Makers with a Mission Spring 2019

By Esther Ellard

Makers with a Mission

Supporting makers has always been at the heart of what we do. Our Makers with a Mission residency gives early stage creatives and start up’s an opportunity to explore their practice on their own terms. Whether they need time to explore and test material processes, iterate designs or develop a business model. This residency is an opportunity to get started as a professional maker without committing to high overheads. 

Our focus is on Makers who are value driven and are looking to challenge society’s ideas and behaviours through the things they make. They might be exploring disruptive manufacturing processes, design for climate change or innovating within healthcare. All projects have an ethical, sustainable or social agenda at their core.


Cobra Crutch

– What is your current mission?

Having had to use crutches on numerous occasions I have realised that crutches are a necessary part of the lives of those with reduced mobility and those recovering from injury. Crutches in their current form have been around for a very long time and have remained largely unchanged. Current crutch designs have been proven to inhibit full recovery, induce nerve damage, and cause accidents.
The Cobra Crutch completely re-invents the forearm and the platform crutch, incorporating more features than any crutch before it.
These changes make it a vital assistive device for long-term crutch users and users looking for improved rehabilitation times with minimal impact on their body’s natural gait and motor patterns.

– Why is this mission important now?

The Cobra Crutch has huge potential to have a lasting impact and drastically improve the lives of long term users while reducing rehabilitation times for short term users.

– What inspires you?

I am inspired by the chance of making a lasting impact through design, my particular inspiration for this project stems from personal experience of using mobility aids and from meeting people dealing with life-long mobility disorders who this design could really help.

– Why do you make?

I make to solve problems through design. Being able to have access to the excellent workshops and knowledge of the technicians at the Makerversity will hugely expand the possibilities of my design.

– What are you hoping to achieve through this residency?

During this 6 month residency I aim to fully finalise the design, secure funding in order to complete the first production prototype, learn as much as possible from the community of makers that is the Makerversity and their network.

 

Find out more about Cobra Crutch here


Ksoni

– What is your current mission?

Kṣoṇī is a sustainable body care brand on a mission to extend the eco-mindset from the kitchen to the bathroom via unique, plastic-free packaging. Our aim is to offer consumers the opportunity to access premium & natural bathroom products whilst simultaneously reducing their use of single-use plastics. Ultimately we want to make a positive impact on the war against plastic waste.

– Why is this mission important now?

Awareness of plastic waste is at an all-time high and consumers are ready to take action. In the past few years society has started taking steps to reducing plastic waste in the kitchen through actions such as investing in reusable water bottles and coffee cups, replacing cling film for reusable wraps and banning straws, but there are limited options to do the same in the bathroom. In fact, whilst 90% of products are recycled in the kitchen, only 50% are recycled in the bathroom. We are on a mission to change that.

– What inspires you?

We are especially inspired by creative people who actively seek to make a positive impact on people and planet.

– Why do you make?

We make to share our ideas with the world, to push our creativity to the limit and to have fun!

– What you are hoping to achieve through this residency?

Working in the Makerversity community will allow us to be surrounded by other makers where we hope to share knowledge and exchange experiences and expertise. We are especially excited to partner with like-minded makers to explore and develop innovative materials that could be used in future Kṣoṇī ranges.

 

Find out more about Ksoni here


Abnormal Design

– What is your current mission?

Our mission is to leverage algorithms in design to enable a new generation of digitally manufactured objects. We use algorithms to build new digital tools for creating designs that are shaped inherently by their environment. By driving forms with data, we give CAD a context. We could, for example, tune a speaker to the dimensions of a specific room or generate tiles with bio-receptive properties for a given ecosystem. In the long term we hope to design symbiotic structures and products which blend the output of human manufacturing with habitats for other organisms.

– Why is this mission important now?

The development of the technology behind algorithmic design has a huge range of applications stretching from medical design to green infrastructure. Algorithmic design enables us to move away from less is more and towards more functional and contextualised forms. By leveraging specific digital manufacturing methods such as additive manufacture (3D printing) and embodying the data of specific circumstances, algorithmic objects allow for a reduction in material use along with broader functionality and adaptability.

– What inspires you?

We are inspired by the complexity and adaptability of the natural systems around us and the potential of digital fabrication to break the boundary between artificial and natural. Another source of inspiration is the extension of traditional craftsmanship to 21st century digital making. Lastly the work of Neri Oxman, Manuel deLanda and Brian Eno.

– Why do you make?

The impact we have on the world around us has always been guided by the tools and objects we create. Today it is more important than ever to acknowledge the power of physical objects to change the world around us. There is also a great deal of personal satisfaction to be gotten from creating and building physical objects as an accumulation of ideas and processes.

– What you are hoping to achieve through this residency?

We hope to connect and work with all the talented and inspiring people at Makerversity. By collaborating and learning from the aims of others we will generate a portfolio of objects and tools which illustrates the power of our methodology to improve the design process and facilitate new ways of working.

 

Find out more about Abnormal Design here


Twin Paradox

– What is your current mission?

We are developing the technologies needed to get quantum and atomic sensors and instruments out of scientific research labs and into the everyday world. The main part of this is building stabilised laser systems that are small and robust enough to work in field environments, and ultimately even in space. We want to build instruments that can be used by (almost) anyone, anywhere, not just highly experienced researchers in major research laboratories.

– Why is this mission important now?

Stabilised laser systems can not only be used for pure scientific experiments, but also as sensors and instruments in other fields – if they are robust enough, small enough, and cheap enough. These fields include some of the crucial challenges of today: gravity and greenhouse-gas instruments for environmental monitoring, quantum magnetometers for brain imaging, and optical clocks that can improve our navigation on Earth and in space.

– What inspires you?

I like to bring together methods from different scientific fields, applying techniques and technologies from one field to another – like using atomic physics approaches with components from the telecoms sector to develop better monitoring equipment for climate change.

– Why do you make?

I make what I wish already existed! In designing what I need to be able to study quantum mechanics or atomic physics, I’ve realised the number of other researchers in the same boat – all spending time making bespoke instruments when we could do it so much quicker if someone developed something you could buy ready-made. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

– What you are hoping to achieve through this residency?

Over the residency, we’re going to adapt techniques from the communications and space industries to turn our laser system into a robust, reliable, and easy to use instrument that’s small enough to fit in your (big) pocket. Working in collaboration with scientists at several universities we can start to make instruments that push the boundaries of science.


The Astonishing Visit

– What is your current mission?

Our mission is to help the less mobile – seniors, the disabled and the chronically ill – feel more connected to both people and places they love through virtual visits. Those are like a virtual day out, where someone in care can have a virtual visit from a remote family member and share the wonderful journey with them – like flying over the Alps, sailing through Stockholm or being back in their front room. We’ve built the software, but now we’re excited to become part of Makerversity to iterate our prototype and produce our replacement strap system for wireless VR headsets to make them more comfortable and easy-to-use for older and frailer users.

– Why is this mission important now?

‘Recent studies found that chronic loneliness can be as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Some of the most vulnerable to social isolation are the physically isolated. But virtual reality now enables us to bridge distance between people and places like never before. It just requires creativity and craft to be accessible for all.

– What inspires you?

We’re inspired by wonderful creators of products like Tovertafel and Elliq who are fusing digital and physical product innovations to bring joy and help tackle enormous health challenges like dementia and loneliness.’

– Why do you make?

We love making things that solve real needs, and we’re energised by the process of co-creating with older and frailer users who don’t always have a strong voice in the creation process.

– What you are hoping to achieve through this residency?

We hope to rapidly iterate prototypes to gather feedback and finalise a high fidelity design to move quickly into low-cost mass production. And we are excited to be inspired by – and learn from – all great designers and people working here

Find out more about The Astonishing Visit here and watch a video to learn more

 


Brewers Spent Grain Project

What is your current mission?

We aim to develop a biodegradable material from brewers spent grain (BSG), a waste material from beer breweries, to be used for furniture, product or construction applications. Our material could potentially replace widely used and toxic materials such as MDF, chipboard and plastic, or plastic packaging within the food and drinks industries.

The main purpose of the project is the development of a material from raw matter recovered from industrial food waste streams.

Why is this mission important now?

The annual worldwide production of BSG is approximately 30 million tonnes. Although the waste is non-toxic, it’s still problematic because of its bulk. Currently, some of it is used as cattle feed, small amounts have been added to baked food products and there is on-going research into using it to generate electricity as well as biogas. However, most BSG still goes to landfill and with the increasing demand for sustainability. There is an opportunity for an advanced up-cycling alternative for BSG, especially if the solution can challenge the current stream of plastic within the distribution and packaging of beer products.

What inspires you?

We are passionate about circular thinking and designing for a better world. We believe the future, and the challenges we face; climate change, growing populations and lack of natural resources demand a change in human behaviour. As designers we are motivated by these problems to find innovative solutions.

What you are hoping to achieve through this residency?

Our main goal throughout the residency at Makerversity is to develop a material to be used for full scale prototypes and testing. Having access to the workshop spaces at Makerversity will push our product development phase forward, and we can test the material with modern technologies such as laser-cutting, CNC and 3D printing. We hope to share ideas and have discussions with other makers in the community which will challenge and inspire our thinking, business idea and final product.


Indigo Works

– What is your current mission?

Indigo Works mission is to create sustainable ways of dyeing and printing fabrics using a mix of lost and forgotten textile techniques and updating them for the modern age. Currently 90% of the soy we grow world wide is utilised as cattle feed. Soy can also be used as a binder for pigments to adhere to fabric – this is a widely underused technique and it’s my mission to see if it could be a viable alternative to chemical mordants which pollute our water streams and rivers. Soy dyeing uses no toxic chemicals and very little water making it potentially revolutionary for the textile industry.

– Why do you make?

Primarily I make because it fuels me. Making things allows me to connect the ideas in my head and turn them into a physical reality. This in turn informs how I see the world and the way I live.

– Why is this mission important now?

We currently need to reduce GHG emissions to pre-industrial levels by 2050 if we’re to avoid large-scale ecological damage to our planet and citizens. The textile industry alone accounts for a massive 8 per cent of global GHG emissions. We need to invest in alternative systems and models of textile manufacture in order to avoid this and switch over to more eco-friendly processes. As a material designer and researcher I believe textiles can play a key role in this transition.

– What inspires you?

Colour inspires and informs my work from looking at how pigments were discovered, traded and used across the globe historically to modern colour inventions and discoveries. Unearthing these mysteries and exploring the worlds paint box endlessly fascinates me.

– What are you hoping to achieve through this residency?

My goal at Makerversity is to explore these avenues and create a body of work that will go on to inform the future of my business. I hope to use it as a very experimental time to play with new processes, collaborate with other members and test whether a soy based textile business can be financially sustainable.

 


See all of our members here

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Posted By Esther Ellard