Breakout Session: Open Hardware
We are posting a series of Loomio discussions about sessions and talks coming up at the conference, so participants can have a chance to discuss the topics, ask questions, and interact with the presenters.
Three Open Hardware experts talk about the open hardware movement, social impacts, educational benefits, and FabLab as a way to educate people about open hardware and improve accessibility.
Bridget McKendry, Fabriko
Bridget has been making stuff, breaking electronics and accidentally setting things on fire her entire life, but around 2005 started teaching kids at her local school how to make simple robots from a tutorial in issue 1 of Make magazine. As a parent helper at Discovery 1 primary school in Christchurch soon after the quakes she started running Maker-style workshops using Arduino, Scratch, eTextiles, Robotics and Electronics workshops for students, later getting them into 3D design and printing. She spoke about this on behalf of Instructables.com in 2012 at Fab8, the international Fab Lab conference, where she got in with a bad crowd of Wellington Makers and helped make Makertorium, NZ's first major Maker movement event happen at Te Papa the following April. In 2013 she started Fabriko with Carl Pavletich, a social enterprise set up to make digital fabrication technology accessible to all learners, and encouraging use of open source electronics for all manner of things. This led to a collaboration with Maker.org.nz to set up and run the Wellington built Makercrate in Christchurch. Once that was up and running she designed and ran many Maker education programs in local schools and libraries, and as of October 2014 opened Fab Lab CHCH. Bridget is currently studying at Fab academy via Fab Lab Wgtn, hoping to be able to deliver this programme in Christchurch in 2017 in the new Fab Lab opening soon in the rebuilt Christchurch Arts centre.
Wendy Neale, Fab Lab Wellington
Project manager, collaborator, maker, pioneer, furniture designer, Wendy Neale manages Fab Lab Wgtn, the first Fab Lab in Australasia which opened 2.5 years ago. With a digital and craft-based practice, Wendy designs and creates meaningful objects from waste and obsolete furniture, and also develops furniture with modified traditional joints using digital techniques. A Fab Lab is a technical prototyping platform for innovation and invention, providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship. A Fab Lab is also a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor, to invent. To be a Fab Lab means connecting to a global community of learners, educators, technologists, researchers, makers and innovators- -a knowledge sharing network that spans 40+ countries. Because all Fab Labs share common tools and processes, the programme is building a global network, a distributed laboratory for research and invention. As support for advanced technical education and to provide a training path for new fab lab managers, Fab Academy , an internationally distributed campus for technical education, has emerged from the Fab Lab programme. Fab Academy is a Digital Fabrication Programme directed by Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Centre For Bits and Atoms and based on MIT’s rapid prototyping course, MAS 863: How to Make (Almost) Anything. Fab Academy began as an outreach project from the CBA, and has since spread to Fab Labs around the world. The program provides advanced digital fabrication instruction for students through an unique, hands-on curriculum and access to technological tools and resources. Just as communications and computation went from analogue to digital, resulting in PCs and the Internet, the digitization of fabrication is leading to personal fabricators that will allow anyone to make almost anything, anywhere. The development of digital fabrication is based on creating codes that don’t just describe things, they are things, much as proteins are coded in molecular biology. This research roadmap is ultimately aiming at a Star Trek-style replicator, but prototype versions of these capabilities are already available in field Fab Labs.
Vik Olliver, Diamondage
Vik Olliver is a longhair Open enthusiast who does actually make a living out of Open hardware. He is best know for his work in the RepRap 3D printer core team but enjoys diddling with all manner of Open projects, from Alcohol to Zeroemission transport. He spends a lot of his time expounding the virtues of Open to the world, and encouraging local groups to collaborate in an ethical manner. He has a Green philosophy but eats meat and doesn't do any of the airyfairy crystal wavey stuff. With his wife Suz, daughters Tamara and Kate, and a few lesser mortals he runs a factory and open workshop in Henderson. This notionally produces Open 3D printers and printer filament, but in practice gets used as a brewery, metal foundry, CNC emporium, hydroponic garden and zombie apocalypse refuge. Delegates are welcome to drop by. He also raises a pride of arrogant cats.