This maker spotlight was brought to us through Maker Faire Rome.  You’ll be able to find them and many more creative and exciting makers at Maker Faire Rome: The European Edition on October 18-20. Get your tickets now!


 

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who are you

We are Ultimate Robotics team!

where are you located

Kyiv, Ukraine

what is your day job

This is it – we create stuff! Mostly we work on commercial projects together, getting them from Upwork, but some of the clients find us directly. We use spare money from them to create our projects – but recently we’ve crowdfunded our first device, and we hope to gradually shift from commercial stuff to creating sustainable open hardware products.

Recently we kind of  had a new beginning, so now we feel balanced as a team and have been trying to implement new ways to work together, starting with a different way to discuss projects and manage tasks. We are implementing a new approach to work where we spent as little time as we can on management and support tasks and distribute them evenly between all of the team members, and spend most of our time on creating things.

Almost all of us either gradually changed or left our previous day jobs, although that took time. In fact, Olha is having her last week at her day job and will be working on the projects with us – and she’ll also have more time for her own T-shirt design shop!

what makerspace/hackerspace/fablab do you attend if any?

We don’t – there aren’t many in Kyiv, and those that exist are mostly commercial or don’t have much of a community following. However, we’re planning to open our own space this fall!

What kinds of stuff do you make?

Many things! Lately we mostly did projects with biosignals, devices that measure ECG, EMG and EEG (and sometimes all three if you attach them correctly), and we’re trying to do more wearables now. We want to create open hardware products that are affordable and useful to people, but also appealing and user-friendly at the same time, something you can just plug and play without much soldering around.
Generally, we’re interested in these areas:

  • open medicine (biosignals, diagnostics)
  • IoT and wearables (activity trackers, gesture recognition, AR/smart glasses)
  • decentralized networks (LoRa, for example)
  • augmentation tech (bionic prosthetics, implants)
  • ecology (clean energy, plastics recycling)
  • biotech (algae, hydroponics)
  • and of course robotics!

How did you get started making stuff?

Since 2012, when we started with robotics (first project was a hexacopter for pizza delivery – before drones were cool :), we have been working on a lot of projects at the same time and really had problems with focus (as can be seen on the picture with our projects over time). This left us very frustrated, we weren’t able to finish anything properly, and around 2015 we really tried to start focusing more. We did commercial projects professionally to have more resources – this helped us learn skills in different fields that we could not master that fast otherwise. But all of this time we really wanted to focus on our own projects. And in our free time, during this year, we finally crowdfunded our first device – uECG!

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What is something you’ve made that really stands out, that you’re proud of.

Our first sellable device! uECG is a BLE wearable which measures medical-grade electrocardiogram (ECG). We are very happy that we managed to make it very small and simple, and it can provide people with raw real time data. uECG was invented for scientists, students, doctors and developers who want to collect data or modify our device – so that it allows others to create something new.

Making this, showing it to other people (Makerfaire Prague was our first outing in a while), then running a campaign and running it successfully was a big challenge for us – something we never did before. Now, all that’s left is to launch it into production, but we’re eager to tackle this very soon.

What do you have on your horizon?

Our goal right now is a community – not just a place, but a movement where likeminded people can meet and collaborate together, share ideas, make things happen, inspire and be inspired, and hopefully change the world for the better as a result. To enable that, we want to open our own makerspace in Kyiv, where we want to hold events, lectures and workshops. We want it to be a focal point for the community as no such place exists in Kyiv right now, and we believe we can do this.

what is something you’d like to work with but haven’t yet?

There are actually a lot of things that we would like to do:

– Due to our intense work schedule, we don’t have time to collect and analyze data – one example is gesture recognition, but we have a long wishlist!

– We just started working with optics for our smart glasses prototype, but this is still a very early stage.

– Recently we’ve been been expanding our interests, from AR smart glasses to algae growth systems. Especially the latter – ecology and hydroponics are very interesting for us, and we’d love to work on something like that. It is interesting to try to grow plants.

– Last but not least, we also want a newer, faster 3D printer (possibly an SLA one) which we can use to print cases and parts of the prototypes – cause we’ve been printing on an old Ultimaker – and we’re kinda fascinated by the SLA – we think we could make parts for the AR glasses on it.

Any advice for people reading this?

We want all technology to be open source, especially if it’s enabling – when having one technology unlocks a whole bunch of other possibilities. We believe that technology, when used responsibly, has the potential to change the world – and this change can be directed for the better. That when people apply themselves and open their minds, a lot of good can be done. The world is in a flux state right now, and it is the best time to make a difference. But there’s no use waiting for someone else to do it first. If you want to change the world, you have to do it yourself, even if it’s one small step at a time.