Maker Pro Newsletter – 11/07/13

Maker Pro Newsletter – 11/07/13

“You’re not putting goo in your machine, you’re putting in chemistry.”

From the editors of MAKE magazine, the Maker Pro Newsletter is about the impact of makers on business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends.

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3 Robots in the News


CyPhy Works, headed by Helen Greiner, formerly of iRobot, which makes hovering, tethered robots, popped out of mostly stealth mode to announce that it had received $7 million from a group of investors.


Japanese company HiBot, which specializes in robots for extreme environments, will unveil the latest version of its snake robot at the International Robot Exhibition this week in Tokyo, according to IEEE Spectrum.


Also at this week’s robot exhibition in Tokyo: a novel robot that can fly, float, and roll. From researchers at the University of Tokyo. Another tip of the hat to coverage by IEEE Spectrum.


A sculpture by Richard Dupont, currently on display at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City.

A sculpture by Richard Dupont, currently on display at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.

Researchers at Cambridge University are making progress on graphene-based ink that could pave the way for cheap, printable electronics.

Stratasys has a new thin, rigid, prototype-friendly material. Here are the specs.

The freemium model is coming to hardware, according to a Hack Things blogger.

Two Shapeways-printed designs have made it into the new Neiman Marcus catalog.

The Museum of Arts and Design in New York City is running a large survey of digitally fabricated worksWired has a gallery of some of the best objects.

Researchers are teaching robots to be less stabby.

3D Systems stock spiked on rumor that IBM will acquire it.


More 3D Scanning Options

3D scanning with the Structure Sensor attached to an iPad.

3D scanning with the Structure Sensor attached to an iPad.

As new 3D printers continue to tumble over each other into the marketplace, scanning options are picking up the pace as well — a counterbalance on the input side of the 3D equation.

Some recent developments:

The Structure Sensor last week blew past its Kickstarter goal to raise over a million dollars. The price of the unit for backers is $349. The project seems to be targeting not just 3D printing enthusiasts, but also gamers interested in creating layers of augmented reality.

Around the same time Microsoft Research announced software that enables scanning from a smartphone. To muster the necessary computational power, each scan will make a round trip from smartphone to the cloud and back.

CIO magazine’s blog is predicting that the new Microsoft product will enable “lots of good stuff,” but mostly “creepy gifts that incorporate your likeness, and eerily specific video games.”

As all this was going on, Engadget was publishing a tepid hands-on review of the much-ballyhooed Digitizer from MakerBot, which is much more expensive than some of the new entrants ($1,400). The review’s conclusion: the unit has potential, but is currently for experiment-inclined hobbyists only. According to the reviewer, the 3D scans the reviewer made were underwhelming.

And way up on the lofty industrial scanning level, Creaform, a developer and manufacturer of portable 3D scanners, was acquired for $120 million by Ametek, a manufacturer of electronic instruments and electro-mechanical devices.

Finally, a report from research firm Markets and Markets predicted that the global 3D scanning market is expected to grow at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 14.6% from 2013 to 2018. Promising markets include prototyping, quality control/inspection, cultural heritage, reverse engineering, and dentistry.

MadeSolid Promises Premium Materials for Your 3D Printer

3D Prints using MakeSolid materials.

3D Prints made with MadeSolid materials.

Are you willing to pay for premium resin for your 3D printer?

MadeSolid just tested the market on Indiegogo and the answer seems to be yes.

The MadeSolid team has a compelling message: “You’re not putting goo in your machine,” one of the co-founders says. “You’re putting in chemistry.”

But an unrelated study, by research firm IDTechEx, shows that it could be an uphill battle for outsider companies like MadeSolid. Many 3D printer manufacturers, the study reports, are effectively “locking end-users into their own materials supplies through key coding and RFID tagging under the guise of ‘quality control.’”

This kind of control could also keep 3D material prices high in the short term.

Material lock-in may be unsustainable in the future, however, as more manufacturers enter the marketplace and users start demanding better prices. That could result in “downward price pressure,” according to the report, and a market for independent companies like MadeSolid.

First Products from the Quirky-GE Partnership

The first five products from the Quirky-GE 'Smart Home' partnership

The first five products from the Quirky-GE “Smart Home” partnership, frolicking.

Six months ago, New York domestic hardware startup Quirky and global corporate giant GE formed a partnership to share patents and create a line of “connected home” products and software.

Last week, the two companies launched their first collaborations. All are home-oriented, wi-fi-connected, and app-controlled: from an egg minder to a variation on perhaps Quirky’s greatest success: the Pivot Power flexible power strip.

The Quirky + GE page features most of them. The glue that binds them all together is “Internet of Things” software called Wink.

A recent profile in Inc. details some of Quirky’s future plans, including a new brand identity and retail stores.


This Weekend: Engadget Expand in New York City

Join the MAKE team at Engadget Expand in New York, this weekend, November 9–10 at Javits Center and Experience the Future of Technology, the theme for this premiere event.

Designed for tech enthusiasts and gadget geeks, the weekend offers an opportunity to hear from favorite consumer electronics luminaries and to get hands-on with some of the latest new devices on the show floor.

MAKE will roll out its hot-off-the-press, next-generation 3D printer guide, featuring reviews of 23 of the newest personal printers.

MAKE project leader and 3D printing guru Anna Kaziunas France (@akaziuna) will explain the elaborate review process and rigorous tests the MAKE team designed to put the printers through their paces.

The MAKE booth will spotlight some of the top performers, with the review team talking about features that elevated one printer over another, and what the price differences deliver in terms of performance and benefits.

Get your ticket today.

Mini Maker Faires

More than 70 are currently scheduled for this year, around the world. Check the Maker Faire Map to find the closest one to you.

Coming up in this month:

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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


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