Maker Pro News: Makers at CES, Micro-Crowdfunding, Edible Mealworms, and More

Maker News
Maker Pro News: Makers at CES, Micro-Crowdfunding, Edible Mealworms, and More

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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

Was last week’s newsletter too gloomy about the prospects for maker pros at the Consumer Electronics Show (@CES)? Maybe. Here are some projects that caught our eye in Las Vegas last week.

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.

Encouraging maker pros to start small is a cool idea, and it’s already drawn some neat projects: check out this collection of satellite imagery prints, or these Magic 8 Ball-like decision spinners.

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

Seeed Studio sponsors Chaihua Maker Space, who, along with the Taiwan Robot Combat League, attracted 16 teams from all over Asia to compete at Maker Faire Shenzhen 2016.

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.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

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

Jon Christian is the co-editor of the Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection between makers and business. He's also written for the Boston Globe, WIRED and The Atlantic.

View more articles by Jon Christian


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