Learn 2 Teach

Manufacturing Design for Locally Sold Products

What can the people in this community make that he can sell?

What can the people in this community make that he can sell?

Who makes the products sold in your local shop?  If you made something that people liked, would they buy it?  Teaming up with a local vendor is a great way to test your idea.  If you think you have a saleable product, talk with the people running the local shop.  Make a version of the product, figure out how much it would take to manufacture, then see if people are interested in buying it.  If you find that they sell, find out what the buyers like and don’t like about your product.  Change the design to address their needs.  Make some more, adjust the price if you need to, and get more feedback from the buyers and the vendor.

At some point, you should find some product that really works well.  Then you might have a different project:  How to make lots of them so that they will stay in stock in the shop.

Check out this article in the August 17 Boston Globe: Link

Product Engineering Process class at MIT Link


August 20, 2008 Posted by | innovation | , , , | Leave a comment

Modern Designers are thinking with their hands

Think with your Hands!

Think with your Hands!

There is a great article on the New York Times site about how some of today’s top designers are being encouraged to work on physical projects as a way of encouraging their creativity. Adobe is in on the action, providing designers opportunities to build devices and projects. They believe that it helps foster creativity and give insight into the needs of Adobe’s applications and systems.

New York Times Article: Link

Mentioned in the article:

How to Make (Almost) Anything: Link

Sketching in Hardware: Link

Adobe: Link

Make Magazine: Link

Tinkering School: Link

August 19, 2008 Posted by | innovation, Teaching and Learning | , , , | Leave a comment


do you pwn yr phone?

do you pwn yr phone?

Just about everybody has a phone of some kind. Some are really nice, others are really primitive. Basically, it is a computer in your pocket. On this piece of hardware are a lot of common input and output devices: Keypad, screen, earpiece and microphone, pagermotor, backlight for keyboard, connection to one or more network systems. Some phones have other things that are neat for input and output: camera for video and still photos, flash, speakerphone, even gyroscopes and global positioning systems(gps).

So if everybody has these things, and they are so powerful, why aren’t more people using them to their fullest possibilities?

This would teach us a lot about programming for real devices, and would give us the opportunity to find out how to really own the thing that is sitting in our pockets all day. Would your friends play your game, just because you made it?

Facebook Group: Link
Here is the overall concept: Link
Google Group: Link
Google Code: Link
YouTube Group: Link
Flickr Group: Link

August 17, 2008 Posted by | innovation, project | , , , | Leave a comment

Sick of buying gasoline? Go Electric!

Amp Motor Works plans to provide a service converting some Saturn car models into plug in electric cars. In their first model, the customer provides the Saturn Sky and a payment for the electric conversion. The company then takes out all the gasoline motor parts and puts in a fully electric drive train. It should get about 150 miles on a charge. The company has plans for an SUV and a 5 passenger car conversion as well.

Article about the Amp Motor Works electric conversion: Link

Amp Motor Works: Link

Want something a little more extreme? Try out the Tesla: Link

August 14, 2008 Posted by | energy, innovation, transportation | , , | 2 Comments

Design Presentations for IDDS

Several of the participants of this international conference at MIT have come to the Fab Lab for assistance in fabricating parts of their designs.  Their work is very interesting, and the presentations would be worth checking out.

Please join us on Wednesday, August 6, from 4-6pm in the Bartos Theater and
the lower-level of the Media Lab for the final celebration of the
International Development Design Summit (IDDS) at MIT.
(Bartos is located here: http://whereis.mit.edu/map-jpg?mapterms=e15)

The summit has brought more than fifty participants from over
twenty countries to MIT to spend a month learning about design and creating
technologies to improve the lives of people in the developing world.  The
participants will present their projects in Bartos Theater from 4 – 5  and
then display their prototypes at the reception that follows. This year’s
projects include:

a device for decreasing the transmission rate of HIV/AIDS from mothers to
their babies
a charcoal crushing machine to help make charcoal briquettes from carbonized
corn cobs
a rope way system to help craftswomen in the Himalayas get their products to
a pearl millet thresher
an incubator for low birth weight babies in the developing world
a super low-cost computer for educational programs
an interlocking stabilized soil block maker
a pico-hydro electric generator
a hand-held tool for isolating DNA for improving diagnostic capability
a device for generating electricity from a treadle pump

Please spread the word about this final event and feel free to invite
friends and colleagues whom you think would enjoy the gathering!

IDDS is hosted by MIT, Olin College and Cooper-Perkins, and is sponsored by
the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and
Innovators Alliance.  The Final Celebration is located in Building E15 and
is sponsored by the MIT Public Service Center — http://web.mit.edu/mitpsc/

Hope to see you there!

IDDS website- Link

D-Lab website – Link

Amy Smith is in charge of D-Lab – Link

This is a good video of one of her presentations – Link

August 5, 2008 Posted by | event, innovation, invention, justice | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solar Breakthrough Aimed at Artificial Photosynthesis

solar conversion of water to hydrogen and oxygen

solar conversion of water to hydrogen and oxygen

Scientists at MIT are working on creating a human made version of Photosynthesis. This will allow for us to generate more electricity from the sun than we currently can. At this time, their hope is to use the electricity to split water molecules into two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.

They intend to use the separated gasses like a battery, combining them later and using the resulting electricity hydrogen as needed. The electricity could be used in the home or in a plug in automobile.

Article in Technology Review: Link

Printable version of the article: Link

MIT News Article: Link

Video: Link

August 3, 2008 Posted by | innovation | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Innovation from the South Shore

photo of Back Bay filled in during the 1880\'s using Otis Steam Shovels, invented in Canton Ma

photo of Back Bay filled in during the 1880’s using Otis Steam Shovels, invented in Canton Ma

In the July 3 Globe South section of the Boston Globe is an article about some of the important innovations that have happened just South of Boston.

Some highlights:

1927, Dr. William Hinton, son of former slaves, developed a test for syphilus, one of the most challenging diseases of his time. Dr. Hinton became the first black professor at Harvard Medical School and was a pioneer in preventative medicine.

1836, William Otis of Canton invented the steam shovel, Otis steam shovels were used to fill in the Back Bay. Before his invention, construction workers did not have easy access to the powerful leverage of pneumatic and hydraulic energy systems in their tools.

1890’s, King Gillette The founder of the Gillette corporation came up with the idea for the disposable razor while vacationing in Hull.

1906, Reginald Fessenden developed the first system to transmit voice and music over radio waves. His broadcast of Christmas Eve that year was heard by ships’ radio operators all across the Atlantic. Before that time, they had only communicated via morse code, a language of short and long beeps.

1937, Ruth Wakefield, through experimentation and making do with different materials invented the chocolate chip cookie at the Tollhouse Inn in Whitman.

More Information:

Here is a link to the article: Link

The Boston History and Innovation Collaborative: Link

School for Champions Biography of King Gillette: Link

Boston Breakthroughs: Link

Steam Shovel information: Link

A bio of Dr. Hinton: Link

William Otis on Wikipedia – The polish version has more information (go figure): Link

Back Bay history – Link

July 18, 2008 Posted by | innovation, invention, local history | , , , , , , | Leave a comment