Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fab6: Industrial [r]Evolution

I just got back from the 6th (almost) annual FabLab conference in Amsterdam and other sites throughout the Netherlands..   The FabLabs in general, and running the Boston FabLab, have been a big source of the inspiration and ideas behind Modkit, so it was great to be able to attend the conference and share our work with the growing network of labs..

It was also great to catch up with old friends and make new ones..  I was especially impressed with the growing network within the Netherlands as well as the individual labs I visited..  The picture above (photo by Matt Cottam)  is from one of the short Modkit demos I ran, going over the visual editor as well as the Modkit Crimp Cards and Modkit MotoProto Shield (coming soon from  Can't wait until Fab7 next year!

A Modkit Year

It's been over a year since I've updated this blog.. It's not that Modkit is dead. Quite the contrary, I've (or should I say we've - more below) been very busy simply implementing things, testing with early users, and traveling to get the word out and build collaborations and partnerships..

Here's a quick year in review to give you an idea what's been happening with Modkit:

Last Fall, I headed out to the Mini-Maker Faire in Providence Rhode Island put on by Brian Jepson and Kipp Bradford (We're actually heading out to the second annual RI Maker Faire later this afternoon). After meeting and being impressed by designer Collin Reisdorf at the Boston Fab Lab, I brought him on as a consultant to add some UI features to the editor.. We ended up reimplementing the whole Modkit front-end and Collin officially joined the Modkit team later in the spring.. Here's the updated look of the interface:

With the new interface settling, we started bringing on outside Alpha testers in the winter.. Later in the spring, we attended the Cambridge Mini-Maker Faire as part of the Cambridge(MA) Science Festival and then headed out to the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA.. Here's Collin talking to some Maker Faire attendees in CA:

Almost as a joke, we decided to make little business cards with room for electronic sensors and actuators that could highlight how easy it was to use the Modkit editor with an Arduino compatible board to create some interactions. That joke caught on and turned into the Modkit Crimp Cards which provide a fun and intuitive way to connect external components without needing to solder or learn about breadboards:

Well that's the condensed version of a Modkit Year! There were other highlights and happenings such as Sketching in Hardware 10 in LA, Ed being accepted into Leah Beuchley's High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab, and the Fab6 conference in the Netherlands (just got back so I'll do another post).. Of course there's a lot more in the works and soon to come!