“I want to offer a more sustainable and ecological form of protein.” — Monica Martinez, founder of edible insect maker Don Bugito
Is AirBnB the Future of Manufacturing?
It is not often that a new idea seems poised to remake the traditionally-minded manufacturing sector. However, the more we hear about distributed manufacturing, the more it sounds like it might upend how factories do business in every market and tier of industry.
Let’s back up. The concept of distributed manufacturing is similar to Lyft or TaskRabbit: instead of investing in physical equipment, a company like the Lexington, KY-based MakeTime (@MakeTimeInc) helps people who want to build something connect with people who have the equipment to manufacture it. Take Nazareth Ekmekjian (@nekmekjian), a Boston designer who needed a prototype component made on a tight deadline. Every shop he contacted said it would take weeks, until he tried MakeTime.
“It was really simple,” Ekmekjian told Quartz. “I uploaded the geometry, provided a few specifications and they took care of the rest.”
In a sense, the model has existed for some time — look at 3D Hubs (@3DHubs), which operates a network of thousands of privately-owned 3D printers, in hundreds of countries around the world, that you can use to print your own design locally. However, the idea of factories from Detroit to Shenzhen being available to any maker, anywhere? That is a game changer.
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The (Maker) Pros of Eating Bugs
Food is an area in which maker pros have been doing incredible work in recent years, and Make: contributor Chiara Cecchini’s (@ClaireCecchini) Edible Innovations series is a remarkable peek into that world.
Take the saga of Monica Martinez, an industrial engineer and sculptor who founded Don Bugito (@DonBugitoSF), a large scale edible insect farm operating out of Bay Area food startup incubator La Cocina (@lacocinasf). Martinez believes that if everybody can get down with eating crickets and mealworms, it could literally save the environment.
“I want to offer a more sustainable and ecological form of protein,” Martinez told Make:. “At the same time, I want to rescue ancient food practices from pre-Columbian times and bring them to the rest of the American continent.”
While you’re at it, check out Cecchini’s profile of a pair of Bay Area brewers who invented a granola bar called ReGrained (@ReGrained) that’s made from mixing the cast-off grain left over from beermaking, quinoa, oats, and almonds.
A Wearable That Promotes Wellness
Wearables are a crowded market, but a startup called Vitali (@vitali_wear) thinks it can carve out a niche with a stylish, eponymous sports bra that, unlike connected workout gadgets, is aimed at stress management.
It’s an elegant concept. The Vitali measures posture, heart rate, and respiration, and when it notices biofeedback that could indicate stress, it produces a gentle buzz — almost like the opposite of the habit-breaking wearable Pavlok (@pavlok).
Still, while it is an interesting experiment, The Verge’s Ashley Carman (@ashleyrcarman) pointed out the gadget’s inherent contradiction: why build a general-use wearable into a garment that many people only wear while exercising? We’ll keep our eyes peeled for version 2.0.
Startups and More Flourish at Miami Maker Faire
There was automation outfit Goddard Robotics, which showed off some heavy robotics projects. NASA Kennedy Space Center (@NASAKennedy) was there as well, with apps that simulated rocket launches and space exploration. Miami Dade College (@MDCollege) brought demos relating to DIY filmmaking and studio music.
In construction, RAD Domes (@RADdomes) showed off the habitable geodesic domes that it installs across the world. The local company Drip Drop Boards showed how its artisans make longboards.
Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web
The latest issue of Make: contains a smorgasbord of biohacking projects, from DIY diabetes management to bacteria-powered energy cells. This week we debuted even more online maker pro content from the magazine, like this guide to finding a biohacking space near you and these instructions for setting up your own lab.
The European Defense Agency (@EUDefenceAgency) awarded a contract this week to study how 3D printing could be used to increase the military’s field repair and maintenance. The agency said that “substantial economic benefits are also expected.”
In other fabrication news, Make:’s Mandy Stultz (@PixelGirl2dot0) reviewed the Roland (@RolandDGA) CAMM-1 and found that while the machine itself was solid, the bundled software was clunky. We also took a look at Alga (@Algix3D), a filament made from a combination of PLA and algae.