Maker Pro Newsletter – Other Machine, 3D Printing in Asia, Google I/O

“In the future, every shoe will be ‘size me.’”

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This week’s Google developer conference, Google I/O, sparked a flurry of developments on the smart home/Internet of Things front.

It began late last week, when Nest announced that it had purchased Dropcam, the security camera company, for $555 million.

TechCrunch commented, “If privacy advocates were bothered by the idea of Google buying a thermostat (Nest), this acquisition will probably send them up the wall.”

Then came the announcement of the Nest Developer Program, a play to create a connected-home ecosystem around the Nest thermostat and its Protect smoke detector. Partners include Mercedes-Benz and Whirlpool.

Google Ventures and the VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers also joined the party, with a Thoughtful Things Fund to fund emerging companies and fuel ideas that can expand what “the conscious home” can do.

Quirky Launches Smart Home Platform

The consumer invention company also had a big smart home announcement this week: a spin off, Wink, that will sell a hub to control the increasing variety of connected home devices.

The $79 box is compatible with wi-fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, and Z-Wave.

GE helped develop it, and Honeywell and Philips have created compatible products. Home Depot and Amazon will start selling it in early July.

And don’t forget: it was just a few weeks ago that Apple debuted its smart home platform, HomeKit.


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Other Machine Co. Raises $3 million for its 3D Cutter


It’s the flip side of 3D printing: cutting away material.

Inventables is already doing it, with their Shapeoko CNC machine, which they sometimes call a “3D carver,” a more friendly name that hasn’t caught on… yet.

And now SF’s Other Machine Co., which raised $311k on Kickstarter to fund its CNC machine, Othermill, has just rounded up an additional $3 million from investors to ramp up production of the machine.




Always fun to see who’s matriculating at Haxlr8r, the hardware startup incubator based in San Francisco, Calif., and Shenzhen, China. This year’s class, the fourth, includes a smart locker system, a car-painting robot, a health-monitoring seat cushion, and Otto, the Raspberry Pi Hackable GIF Camera (above), which was demonstrated last month at Maker Faire Bay Area.


There’s now a new 3D modeling and design program that claims to be the easiest yet: Morphi, a mobile platform for touchscreens created by The Inventery, a NY startup.


China is going all in on 3D printing according to one report. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has already funded 10 3D printing research centers around the country.

Then there’s this from a 3D printing investor, just back from a conference in Korea:  the big 3D printing companies in the West are “blissfully unaware of the simmering Asian revolution that could be about to burst.”

And finally, in Japan,  the 3D printing service Kabuku has announced that it has received $2 million in funding from investors led by CyberAgent Ventures. The company, founded in January 2013, operates Rinkak – an online marketplace where users can buy and sell 3D-printed products.

Crowd Frontiers



Download plans for the B01 Bookshelf from OpenDesk for $6.38 and make it yourself. Or search the site for a local shop to make it for you.

OpenDesk, the British distributed furniture manufacturing platform, skipped the traditional crowdfunding options, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and went directly to equity crowdfunding: you contribute, you get a piece of the company.

What does that look like? Not much different than Kickstarter-style fundraising. There’s a video, and a pitch, and a facilitator. There are still some restrictions for U.S. investors: you have to have a net worth of $1 million, for example. But the SEC is supposed to be working on changing that.

And, oh yeah, OpenDesk has already surpassed its original $255k goal by $30k.


Dragon Innovation is using crowdfunding to help Scout, a Chicago startup, decide which project to put at the front of their queue: a wi-fi security camera, a smart light socket, or a home security hub.

Fund the one you want to see first. So far investors are putting their money behind the video camera.

Choose your own funding adventure.

Choose your own funding adventure.

BTW, Dragon CEO Scott N. Miller (@dragoninnovate) has been on an educational tear lately, contributing how-to blog posts on topics like managing contract manufacturers, GrabCAD, and teaching a Design for Manufacturing video course on Dragon’s own site.

Maker Profile

It was just last year that Lucy Beard (@lucybeard) had an idea inspired by 3D printing: what if there was a world where you could walk into a shoe store, and they could print a shoe unique to your foot?

The result is Feetz.


Pando Daily’s profile of Beard, as she presented at a tech conference, captures the excitement and anxiety that comes with being on the front lines of technical innovation.

The author seems to believe Beard’s vision: “In the future, every shoe will be ‘size me.’” But he can’t help wondering if she’s too early to catch the inevitable customization wave that will arrive when the 3D printing industry is just a little bit more mature.

Update: designer Mary Huang is also working on a collection of 3D printed shoes.

Tweets of the Week

Arial on Twitter

Dale on Twitter

alasdair on Twitter

Alice on Twitter

Upcoming Maker Faires

Here’s what’s happening over the next month or so:

What’s ahead further down the road? Check the Maker Faire Map to find the closest one to you.


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DC Denison is the co-editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

DC manages customer stories at Acquia, the digital experience company.

View more articles by DC Denison