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“I love how Maker Faire is a living organism.” – Slic3r Creator Alessandro Ranellucci
Canary in a Coal Mine
IoT home security outfit Canary (@canary) learned the hard way this week why not to start charging for a service that was once free: the company’s “night mode,” which lets users schedule monitoring without sending notifications and used to be available free of charge, now costs $9.99 per month. The result? Everyone is angry.
Canary is in an impossible situation here, points out veteran hardware reporter Stacey Higginbotham (@gigastacey): its camera system’s $199 price tag might have covered the manufacturing cost, but the new service plan is likely a sign that supporting its own hardware with cloud infrastructure, in perpetuity, is draining the company’s coffers.
The real question may be whether the price hike is a sign of a maker pro industry trend to come. Higginbotham, for one, quipped that the security company might be a canary “in the IoT business model coal mine.”
Communities Rally Around Makerspaces After Disaster
A heartwarming story by Make: Senior Editor Caleb Kraft (@calebkraft) about the theory and practice of running a makerspace — and how a community can step in during times of need — highlights two makerspaces that have turned to crowdfunding in the wake of disaster.
Hurricane Irma forced Florida’s Treasure Coast Makerspace (@TCMSpace) to close its doors and put all its equipment into storage, and a fire at Cairo’s The Zone destroyed all its tools. Now, both have raised thousands on crowdfunding sites to rebuilt.
“Sadly, since most makerspaces operate on a very thin margin, or even simply on donations, this also leaves them in a position where they are unable to rebuild by themselves,” Kraft wrote.
Speaking of crowdfunding, the latest Kickstarter darling in the fabrication space is unquestionably Cubibot (@mycubibot). The compact, family-oriented 3D printer sports an unbeatable price point of $150, and although it’ll be interesting to see how it delivers on such an ambitious project, it’s already rocketed to more than $500,000 in funding out of a modest $50,000 goal.
Redux: How Not to Fail
More analysis on that CB Insights (@CBinsights) report we highlighted last week: the firm itself weighed in on how a device maker as seemingly popular as Jawbone (@Jawbone) came to crumble this summer.
According to the research firm’s analysis of high-profile failures, failure at hardware startups can usually be traced to four factors: lack of consumer demand, high burn rate, interest that dwindles after an initial crowdfunding campaign, and product strategy mistakes.
Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web
Raspberry Pi-powered educational laptop maker Piper (@withpiper), which first came to prominence on Kickstarter, raised some $7.6 million last month. We recently talked with CEO Mark Pavlyukovskyy (@Pavlyukovskyy), and it’s safe to say the company has ambitious plans for the new funding.
Last year, Make: ran a captivating series about how the organizers of Baltimore’s Open Works (@OpenWorksBmore) makerspace got off the ground. Now, a followup report by Make:’s Lisa Martin examines the project’s progress a year later.
Gloomy news for medtech: a consumer council and Norway found that connected medical devices present high risk for patient privacy.
Make: contributor Goli Mohammadi (@snowgoli) interviewed Alessandro Ranellucci (@alranel) about his experience creating Slic3r, curating Maker Faire Rome, and more. “I love how Maker Faire is a living organism,” he said, “like a city, where things happen spontaneously, even when nobody planned them.”
The Micro:bit (@microbit_edu) is a tiny dev board designed by the BBC — yes, the same British Broadcasting Corporation (@BBC) known for Doctor Whoand Dancing With the Stars. Wolfram Donat published a detailed breakdownof the board.