Sensemakers: the IoT meet-up + scholarship.

By Anna Kinneir

Twice a month on Wednesday evenings we host an Internet of Things meetup – Sensemakers. Together we are launching an IoT scholarship. It offers 3-months free rent to an individual / company that is changing the world using IoT. 

We spoke with Manon Den Dunnen; the woman pushing this community forward into the future (with Jonathan and Maurice), to introduce the community and mission…

Sensemakers started out in 2011 as a community driven learning platform for meaningful open hardware creation. Six years on it is still driven by volunteers from different backgrounds. Now that the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming mainstream we see that people from a greater variety of backgrounds are joining. We have reached almost 5000 members now! Nowadays their talks and projects cover all aspects of IoT, starting out with a sensor to measure something, resulting in meaningful information in a dashboard or a meaningful application for people. The first Wednesday of the month members meet to work on projects, the third Wednesday we typically have lectures and/or a hands-on workshop. 

It’s called Sensemakers because we want people to take privacy, security and the greater good into account.

We’re grateful to Makerversity for hosting us since 2016. It’s great to be among the network of like-minded individuals and see the exchange of ideas. We also have access to all their appliances and tools.

In our meetup we want people to gain experience, a network and the knowledge of what is possible in their own context. That’s why our first projects were about air quality. and this year some of our members have done a project on water quality. Projects are open for everybody to learn and contribute their talents. We love open minded people from different backgrounds joining in. This is because it is on the intersection of expertise (diversity) that a lot of new ideas rise!

One of the initiatives that originated in our meetup is The Things Network, we’re very proud of these members that started out 3 years ago to collaborate together and are now a movement that is building an open internet of things network worldwide. The part of being about open hardware creation is very important, it offers people worldwide the opportunity to apply new technology at low costs and empower them to create do-it-yourself solutions for local and even world problems.

The same accounts for privacy and security. For a lot of companies the business model behind IoT-products is gathering and selling data about users and usage for profiling. And with the functionality of products being transferred to the cloud, concepts like ownership change.

We try to contribute to awareness on topics including data ownership by promoting or engaging in initiatives like dowse.org and #IoTMark.

For the near future we are looking forward to start long term cooperations with partners that create extra opportunities for our members. We are very proud of the Scholarship opportunity Makerversity. But we’re also looking into projects in the city we can join and excursions to special IoT-related companies and (smart city) projects. Our challenge now is to broaden our volunteer base, so we can organise more and also finish our website & sharing platform.

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Anna Kinneir
Posted By Anna Kinneir
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