We at MakeTank have been keeping an eye on developments in the makers' movement worldwide. Every two months we bring you the coolest of these.

It's all OK

In September, Helsinki hosted the world's first Open Knowledge Festival (OK Festival). Its 2012 theme was Open Knowledge in Action, looking at the value that can be generated by opening up knowledge, the ecosystems of organisations that can benefit from such sharing, and the impacts transparency can have in our societies.  Check out the video archive of the online streaming, hours and hours of educational fun.

55,000 curious people

Speaking of events, Make Mag has declared official numbers for World Maker Faire: there were 650 Makers and 55,000 attendees. Just sayin'. That's pretty good. We'd love to hear some more intangible results - anyone go and want to write us a summary?

17 year olds can build robots

Arduino presented their latest products at Maker Faire, including the Arduino Due that we already posted about, the soon-to-be-released WiFi module, and the upcoming Arduino Robot System which was "designed by a pair of 17-year-old RoboCup champions from the Complubot robotics team" (source: engadget). We are incredibly impressed by this video.

 Time to take note

We're always keeping track of the presence of Makers in mainstream press and are pretty psyched about this article in Time magazine, even if it didn't tell us anything we didn't know. But now the moms and dads of normal America have heard of Makers for sure!

Printed Optics

printed optics

A 3D printed mobile projector accessory with embedded light pipes. Projected imagery is mapped onto the character’s eyes.

The folks at Disney Research Labs are working on printed optics within entirely 3D printed interactive devices, and have published a research paper (that you can read online) on this topic. Lower prices and advancements in 3D printing is the driving element behind this research that moves towards replacing assembly with printing:

"Custom optical elements have traditionally been expensive and impractical to produce due to the manufacturing precision and finishing required. Recent developments in 3D printing technology have enabled the fabrication of high resolution transparent plastics with similar optical properties to plexiglasTM. One-off 3D printed optical elements can be designed and fabricated literally within minutes for significantly less cost than conventional manufacturing."

The Printed Optics project is being developed at Disney Research Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University by Karl D.D. Willis, Eric Brockmeyer, Scott Hudson, and Ivan Poupyrev.

UK grants for 3D printing

When people get the sense that 3D printing can boost business, not just companies but governments' ears perk up. Like in the UK, where a combination of research councils (technology but also arts and humanities) are offering grants for collaborative R&D in this field. 7 million pounds is up for grabs. The competition is set to open in early December, 2012. We read about it here.

See you on Mulberry Street

The MakerBot store - Image via Futureretail.it

While we're at it, we seem to give too much MakerBot news, but we can't not mention that in September, they opened up a store in New York at 298 Mulberry Street. As we mentioned when we wrote about 3D printers in a museum, so few people have seen one at work, so a physical presence serves to attract people to the movement and generate exposure towards a general public.



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