Starting the research into the maker movement has been exciting and eye opening. Within our group we have been sharing our findings on prototyping and the maker community.
DIY, MAKER COMMUNITIES & PROTOTYPING
The Industrial Revolution had a huge impact on our way of life and we are now coming into a new revolution of shared knowledge and information. This is what allows for groups such as the 'maker community' to form. With tutorials, parts, experts and technology at the click of a button its easy to start making one-of-a-kind projects on your own. There are obviously still limitations to this movement, as technology can be complicated, the tools require special skills and the drive to make something might be lacking.
One of the maker movement communities that I found intriguing was brought to my attention by Nathaniel Nudson and it is an event that goes on by the title of 'Burning Man'. Just to get into the spirit of maker movement I did some research on the Burning Man and it is a huge event of 60,000 people who gather in the desert and collaborate to make what seems to be a temporary city where everyone is free to create and self-express.
"For a lot of people who aren't here, this is just a big party in the desert. But really it's a place where you can explore the possibilities of what we would create on this world if we weren't so busy with out 9 to 5" [Line from the Movie Spark: A Burning Man Story]
I came across a documentary called Spark: A Burning Man Story that goes behind the scenes with the organizers and participants from the event. I plan to watch this just to view a new branch of the maker community that I know very little about.
Prototyping is another one-of-a-kind way of making things. Often prototypes are used for testing a form or function and are used as a development stage in the design process. This is an area I have hands on experience in and an understanding of through school, but it is something I plan to look further into in the following weeks. (image: https://www.facebook.com/burningmanstory/photos_stream)
Luc Lalande came to talk to the Maker Movement group last week, and unfortunately I was not able to attend this meeting. In working with the rest of the group they told me he suggested we attend a meeting at Artengine this week.. so thats exactly what the 4 of us did.
I had no idea what to expect when we arrived at the Artengine meeting. 7pm on Wednesday evening we walked into a small room fill with all sorts of gadgets. There was a variety of people there, and this was a great chance to talk to people who love to be a part of this kind of community. Almost every person we talked to had some type of engineering background or something similar. There was an unbelievable amount of projects housed in that one room. There were so many cool things that came from people tinkering with code and technology, and the result, was a huge variety! There were 3D printers, LED lights being programed, DrawBots (which I found particularly intriguing), and many other projects going on. Having very little knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering I felt a little out of place at this meeting, but I quickly felt very accepted and realized how much I could learn from the people who surrounded me. Everyone was there because this is something that interested them, but everyone there seemed to have their own unique branch of the maker movement that sparked an interest within them.
One of my favourite designers is Scott Summit and he has been a huge inspiration to the direction of this project. He founded Bespoke Innovations 3 years ago which is a company that uses 3D scanning and 3D printing technology to create customizable prosthetic devices. More on Bespoke can be found here: http://www.bespokeinnovations.com Summit has a lecture that I watched on youtube and he talks about how the mass production era is coming to an end, and the new emerging technology we have allows us to think and design in a whole different way. He believes in designing for a purpose - "putting these new technologies to use to design something meaningful" [Scott Summit] More on Summit's talk can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0HCaZQh9DM
I hope to follow Summits design philosophy and find a way to use the technology and concept of prototyping and maker communities to design something meaningful that will be a step to a better future of design.
CRADLE TO CRADLE
Two years ago I picked up the book Cradle to Cradle and the concept of the book has really stuck with me, esepcially when considering myself as a designer. I have started to re-read the book, reconnecting with all of the problems the book pin points about the most common current model for design - cradle to grave. I have a personal interest in sustainable design, stemming from my minor in Technology, Society and Environmental Studies. This book in particular shows how important sustainable design is, and how far away we are from accomplishing truly sustainable methods of design.
In trying to find an intersection between prototyping / maker movement and sustainability I have decided to research deeper into the concept of biomimicry. Biomimicry is when a man-made system or product mimics the functions / aesthetics of something that can be found in nature. A classic example of biomimicry is how solar panels mimic the function of photosynthesis found in plants.
I have started to read the book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature by Janine Benyus to get deeper insights about the process of biomimicry and how its application can be beneficial. I also plan to meet with Jeff Dawson from the Carleton Biology Department to talk further about the interdisciplinary research between our two departments.
Overall, the first week of research has me very excited to move forward with this project and continue my research. For anyone following this blog you my contact me by email at email@example.com if you have any comments.