May 16, 2018
We took Cardbots to the 5th international conference on communications and technology for sustainability in Toronto, at the Autodesk Technical Space.
The conference brings together a wide variety of companies and organizations focusing on ICT effects on sustainability and developers of sustainable ICT systems or applications. The conferences feature an innovative format for presenting new research, focusing on participation and conversation rather than passive listening.
We went to talk about maker-spaces, and showcase our construction kits, as a sustainable low-barrier means to introducing people into the core aspects of mechanical design.
While there, I was fortunate to meet attendees from educational facilities and maker-spaces across a half-dozen countries who provided a lot of positive feedback, particularly after seeing footage of the kits in use at the Maker Educator Event, The Ganymede Incident, an in use at the Ontario Science Center.
It was also interesting comparing notes and exchanging information.
It seems that Europe has a similar issue to North America - a general decline in the availability of people qualified to work in the trades. One delegate from Formlabs in the U.K. talked at length about that organization's efforts to address this issue.
At the heart of it lies an effort to help people think in a cross-disciplinary manner, understanding that physical design and fabrication are often part-and-parcel with other trades like programming.
Education struggles with similar issues. Speaking with delegates from New Zealand and Sweden I hear about their organization's willingness and ability to set up hack-labs and maker-spaces. What holds them back is a lack of qualified instruction.
Cardbots are simple by design. By keeping them low-cost, reproducible, easy to iterate with and distribute, we are hoping to erase some of the pain of setting up cross-disciplinary maker spaces.
With Cardbots, educators get a helping-hand, even if they are new to the maker scene, and experiential education.