.</p>
<p>“We’ve passed 10k orders, 2k products, and have shipped to 71 countries,” he reports. The young company has also closed a seed round, raising $1.2m from investors Andreessen Horowitz, Version One Ventures, Founders Coop, and others.</p>
<p><strong><em>Note:</em></strong> Hear the lessons from over 400 makers that went pro, in Emile Petrone's May 14 MakerCon session, <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-jr/">"Lessons of Over 400 Makers that Went Pro."</a></p>
<div><img alt="tindie" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/tindie.png?w=620&h=247">
<p>Most popular at Tindie this week.</p>
<p>Venture Beat is offering a <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-jy/" target="_blank">look inside a venture capitalist’s “pipeline</a>."</p>
<p>Some Internet of Things products, like Nest and Fitbit, are tapping into a new revenue stream, <em>Forbes</em> <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-jj/" target="_blank">reports</a>: they are selling the data they are collecting.</p>
<p>Here’s an unintended consequence of IoT: economic theorist <strong>Jeremy Rifkin</strong> (<a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-jt/" target="_blank">@JeremyRifkin</a>) believes that it could also play a role in the <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-ji/" target="_blank">fall of capitalism</a>.</p>
<p>Don’t extrapolate from stories about Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Read <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-jd/" target="_blank">what it really takes to be an entrepreneur</a>.</p>
<p>Apprenticeships are great training vehicles. Unfortunately, they are <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-jh/" target="_blank">in decline</a>. The<em>Wall Street Journal </em>reports that they suffer from "a blue collar image," and an association with construction and unions. South Carolina and Wisconsin are trying to buck the trend. </p>
<p>Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Disney Research have figured out a way to 3D print <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-jk/" target="_blank">soft teddy bears</a>.</p>
<p><img alt="Project_TeddyBear1" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/project_teddybear1.jpg?w=620&h=217"></p>
<h2>Maker Pro Tweets of the Week</h2>
<p>Subscribe to the Maker Pro Twitter list <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-ju/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p>
Who's liable if I break my ankle in a 3D printed shoe I got on etsy while stepping out of an Uber at an Airbnb location?
<h2>Maker Faire Bay Area</h2>
<p>The 9th annual <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-tj/" target="_blank">Maker Faire Bay Area</a>, our “home game” that started it all, is taking place May 17 and 18 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds.</p>
<p>Hey, Maker Pros — MAKE is hosting its first <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-tt/" target="_blank">MakerCon</a>, May 13–14, the week of Maker Faire Bay Area. Connecting makers is essential to continuing the proliferation of new ideas, products, devices and solutions. At their very nature, makers are collaborative and community-minded. The premiere MakerCon brings together the leaders at the forefront of the maker movement. Providing new insights into local and global manufacturing, design, marketing and distribution, even creative culture, MakerCon explores the impact of making on education, business and community. Working on something new? Consider applying for the<a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-ti/" target="_blank"> Innovation Showcase</a>.</p>
<p>Featured speakers include:</p>
<li><strong>Massimo Banzi </strong>– co-founder, Arduino</li>
<li><strong>Peter Hirshberg</strong> – CEO The Re:imagine Group</li>
<li><strong>Michael McCool</strong> – principal engineer, Intel</li>
<li><strong>Yancey Strickler</strong> – co-founder and CEO, Kickstarter</li>
<li><strong>Taylor Dawson</strong> – product manger – FirstBuild, General Electric</li>
<li><strong>Scott Miller</strong> – co-founder and CEO, Dragon Innovation</li>
<li><strong>Carl Bass</strong> – president and CEO, Autodesk</li>
<li><strong>Alice Taylor</strong> – CEO, MakieLab</li>
<li><strong>Eric Pan </strong>– founder and CEO, Seeed Studio</li>
<li><strong>Lisa Fetterman</strong> – co-founder and CEO, Nomiku</li>
<li><strong>Bunnie Huang</strong> – founder, Chumby</li>
<li><strong>Katherine Hague</strong> – co-founder and CEO, ShopLocket</li>
<li><strong>Kevin Kelly </strong>– founding executive editor of Wired, founder of Cool Tools</li>
<p>Check out <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-td/" target="_blank">MakerCon.com</a> for a complete agenda with detailed session descriptions by track. Register today — a few workshop slots still available!</p>
<h2>Upcoming Maker Faires</h2>
<p>Here’s what’s coming in the next two weeks:</p>
<li><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-th/" target="_blank">Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire</a> (IL): May 3, 2014</li>
<li><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-tk/" target="_blank">Austin Mini Maker Faire</a> (TX): May 3, 2014</li>
<li><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-tu/" target="_blank">Martinsville Mini Maker Faire</a> (VA): May 3, 2014</li>
<li><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-il/" target="_blank">Denver Mini Maker Faire</a> (CO): May 3 & 4, 2014</li>
<li><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-ir/" target="_blank">Aarhus Mini Maker Faire</a> (Denmark): May 9 & 10, 2014</li>
<li><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-iy/" target="_blank">Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire</a> (MI): May 10, 2014</li>
<li><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-ij/">San Luis Obispo Mini Maker Faire</a> (CA): May 10, 2014</li>
<p>What’s ahead further down the road? Check the <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-it/" target="_blank">Maker Faire Map</a> to find the closest one to you.</p>
<h2>Rob|Arch 2014 Conference, May 14-18, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan</h2>
<p><img alt="robarch" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/robarch-e1398366664288.jpg?w=620&h=226"></p>
<p>This conference will bring together an international cohort of artists, designers, fabricators, and industry leaders for the purposes of advancing the discourse surrounding experimental robotic fabrication in their respective fields. <a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-ii/" target="_blank">www.robarch2014.org</a></p>
<p><a href="http://newsletter.makezine.com/t/r-l-xjtujdt-jyuylytls-id/" target="_blank"><img alt="MakerCon_Ad_500x150-Tickets" src="http://makezineblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/makercon_ad_500x150-tickets1.gif?w=500&h=150"></a></p>
In 2014 we’d like to get 23 episodes of Circuit Playground (our kid’s show) out. Here are the first 2:
“A is for Ampere” — Circuit Playground Episode 1
“B is for Battery” — Circuit Playground Episode 2
Eben Upton, creator of the Raspberry Pi and founder and former trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation
Something ugly and welded. I’ve always wanted to learn to weld, and with Pi broadly under control 2014 looks like it might just be the year. I’d love to say “something beautiful and welded”, but I know my limits 🙂
Co-founder of San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge
I’m going to make a music synthesizer kit that makes way cool sounds, and will cost less than $25 — for total beginners to easily complete successfully, and also to make it fun and easy for people who want to learn about making cool sounds with microcontrollers.
My maker resolution is to launch my Arduino-Compatible board on Kickstarter. I have been working on this product for the past year, and I am very excited to get it to the maker community. Look for it in Spring 2014!
Executive editor, MAKE magazine
I’ve got an endless (and growing) list of projects, but in 2014, I’d love to get to work on the Comic-Con cosplay costume I’ve had in mind for a few years now. And, build a skateboard ramp in the backyard with/for my nephews.
An electric go-kart. We have already started one, but I really want to finish it really soon.
Bedside table buttons. I am super tired of using the scroll wheel thingie to turn on my light, and I want to have a button to turn music on.
Treehouse fix? We have a old moldy treehouse that was left from the last people who lived here and I really want to fix it and turn it into something that is safer to use and cooler.
Something super-awesome! My Maker’s Notebook is FULL of cool ideas, and one of them is bound to get made sometime.
Product development engineer, Maker Media Inc.
One that’s been on my list for months is a set of bike rollers. I intend to build one early on in the year.
A decent one will set you back a few hundred dollars, and I think I can do it for under $150. Will probably use some 2x4s, roller skate wheels, and maybe some conveyor belt rollers from McMaster.
Senior editor, MAKE
This past summer my good friend Karen taught me how to make a brick walkway. In my travels to visit my family in Iran, I’ve always been enchanted with the elaborate brick designs they use in buildings. In 2014 I’d like to try my hand at creating similar designs in brick. Here’s an inspiration shot I took on my last trip:
What are you planning on making this year? Let us know in the comments!
Pictured at the top of the post is the Drill Kart project from MAKE Volume 26.
Our Robot Hack Community page is brimming with projects and ideas. Many teams are experimenting with movement mechanisms. Aaron Bierenboim has been working on walking. Check out his totally cool walking robot chassis below:
Designs for the Boim Walker are posted here. Aaron 3D printed his prototypes and plans to watch the live hangout on air Sunday, Nov. 3.
The Basement Robot Lab team is attempting to build a balance bot from various components (extruded aluminum frame, custom boards with a ATMEGA644, and some motors from a Roomba).
Mark Fournier is making a semi-autonomous robot based on ATmega, remotely controlled by voice via a wearable Raspberry Pi computer (already developped), and connected to a Rapsi/ATmeg home automation system. The robot will embed various sensors and a camera with motion, pattern, and color detection (and maybe a small screen to simulate an “animated robot face”). Check out this project here.
Chuck Stevens writes, “Our team is called the No Man Band. I’m an artist, instrument maker and musician and my primary partners are a programmer and a First Robotics Alum. We are planning to build something musical out of recycled and repurposed materials. And trash… lots of trash!”
The program kicks off Sunday Nov. 3 at 1pm ET with a live event and Google+ hangout from Olin College in Needham, Mass., where we’ll converse with Intel Futurist and 21st Century Robot author Brian David Johnson, illustrator Sandy Winkelman, designer/fabricator Wayne Losey, and Olin College Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Design Dave Barrett.
Joining us remotely will be robotics engineer and founder of Artisans AsylumGui Cavalcanti, USC PhD research fellow Ross Mead, and more. Make sure to join our Robot Hacks Community to watch the program on G+, and contribute any questions, comments, ideas, or more, anytime you please. There are also limited tickets available for those who’d like to attend the event live.
We’re thrilled about this — who doesn’t love making robots? — and can’t wait to put some servos to work with you.
“Kickstarter does not penalize you for being late.”
From the editors of MAKE magazine, the Maker Pro Newsletter is about the impact of makers on business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends.
This new program launches with two components: discussions with masters in the field of robotics and robot design, and the enlisting and equipping of community members to build and share robotics projects of their own. Those interested in participating can apply to create a team and receive our package of robotics components, parts, and materials.
If you have a hackerspace, makerspace, library, or robotics club — or any place/organization where makers gather — join the series as a team and receive materials to participate in your local community with other makers. Then tune in together to the weekly Robot Hack sessions.
The program kicks off Sunday (that’s November 3 at 1pm ET) with a live event and Google+ Hangout from Olin College with Intel Futurist and 21st Century Robot author Brian David Johnson, illustrator Sandy Winkelman, designer/fabricator Wayne Losey, and Olin College Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Design Dave Barrett.
Joining remotely will be robotics engineer and founder of Artisans Asylum Gui Cavalcanti, USC PhD research fellow Ross Mead, and more.
Robot Hacks then continues with additional sessions on November 6 with Michael Overstreet, 13 with Gael Langevin and Chuck Fletcher, and 20, where participating teams will check in and show their work.
To review, you can get involved with this new Maker Session four ways:
Motorola will produce modular smartphones with Project Ara.
Protocow launches a “Shopify for 3D printing services.”
3D Systems has upgraded its 3D design suite with an advanced CAD program, Cubify Design.
The American Library Association, in partnership with Instructables, introduced makeitatyourlibrary.org, a website tailored to librarians interested in implementing makerspace projects in their libraries.
Harvest Automation, which has launched “Harvey,” a robot to help with greenhouse and nursery management, raised $11.8 million from investors.
8 Reasons Your Crowdfunded Hardware Project Will be Late
Zach Supalla (@zsupalla), the founder of the Spark, an Arduino-compatible, wi-fi enabled, cloud-powered development platform, admits that when it comes to lateness, he’s writing from experience.
His article for the online magazine Svbtle thoughtfully considers why he, and other hardware entrepreneurs, tend to be tardy.
He offers 7 reasons:
1. Founders are optimistic.
2. Prototypes are rougher than you may think.
3. Making a product “manufacturable” is tricky.
4. Tooling for injection molding is difficult and challenging.
5. Lead times for components will surprise you.
6. Supply chain partners often share your optimism.
7. Project scope tends to expand.
3 Ways That Affordable CNC Routers Could Re-Make Industry
This AtFAB chair, available as a downloadable digital file to be manufactured locally, is an example of one of the capabilities that Jerry Davis believes could re-make industry.
Business professor Jerry Davis zooms out for a long view of the ways that CNC routers and 3D printers could change manufacturing in the 100kGarages blog.
First, he offers a sweeping view of how the modern corporation developed. Then he considers three ways the availability of low cost tools like CNC routers could have a “transformational” impact on how we organize business in the U.S. In the foreseeable future, he predicts, the per-unit cost to create bookshelves with an inexpensive CNC router will be comparable to the cost of buying them at Ikea, with the bonus of customizability.
Ikea, in fact, is something of a transitional institution in Davis’ view: it does not sell furniture to its customers, but rather sells the ingredients and the recipes for assembling them. It’s not a long way from that to the downloadable designs of AtFAB, with its motto, “Ship information, not stuff.”
Here are three ways this could play out, according to Davis:
1. Mega retailers, like Walmart and Amazon, could build “universal fab facilities” in which products that are ordered online are created and distributed from more-or-less central hubs that replace the current system of warehouses.
2. Grassroots federations of independent business people (like 100kGarages), could organize around the process of creating products.
3. Following the precedent of farmers’ co-ops, manufacturers could collaborate at a local level to outfit a general fab shop with shared ownership.
Another transitional model that Davis likes: Ace Hardware, which became a cooperative in 1973 when its founder retired and sold the company to its local retailers, creating a hybrid that allows both local autonomy and the economies of scale that comes with large size.
5 Crowdfunding Tips from Play-i’s Fast Launch
An image of Play-i’s Yana robot, illustrating points #3 and #4, below.
Educational robot company Play-i launched its crowdfunding campaign earlier this week. After a single day the young company had raised more than half of its campaign goal.
The Hack Things blog captured 5 best practices the Play-i team employed.
1. Right product, right time. Play-i is surfing the “teach programming to kids” wave.
2. Create a waiting list of customers before you launch. The Play-i team conducted sneak previews and in-person demonstrations in advance of their crowdfunding campaign, building a list of potential backers.
3. Make sure you have an attractive, polished industrial design (see picture, above).
4. Prep the press. A “media kit,” with plenty of images, is easily available on the Play-i site. Hack Things also speculates that the Play-i team offered advance demos to important publications under “embargo” agreements that prevented publication before the crowdfunding start date.
5. Partner. Play-i got influential organizations, such as Code.org, to share the launch announcement with their supporters, dramatically expanding the pool of potential supporters.
10 Lessons for Farm Drones
The 3D Robotics Y6 multicopter, which has been flying over vineyards in Northern California to monitor ripeness. Photo credit: Sally French, 3D Robotics.
Chris Anderson (@chr1sa) of 3D Robotics has been touting agriculture as the first, best use of non-military drones.
Recently, in the Robohub blog, he listed ten lessons he learned launching drones over farmland.
The first five:
1. Every crop is different. There is no universal crop survey solution, he writes, and it will probably be specialists in each particular crop type who ultimately deliver solutions to farmers.
2. Multicopters, not planes. For one thing, few places to land.
3. Phones/tablets, not laptops. Farmers don’t want to be dragging laptops around the farm.
4. One-click auto missions, not “flying.” Those same farmers don’t have time to navigate drones.
5. Fly the camera, not the aircraft. Pictures are the deliverable, not whiz-bang technology.
(Hint: it’s not the floating hot tub, or golf cart hovercraft.)
Among the winners: two analog-to-digital converters, and a pair of devices to sharpen up the creases in your clothing.
Engadget Expand Heading for New York City November 9–10
Join the MAKE team at Engadget Expand in New York, November 9–10 at Javits Center and Experience the Future of Technology, the theme for this premiere New York event.
Designed for tech enthusiasts and gadget geeks, the weekend offers an opportunity to hear from favorite consumer electronics luminaries and to get hands-on with some of the latest new devices on the show floor.
MAKE will roll out its hot-off-the-press, next-generation 3D printer guide, featuring reviews of 23 of the newest personal printers.
MAKE project leader and 3D printing guru Anna Kaziunas France (@akaziuna) will explain the elaborate review process and rigorous tests the MAKE team designed to put the printers through their paces.
The MAKE booth will spotlight some of the top performers, with the review team talking about features that elevated one printer over another, and what the price differences deliver in terms of performance and benefits.
Bea Res, who will be participating in Sunday’s hangout on air, is building this Arduino-based robot. The head, at left, awaits attachment.
We’ve gotten a great response to our call for robot teams for our newly formed Robot Hacks project. More than 52 teams have already registered and the G+ Community page is filling up with posts about designs and plans.
The spectrum of ideas is incredible. Bea Res writes: “I am designing and printing an Arduino-based robot that is controlled by light and has a safety purpose for the house.” James Jarrard’s team is interested in desktop interaction: “Something that can move objects and be quite a useful and fun tool in collaboration work spaces.” Ross Bochnek’s team is interested in camera robots for motion control.
What’s so special about Maker Sessions? As Geoffrey Stoel says, “What I like about these hacks is the master makers showing their view on the topic. And then the ability to play/experiment based on what you saw with the tools from the kit.”
Tune in Sunday Nov. 3 to see how our master makers will influence your ideas and help you shape your projects. The program kicks off at 1pm ET with a live event and Google hangout from Olin College in Needham, Mass., where we’ll converse with Intel Futurist and 21st Century Robot author Brian David Johnson, illustrator Sandy Winkelman, designer/fabricator Wayne Losey, and Olin College Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Design Dave Barrett.
Joining us remotely will be robotics engineer and founder of Artisans Asylum Gui Cavalcanti, USC PhD research fellow Ross Mead, and more.
A mission to explore strange new worlds… to boldly go where no (body) has gone before.
What are Robot Hacks? At Maker Media we’re on an adventure to explore activities beyond traditional publishing and broadcasting.
Illustration via Winkstink.com
We’re creating live online participatory events for the MAKE community, and re-making what it means for you to take part. Our new Maker Session concept includes video presentations by Master Makers with opportunities for you to be creative and hack in your own locations. We are thrilled that you will be able to brainstorm, build your projects, and be inspired by what you are learning, wherever you are. The early results are promising: Last month’s Urban Sensor Hack, our first Maker Session, included energetic teams and fascinating projects from across the U.S. and Europe.
You could call Maker Sessions ‘hacks of hackathons.’ Our live sessions will be devoted to noteworthy themes and trends. We’ll feature experts and authors who can provide you with sparks of inspiration, combined with the nitty gritty of how things are built.
To stimulate your imagination and get you started, registered participating Maker Session teams are eligible to receive a package of components, parts and instructional materials so you can build while learning. Along the way you can share your ideas, problems and solutions via our G+ community page. To apply to participate in Robot Hacks, click here.
At the end of the sessions, we will invite you to show off your work, whether it’s a concept sketch or a fully functioning project. The Robot Hacks content we generate, including Master presentations, team postings, questions, answers and comments, will remain freely accessible through our community page to anyone who signs up. In fact, our Urban Sensor Hack G+ community has grown by nearly 50 percent since the end of the last organized session!
This weekend we invite you to join the launch of our inaugural Robot Hacks Maker Session. The program kicks off Sunday Nov. 3 at 1pm Eastern Time (Don’t forget the time change!) with a live event and a Google hangout from Olin College in Needham, Mass, where we’ll converse with Intel Futures and 21st Century Robot author Brian David Johnson, illustrator Sandy Winkelman, designer/fabricator Wayne Losey, and Olin College Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Design Dave Barrett. If you are in the Boston area and want to attend the live event you can register here.
Robot Hacks will continue with additional sessions on Nov. 6 with Michael Overstreet, 13th with Gael Langevin and Chuck Fletcher, and 20th, where we’ll check in with our participating teams and see their work.
Are Maker Sesions the final frontier of online events? Unlikely. But we’re excited for you to join the Robot Hacks Community, and join folks around the world as we hack to learn, hack to share and hack to imagine.
Gael Langevin and his open source, 3D-printed InMoov robot will be our guests on November 13th.
We’re excited to announce Robot Hacks, the latest in our Maker Sessions series. This new program launches with two great components: we’ll be hosting discussions with leaders in the field of robotics and robot design, while concurrently enlisting and equipping community members to build and share robotics projects of their own — those interested in participating can apply to create a team and receive our package of robotics components, parts and materials.
The program kicks off Sunday November 3rd at 1pm ET with a live event and Google hangout from Olin College in Needham, Mass., where we’ll converse with Intel Futurist and 21st Century Robot author Brian David Johnson, illustrator Sandy Winkelman, designer/fabricator Wayne Losey, and Olin College Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Design Dave Barrett.
Joining us remotely will be robotics engineer and founder of Artisans Asylum Gui Cavalcanti, USC PhD research fellow Ross Mead, and more. Make sure to join our Robot Hacks Community to watch the program on G+, and contribute any questions, comments, ideas, or more, anytime you please. There are also limited tickets available for those who’d like to attend the event live.
Robot Hacks then continues with additional sessions on November 6th with Michael Overstreet, 13th with Gael Langevin and Chuck Fletcher, and 20th, where we’ll check in with our participating teams and see their work.
We’re thrilled about this — who doesn’t love making robots? — and can’t wait to put some servos to work with you.
Humanoid robot hobbyist and enthusiast. A team presentation featuring Michael Overstreet (I, bioloid) My 3d printed humanoid robotic projects; Michael Curry (Makerbot) 3d printed DangerBall; Aaron Park (Robotis) open sourced DARwIn-mini; Dr. Chi Thai (University of Georgia) and Matthew Paulishen (University of Georgia) programing the open sourced CM-904; Lem Fugitt (Robotdreams) Robotics outside of the US; Erin (RobotGrrl) Kennedy RoboBrrd and my 3d printed robot; Heriberto Reynoso (robotics teacher) teaching kids how to build and program robots.
Maker Sessions: Robot Hacks, Gael Langevin & Chuck Fletcher -InMoov
InMoov is Gael Langevin’s personal project and was initiated in January 2012 after buying a 3D printer. It’s the first Open Source life-size 3D printed robot. It all started with the design of a hand, that can be used as a prosthetic. Replicable on any home 3D printer, it is conceived as a development platform for Universities, laboratories, hobbyists, but first of all for Makers. Join Gael and Chuck as they talk about InMoov, from conception to reality.
Join the MAKE editors and Robot Hacks Maker Masters as we check in with Robot Hacks teams for a Show and Tell. You will not want to miss this exciting Robot Hacks Finale!
About Maker Sessions
Robot Hacks is the latest Maker Session presented by Make magazine and GE. This 3 week program is designed to engage teams of makers around the world to participate in an open source “Robot Hacking and Making” program.
Making and hacking:Live online events using a Google Plus community to bring together makers online and at physical locations for hacking and making. Maker Sessions are organized around a theme or a purpose – to look at technologies that enable new applications and to encourage people of all skill levels and interests to participate in the development of ideas and applications.
Hacking the hackathon: Bring makers together where they live and work – at home, at a university or at makerspaces. Explore opportunities to do something cool – something that perhaps nobody else is doing. Learn from master makers about an application area and discover cool maker projects.
Gael Langevin is a French modelmaker and sculptor. He works for the biggest brands since more than 25 years.
InMoov is his personal project and it was initiated in January 2012 after buying a 3D printer. It is the first Open Source life-size 3D printed robot.
Chuck Fletcher has been trying to integrate “making” into his work and play for the last 10 years. In 2005, He created the first GPS enabled social network called Mologogo (just for fun) and 5 years later convinced his advertising agency, Havas WW NY to create a Hackerspace within the agency. His build of the Open Source InMoov 3D printed animatronic robot (Designed by Gael Langevin) at the 2013 World Makerfaire in New York attracted big crowds and won two Makerfaire ribbons; Editors Choice and Educators choice. Besides the InMoov project, Chuck has been working on a 3D printed quadra copter using hardware based on the Arducopter project.
He is a computer programmer by day and an amateur roboticist by night. Michael and his humanoid robot Boomer have competed in the last six Robogames and have won multiple bronze, silver and gold metals. For the past 3 years he has been experimenting with 3D printed robot designs at his local hackerspace (Cowtown Computer Congress Kansas City, MO) which he is a founding member of. He is an active member of the 3D printer community and he is working on his own 3d printer design. He also has been a grass roots supporter of the Kansas City Maker Faire as well as attending all of the national Maker Faires. People who are interested in his adventures in robotics should check out his blog “I, Bioloid”. He is currently exploring open-source 3D printed robotics.
Aaron Park is the Director of ROBOTIS,INC. and Founder of Robot Edutainment. Aaron has been working to develop the next generation of robotics through students in the U.S. His goal is to encourage and advance the capability and usability of innovative application through the infusion of robotics in STEAM educational curricula and research. He has been actively working with various US research institutions to foster academic excellence and professional development, increase student engagement, and improve learning outcomes. His interest is to educate, prepare, and provide the Makers Community with essential skills in robotics to become successful future inventors and innovators.
Dr. Chi Thai teaches and does research at the University of Georgia in the areas of Spectroscopy and Machine Vision for agricultural applications. Since 2007, he had been using Robotis systems for teaching robotics from 5th graders to university-level engineering students. He is currently working on Theatre Robotics and Agricultural Robotics (plant health and pest detection).
RobotGrrl creates do-it-yourself robots with the big idea that these will be the toys for the future. She aims to inspire everyone to make their own imaginative creatures as functional robots. Erin successfully launched her first robot kit, RoboBrrd, on Indiegogo. She was a top-20 finalist in the Intel EYE50 contest, and is a multiple Maker Faire Editor’s Choice blue ribbon recipient.
With limited resources, began building robots at the age of 14 for national competitions. He interned three times as an undergraduate before becoming a contractor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA and Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, CA. He developed code for spy planes used by the Air Force Research Laboratory automating camera calibration procedures, low Earth orbit satellites utilizing Android phones dubbed PhoneSat, and interfaces for missions such as MoonRise (2016) and Mars Sample Return set for 2018. Thereafter, Reynoso created a startup company called Reybotics to develop summer robotics camps and robotics kits tailored to motivate the next generation of scientists and engineers. The Robotics Summer Valley Program (RSVP) held at the University of Texas at Brownsville accepts 48 area students every summer between the ages of 14-17 and exposes them to the world of robotics through college level courses in Physics, Biology, Computer Science, and Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in the classroom. More importantly, the program teaches them to apply those skills with hands-on activities and theme-based competitions to test out their creations.
Author of the 21st Century Robot and Intel Futurist. Brian explores the world of science fiction prototyping techniques in his new book as he tells us the stories about robots and shares the process used to make them real.
iToy maker, cross-media designer, tinker- Part of the independent comics movement in the 80’s, 20 years as a professional toy designer and creative director for mega-scale toy brands like Star wars, GI Joe, Jurassic Park, and Pokemon. Co-founder of Dynamo Development Labs – a design firm exploring the nexus of user-centered play systems, our connection to stories, and the boutique future of toys.
Matthew Paulishen is currently pursuing his Master in Engineering at the College of Engineering of The University of Georgia. He has been working on Robotis robotic systems since 2010, from Bioloid to DARwIn-OP and CM-9s. He adapted the HaViMo2 camera and the PyPose/BioloidController system onto the current CM-9 IDE.
Lem Fugitt has been fascinated by robots since he first saw Robbie the Robot in ‘Forbidden Planet’ as a child. During his career he developed test plans for instrumentation and feedback systems used in the space program, robot cell simulation systems for use in the automotive industry, and strategic planning for companies involved in factory automation and semiconductor development. He has lived and worked in Japan for over 25 years. Around the time he built his first humanoid robot, in 2004, he founded the popular Robots Dreams website to promote interest in the field. The website was joined a few years later by the Robots Dreams YouTube channel featuring unique insight into robotics and related events. In addition to his work as an industry management consultant, he is a frequent contributor of feature articles and product reviews to ROBOT Magazine and has supplied video footage to major television networks in Japan, the U.S., and the U.K. His current projects include the application of 3D printing to robot design.
InMoov is an Open Source 3D printable animatronic robot. It was designed by Gael Langevin, but this particular build by Chuck Fletcher integrated eye tracking, Kinect and Leap Motion control. The video shows the InMoov using eyetracking to follow the movements of a piece of paper.
Jimmy the Robot made his debut at the Make: Hardware Innovation Workshop during a talk by Intel’s Futurist Brian David Johnson. In his current form he is the 3D printed exoskeleton that will contain a 21st Century robot that is easy to build, completely open source, and filled with humanity. Designed by Wayne Losey of Modibot, Jimmy has been printed both on a MakerBot Replicator 2 and in laser sintered nylon via Shapeways.
Scanning and Printing
Great Fredini’s Coney Island Scan-A-Rama
Portraits created using Coney Island Scan-A-Rama
Coney Island Scan-A-Rama was a huge hit at World Maker Faire, creating a Microsoft Kinect to create full body 3D scanned portraits onsite for Faire attendees.
The latest in 3D printed wearables from Three Form.
ThreeForm is a design company and service that uses the latest 3D imaging and production technologies to create customized apparel and wearable designs.
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