Tag Archives: innovation

Interview With Marco Perry of PENSA About The DIWire

Marco Perry is co-founder of PENSA, a New York consultancy that designs and improves products. It wouldn’t be too far off to say that innovation is his business. A short while ago Pensa designed, demonstrated and then open sourced an automatic wire forming printer. In case you aren’t familiar with it, here’s an overview:

The DIWire has attracted a lot of attention and Pensa is even planning on unveiling an improved version at the 2012 Maker Faire. Openalia sat down with Mr. Perry for a quick discussion of the DIWire specifically, and open source hardware in general.

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US Gov Jumps on 3D Printing Bandwagon with National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

Well 3D printing has officially sold out. The Pentagon is going to fund a new program called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). It will be 15 institutes which will each serve as a hub for “manufacturing excellence.” It will be managed by the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce’s NIST, the National Science Foundation, and friends.

Wanna read President Obama’s speech on the subject? Of course you don’t, so here are the important bits:

I’m laying out my plans for a new National Network of Manufacturing Innovation –- and these are going to be institutes of manufacturing excellence where some of our most advanced engineering schools and our most innovative manufacturers collaborate on new ideas, new technology, new methods, new processes…To do that, we need Congress to act.  Hmm.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s true.  (Laughter.)  But that doesn’t mean we have to hold our breath.  We’re not going to wait — we’re going to go ahead on our own.  Later this year, we’re going to choose the winner of a competition for a pilot institute for manufacturing innovation — help them get started…And sparking this network of innovation across the country – it will create jobs and it will keep America in the manufacturing game.  Of course, there’s more we can do to seize this moment of opportunity to create new jobs and manufacturing here in America.

An interesting note from the Request for Information is that, “Each Institute will have a clear focus area that does not overlap with those of the other Institutes. The focus area could be an advanced material, a manufacturing process, an enabling technology, or an industry sector. The federal government does not intend to create or provide a complete list of focus areas for the NNMI. The NNMI solicitation will invite applicants to propose such areas.” The RFI offers additive manufacturing as the first example of a potential focus area.

This whole thing will be overseen by the brand new Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office which will be hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The FY13 budget (pdf) “makes available” $1 billion to help the NNMI establish an “ecosystem” of manufacturing activity.

Hopefully this endeavor will manufacture more than just acronyms.

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Eben Moglen Keynote, “Innovation under Austerity”

Eben Moglen is a professor of law at Columbia Law School, Founding Director of the Software Freedom Law Center, and the leader of the FreedomBox Project. This is his keynote address to the F2C: Freedom to Connect conference.

Here are some excerpts by Stephen Bloch:

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Help Wikispeed Raise Funds for the 100 mpg C3

Wikispeed is doing awesome.

The thing about open source hardware, like the Wikispeed car, is that it costs a lot more than software. For example, crash testing a prototype car costs $10,000! That means Wikispeed needs money and volunteers to join the existing international, 150 member team. With more resources, Wikispeed can produce the next generation. The Comfy, Commuter Car (C3) will be a direct replacement for your existing car.

However, it will be able to get 100 miles per gallon and you will be able to upgrade the car’s modular components so that it can grow with your needs or new technology.

Campaign Page on Indigogo

They just started their Indigogo campaign. They have 65 days to raise the $52,500 they need to get the first practical 100mpg car on the road. Major auto manufacturers can’t even mass produce a 50mpg car for $50k.

Reward Tiers:

  • $25 – your name on the car that will be displayed at the Future of Flight Innovation Center at Boeing’s Paine Field.
  • $100 – Above + thanked in a personalized video posted on Wikispeed’s website.
  • $500 – Above + get to vote on the styling of the C3 interior and exterior.
  • $5,000 – Above + training as a Certified Agile Project Manager for you and nine others, customized to your goals. This is the same Extreme Manufacturing (XM) process Wikispeed uses.
  • $10,000 – Above + vote with the Wikispeed Board of Advisors and have your name on the next 100 cars Wikispeed produces.

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Hardware Innovation Workshop

Do we really need more gatherings for people to talk about innovation? Yes. Yes we do.

Make Magazine is hosting a bunch of people to talk about, “shaping the future of manufacturing and the global economy.” Sounds good to me. A bit of hyperbole never hurt anyone.

Personally I think it would be more accurate to put “business” or “profit” somewhere in the name of the convention. As you can tell from the lineup of presenters, this is primarily a for-profit networking event.

  • Kai Backman, Co-Founder & CEO of Tinkercad
  • Massimo Banzi, Co-Founder of Arduino
  • Carl Bass, President & CEO of Autodesk
  • Ayah Bdeir, Founder of littleBits
  • Greg Borenstein, author of Making Things See: 3D vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot
  • Liam Casey, Founder & CEO PCH International
  • Allan Chochinov, Partner & Editor-in-Chief of Core77
  • Jeremy Conrad, Co-Founder of Lemnos Lab
  • Ben Einstein, Principal of Bolt Accelerator Program
  • Brad Feld, Co-Founder of Foundry Group
  • Travis Good, Co-Chair of Hardware Innovation Workshop
  • Ted Hall, Founder & CEO of ShopBot
  • Mark Hatch, Co-Founder & CEO of TechShop
  • Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, Founder of Chumby
  • Zach Kaplan, CEO of Inventables
  • Tod Kurt, Co-Founder of ThingM
  • Catarina Mota, Co-Founder of openMaterials
  • Tim O’Reilly, Founder & CEO of O’Reilly Media
  • Bre Pettis, Co-Founder of MakerBot Industries
  • Bryce Roberts, Co-Founder of OATV
  • Jay Rogers, Founder & CEO of Local Motors
  • Nathan Seidle, Owner & CEO of SparkFun Electronics
What I wanna know is who let that guy in? Apparently, “Greg Borenstein is an artist and researcher in New York.” He seems a bit out of place in a list of CEOs, partners and founders. Oh, wait, “He recently finished writing a book for O’Reilly about the Microsoft Kinect, titled: Making Things See: 3D vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot.” O’Reilly Media publishes Make Magazine, and is hosting the event. I wonder if he’s going to wear a shirt without a collar just to mess with everyone else.
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In Pursuit of a Mobile Place for Making Things

Often a person’s creativity can exceed their means.

If we assume that innovation benefits the entire world, then it makes sense to bring the tools necessary for innovation to the people who can take advantage of them. Why should a great idea stay locked up in someone’s head just because they don’t have a garage or because they can’t afford a 4-axis CNC milling machine? Why should a promising concept wither on the vine just because someone can’t drive 30 minutes to meet with people who can help them develop it?

TJ McCue suggested in Forbes that we start, “Creating a mini mobile makerspace that can be built again and again, almost like an open source RepRap, by small dedicated teams.” He didn’t specifically mention it, but I assume the reference to RepRap is meant to imply that the mobile makerspace could be self-reproducing.

Wouldn’t that be a great tool for increasing the pace of innovation and the penetration of open source philosophy? It could start out as a simple structure that is made with the fabrication tools which then packages them up and transports them. Over time, as more DIY fabrication tools are available, the whole thing could be bootstrapped from almost nothing. Then it could make an exact copy of itself! Kind of like an ultra-small version of Open Source Ecology’s Global Village Construction Set.

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