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“What if we accidentally give you the cure for cancer?” — Tim Prestero, founder of Design that Matters
Making an Open Source CPU
Imagine being able to buy a fully open-source CPU. As Make: Contributing Editor Gareth Branwyn (@garethb2) reports, Colombian research group OnChip (@onchipUIS) plans to accomplish just that with Open-V, a mass produced processor based on the RISC-V architecture.
The impact of open source software in recent decades has been enormous, but open hardware has lagged behind — and this project could be an opportunity to make up lost ground.
Though, OnChip is facing an uphill battle with a funding goal of nearly half a million dollars. Check out their campaign on Crowd Supply, where you can snag a first-run chip for $49 and a complete dev board for $99.
Sculpteo Launches Map of 3D Scanners
Like a high-performance 3D printer, a reliable 3D scanner is an expensive piece of equipment. That’s why it’s exciting to see that Sculpteo (@sculpteo) is now working on a map of 3D scanners that seems akin to 3D Hubs’ (@3DHubs) network of 3D printers.
Even more exciting is that Sculpteo is positioning the map as a tool for maker pros. In an announcement post, spokesperson Eole Recrosio specifically shouted out to reverse engineers and medical prosthesis creation.
Check out Sculpteo’s map here. It’s already peppered with scanners in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
From the Mailbag: Careful with those Automated Farms
Reader Simon Gruber was alarmed by last week’s item about automated farms (“The Internet of Plants”). If agriculture were reduced to a process of writing code and maintaining machines, Gruber argued, we’d risk losing touch with an important part of life.
“[Discussions of automating farming] need to include consideration of many issues including the many reasons why maintaining a stronger human presence and involvement in some aspects of growing food is important for people, community, and society.”
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Designing Things that Save Lives
Maker pros ought to read two recent interviews with Tim Prestero (@tprestero) and Malory Johnson, both of Design that Matters (@dtm_tweets), a remarkable nonprofit product design organization that won Make:’s first Pitch Your Prototype contest in 2013.
In the initial interview, the duo weigh in on the challenges of designing things that save lives, like the group’s Firefly infant phototherapy device. In the second, they weigh in on how to avoid logistical stumbling blocks and find trustworthy partners as a mission-driven organization — and how to fight back against perceptions of nonprofit work.
“What if we accidentally give you the cure for cancer?” Prestero asked. “If we do hit on something that has commercial potential, we’ll just plow those revenues back into making lives better for the poor using design.”
Lessons from Manufacturing a Badge
“One can imagine a political or business conference without an interactive badge,” wrote inventor Voja Antonic (@Voja_Antonic) of the project, “but not a hacker conference.”
Among the team in charge of bringing the the badge to reality was Supplyframe Product Manager Chris Gammell (@Chris_Gammell), who was charged with coordinating the manufacture of the units — from securing all the parts to evaluating contract manufacturers.
This week, Gammell penned an entertaining post about the saga. It was a straightforward project in many ways, with a total run of just 300 units, but Gammell still had to work hard to keep everyone on the team communicating efficiently. If you plan to manufacture something in the future, let Gammell’s mistakes be your guide.
Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web:
Raspberry Pi manufacturer Farnell element14 (@FarnellNews) is sponsoring an unusual contest. Select $1,000 of the company’s products and submit a plan for how you would use them to “change the world” in a creative, achievable way, and you could be one of 10 winners who will get to try their ideas out with $1,000 of free merchandise.
You’ve probably heard of the maker pros at Evil Mad Scientist Labs (@EMSL), who have developed everything from an LED coffee table to the EggBot, a CNC-style machine that draws on small, egg-shaped objects. Now, Gareth Branwyn covers their latest invention, the AxiDraw V3, an elegant and affordable drawbot with enough precision to pen beautiful scripts that look, well, handwritten.
Amazon Launchpad has partnered with the Indian government to launch a branch in the country in a bid to support the country’s startup community.
This terrific interview with Make: Vice President and Co-Founder of Maker Faire Sherry Huss (@SherryHuss) is a great primer on the early history of the maker movement, and particularly its path to greater inclusivity. “Welcoming diversity was the plan all along and some of the ideas were meant to transcend age, gender, and cultures,” Huss said.
Oh, and if you’re looking for some holiday cheer, check out Make:’s annual ornament contest. Last year we solicited 3D-printed ornaments, but this year the contest is open to any computer controlled fabrication machine, from laser cutters to embroidery machines.