Maker Pro News: Canary in a Coal Mine, Cubibot, and More

3D Printing & Imaging Digital Fabrication Internet of Things Technology
Maker Pro News: Canary in a Coal Mine, Cubibot, and More

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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

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.

Fabrication Frontiers

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.

Also in the fabrication space: OMAX (@OMAXCorpintroduced a personal waterjet this week, called protoMAX, that builds on the excitement around last year’s Wazer (@wazercut).

And the internet is also buzzing about the mysterious Peel 3D — its logo: a banana — which has been teasing a $6,000, barcode-style 3D scanner that some believe could be a game changer for the space.

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 Kickstarterraised 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 (@snowgoliinterviewed 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.”

A new space for hardware startups called Circuit Launch, which has backing from Type A Machines (@typeamachines), kicked off last week in Oakland — and it looks like a heck of a space.

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 StarsWolfram Donat published a detailed breakdownof the board.

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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

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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