Self taught teen from Sierra Leone invited to MIT Media Lab

Youngest visiting practitioner at 16 years old runs a radio station he built himself
At 16 years of age, Kelvin Doe or DJ Focus is the youngest person ever to be invited to MIT Media Lab as a Visiting Practitioner. Even more remarkable is that Doe lives in Sierra Leone, an African nation on the path to recovery from civil war, and he’s already an accomplished, self taught maker. Prior to his visit, he had never traveled more than 10 miles from his town.
Doe was given the opportunity to spend three weeks at MIT as part of their International Development Initiative program, after becoming a finalist in Innovate Salone. Innovate Salone’s a contest started by fellow Sierra Leone local and PhD candidate at MIT David Sengeh to challenge and stimulate young people to solve many of the complex issues of their country which has recently emerged from a decade long civil conflict. (more…)

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Low-Tech Factory: Animal Growth

Simple technologies enable objects to take form before your eyes

One of the gorgeous explorations from the students at ECAL, the University of Art and Design Lausanne, Animal Growth challenges the automated production processes that most designers have come to rely on.

In Animal Growth, simple hand tools are utilised to break down the manufacturing process of expanded foam animal toys. Templates that enable an operator to cut, glue, and fill the animal form have the appearance of something much more refined than the prototyping model-shop roots that these techniques would suggest.

The Low-Tech Factory projects were recently exhibited as a part of a local design festival, and showcased six fun, unique production processes. Each project is supported by an engaging video of the process in action, where you can really get a taste for the physicality of the forms as they come to life before your eyes.

“Students look at showcasing the manufacturing process of an object, from the machine to the finished product.”

Click through to see the Animal Growth clip, and we’ve also thrown in the other quirky Low-Tech Factory videos. They’re just too good to skip over.

(more…)

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3D printing to help restore and protect marine life

3D printing sustainable ocean blocks

3d printed reef units

An Australian company Sustainable Oceans International, has become the first in the world to develop artificial reefs using large construction size 3D printers.

Demand on global fish stocks, pollution, increasing ocean acidification and climate change are all making their impact on ocean life and reef systems around the world. Notable in Australia, is that the Great Barrier Reef has already lost half of its coral. As reefs provide an important home for marine life in the world’s oceans there is an increasing awareness of the need to protect these unique systems. (more…)

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Hummingbird is a ‘pre-Arduino’ for kids

Making it even easier to get into electronics

We all know and love Arduino, and what it has done for the rapidly growing world of DIY electronics. Yet the complexities of Arduino can be a bit much for young makers, and education enthusiast Tom Lauwers just may have the answer to harness that creativity while it is still fresh.

Heralded as a kind of “pre-Arduino”, the Hummingbird kit from Birdbrain consists of a custom controller that connects to a range of motors, sensors and lights that allow kids to build their own functional robots and more.

“…the Hummingbird controller is designed for kids who have never touched electronics or programming before.”

It’s really easy to get started making fully functional electronic devices, but don’t take our word for it. Click through to the source where Tom talks it all through in a neat clip featuring an animatronic cardboard dragon made by some 10 year old kids. Now that’s seriously fun.

Hummingbird via Engadget

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Wood-based 3D printing filament that can print wood grain

If it looks like wood, smells like wood, and works like wood, is it wood?

LAYWOO-D3 is a wood-based 3D printing filament by inventor Kai Parthy intended for the RepRap and (possibly) similar machines. It is 40% recycled wood with binding polymers for the remainder.

3D printing with wood is remarkable enough, but this filament has the ability to mimic wood grain by varying the temperature of the print head. A temperature of 180 degrees Celcius produces a light color and 245 degrees Celcius produces a darker color. After printing, the “wood” can be cut, ground, and painted.

LAYWOO-D3 is currently available for sale via eBay and German RepRap GmbH in a 3mm thickness in small, trial amounts.
(more…)

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Center pivot pen plotter

Unique CNC drawing machine: Is this the shape of things to come?

There is no shortage of DIY CNC and 3D printing devices, and although some do stand out from the crowd, they all tend to follow a geometry that is becoming quite familiar. Setting out to change this paradigm, Canadian techno-sculptor David Bynoe conceived of a CNC plotter that is focused around polar coordinates.

The Center Pivot Pen Plotter has only one arm that spins on a base, and moves in and out from a central point.

“It gives you a very large drawing surface with a minimum of moving parts compared to a standard x,y Cartesian plotter.”

Drawing inspiration from the notable dual polar Eggbot and Polargraph examples, David has gone one step further in simplifying the mechanism by using only a single polar coordinate system. This creates special challenges, but the code that drives the Arduino-equipped device has been written to compensate for geometric distortions. As the video after the break shows, he’s done remarkably well…

“The goal was to get it working and then worry about making it pretty, which I will get to eventually.”

(more…)

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3D printed exoskeletal support

Exo-Skeletons no longer mere sci-fiMagicArms 3D printed exoskeleton

In the realm of science fiction (Aliens, Halo, Iron Man, etc) exo-skeletal suits have long enabled humans to exert super human force and endure arduous conditions. But for Emma Lavelle, a young girl that was born with a condition called arthrogryposis – wearing a 3D printed external support structure is a reality to enable her to carry out everyday tasks that able bodied people would perhaps take for granted. (more…)

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TED: Massimo Banzi talks Arduino

How Arduino is Open Source Imagination

Arduino has arguably done more to change the DIY electronic landscape than any other open source device. We’ve often encountered this modular hardware wonder, popping up as an integral component in many 3D printers as well as being at the core of some of our favourite DIY projects.

In the trademark affable manner that he is famous for, Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi talks through the ever-widening scope of this versatile system.

“(Arduino is) …the equivalent of sketching on paper, done with electronics”

From the humble beginnings in an Italian cafe to an incredible diversity of projects being run by all kinds of hackers, makers, enthusiasts and professionals… whether it’s the pre-teen kids tinkering in their bedrooms, high-school students sending satellites into orbit or multi-million dollar global corporations pushing the boundaries of scientific discoveries; Arduino can be found at the heart of a new revolution.

Watch this neat 15 minute TED talk overview from Massimo Banzi, on Arduino’s role in the new paradigm of Open Source Imagination.

via TED

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Open source filament maker

Plans now available for the Filabot WeeFilabot prototype

You might remember Tyler McNaney’s Filabot, the personal filament maker, we featured earlier in the year that about his Kickstarter campaign to raise money for development costs. The machine is designed to recycle plastic waste into filaments for use in 3d printing. (more…)

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Harness the Bullduino

Red Bull calls out to makers

Big ideas tend to emerge when the pressure is on, and the challenge has been set for designers from across the globe to battle it out in a 72 hour maker competition.

Celebrating the ingenuity of makers everywhere, Red Bull Creation will see twelve teams respond to an as-yet undisclosed theme in a high octane online competition. The winners will not only receive $10,000 cash for their efforts, they will also be invited to attend the 2012 Maker Faire in New York City.

Registration is now open, so if you think you’ve got what it takes… enter your details to receive the Bullduino customized Arduino board. The goal is to show your making skills by utilising this board and uploading a video of your outcome. Impress the judges for a chance to be chosen as one of the twelve finalists.

“The real action takes place while the dozen “chosen ones” work simultaneously in their own workshops, hackerspaces or homes to innovate around a common theme.”

The official competition site is a fun little journey down memory lane, with a retro OS interface that will leave you feeling like the 21st century is still decades away. Don’t let that fool you, though – there is likely to be some serious technology at hand when the contest kicks off between July 19-22.

Red Bull Creation via Wired

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