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“Who has the time to wait three weeks to see if this thing is working or not?” — Livin Farms Co-Founder Julia Kaisinger
The Maker Pros of CES
The winner of TechCrunch’s fourth Hardware Battlefield competition was Siren Care (@SirenCare), a Bay Area venture that uses smart textiles to track users’ health. Their first product is a sock that monitors temperature changes for diabetics.
A consortium of tech firms working as the ZigBee Alliance (@ZigBeeAlliance) debuted an open source, wireless language called Dotdot that it says will help Internet of Things gadgets communicate with one another. The platform’s signage, developed by brand consultancy Wolff Olins (@WolffOlins), is visually arresting — and modeled after the dashes and dots of Morse code.
3D printer makers were well represented in Digital Trends’ influential “Top Tech of CES” list. Monoprice’s (@monoprice) Delta Mini made the cut, as well as Ability3D’s (@Ability3D) 888 printer and Sur3D’s (@Sur3D) Selva, a software package for designing 3D-printed food.
A couple of crowdfunded maker pro projects also caught our eye. The Tiffen Company’s (@Tiffentweets) clever smartphone steadicam, Volt, beat its modest $100,000 funding goal — and SpeedX’s (@SpeedXCycling) smart road bike, Unicorn, raised the roof by netting nearly a million dollars out of a mere $50,000 goal.
Kickstarter to Encourage Tiny Manufacturing Runs
Speaking of crowdfunding, a Kickstarter (@kickstarter) initiative called Make 100 is currently highlighting campaigns for editions of just 100 pieces, capped at 100 backers. Your project could be almost anything, according to the company — 100 zines, for instance, or 100 tickets to a performance.
Oh, and Shapeways (@shapeways) is apparently a fan. “It’s a great way to share and develop a new idea,” wrote Andrew Simon Thomas (@Athomitron), the company’s community manager, of the Kickstarter program.
Are you trying to launch a product on Kickstarter? Tell us your story at [email protected]
A Peek Into Shenzhen
A new Fast Company feature dives into the life of hardware startups in Shenzhen, China’s premier manufacturing city. In interviews with a number of HAX (@hax_co) participants, there was a recurring theme: it’s vastly easier to get a gadget working when you’re geographically near the site where it’s being manufactured.
“Who has the time to wait three weeks to see if this thing is working or not?” said Julia Kaisinger, the co-founder of Livin Farms (@Livinfarms), a HAX company that’s working on a small machine to raise edible mealworms.
Speaking of HAX, check out DC Denison’s (@dcdenison) recent interview with co-founder Eric Pan (@256ericpan) about his work with Seeed Studio (@seeedstudio), common maker pro mistakes, and the era of the “indie product.”
3D Printing Frontiers
Mille is a rugged, large-scale 3D printer and mill that’s built right into a shipping container. The idea, according to manufacturer Millebot (@Millebot3D) is to ship it to a remote location and hit the ground fabricating whatever you need. It was on display at Maker Faire Orlando.
Titan Robotics’ (@TitanRobotics3d) Cronus is a large-format printer that can be fitted with multiple tool heads. The unit will “change everything we know about 3D printing and CNC manufacturing,” said founder Clay Guillory.
Check out this profile of Yasu Tano (@YasuTano), a 3D printing enthusiast who’s creating next-level cosplay weapons and battle armor from his favorite video games. In 2016, he went through more than 200 pounds of filament.
Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web:
Pointing to a new Brookings article, Make: Founder and CEO Dale Dougherty (@dalepd) wrote this week about how the maker movement could become a crucial component of a revitalized American manufacturing sector.
The humble technicians who’ll replace your phone’s screen at a cell phone kiosk might be the unsung fixer heroes of our era. A group in London recently opened the world’s smallest mobile repair shop under the moniker Lovefone (@lovefone) — inside one of the city’s iconic red telephone boxes.
Organizers are hard at work preparing for the first-ever Maker Faire Kuwait — and one of the event’s main backers is local hardware startup Creative Bits.
And for any would-be electronics sellers, Screaming Circuits (@pcbassembly) Chief Technology Champion Duane Benson (@duanebenson) has a new roundup on the Make: blog of eight things you should take care of before you mass produce a printed circuit board design.