“Makers” tools and processes: towards a new industrial revolution
Butlletí KiiCS: Knowledge Incubation in Innovation and Creation for Science
Often referred to as the possible 4th industrial revolution, the “makers” movement, is giving rise to a new kind of artisan working with the tools of our era: 3D printers, open source platforms, co-creation tools combined with digital competences and creative skills are giving people the possibility to explore intersections between traditionally separate domains including IT, design, fashion, film making, and computer programming. Makers are led by a “Do-It-Yourself” culture based on community interaction and knowledge sharing often mediated through networked technologies, websites and social media tools as well as by shared spaces such as hackspaces or fab labs. Companies are increasingly adopting production tools that have been first experimented in fab labs. In other cases, young fashion designers have started new lines of production by using 3D printers and new materials, after testing them in makers’ spaces. In the near future, the Makers community may push the manufacturing sector as a whole towards the adoption of truly innovative production models based on openness, creativity, experimentation and multidisciplinarity.
The European FP7 project KiiCS (Knowledge Incubation in Innovation and Creation for Science) is fully taking part in the shaping of this new “maker” philosophy. Through fab labs, hackathons, competitions and prototyping workshops, it is instilling adults and young adults to express their artistic and scientific creativity to ultimately “make” something new and relevant to local communities.
Making Adults Make
Hackathons, events gathering software developers and other creative individuals to jointly conceive new apps or prototypes, in a short period of time (usually one or two days), have proven to be a successful formula to bring together people with different backgrounds and inspire them to co-develop around one specific topic. (…)
In Spain, the Music Technology Group from Universitat Pompeu Fabra organised the Neuro-Music Hack Day (n+MHD) with the collaboration of Science Communication Observatory (OCC), also from UPF. The event consisted in a 24-hour competition around music and neuroscience that took place within the internationally renowned Sonar Festival. A total of 100 participants —including artists, hackers, musicians and neuroscientists— competed through their creations for one of the three prizes, awarded by the jury to the projects Syncopathy, which enables small robots to play Israeli drums on the basis of neurological and physiological signals; Blow up, a videogame where the character’s movements are controlled by the respiratory flow and heart rate of the player; and p300 Harmonies, an app with which users can modify the pitch and harmony of music using brain signals.
Fab labs, which are open urban co-creation spaces making available infrastructure, digital production technologies —such as 3D printers— and a network for sharing and further developing the knowledge generated, represent another interesting platform to stimulate people to connect and “make”. Fondazione IDIS (IT) contributed to African Fabbers, a temporary, itinerant and experimental Fab lab within the Marrakech Biennale 2014 that animated the old city center with urban performances, open talks and 2 workshops.
The workshops enabled participants to learn how to make and use their own low cost 3D printer as well as how to make big scale 3D-printed prototypes, and create ecological prototypes through an advanced craftsmanship approach for sustainable living. The project involved in total 28 participants, which were supported by 6 brokers from the scientific and cultural and creative sector.