Pangloss @ #UNHCRNGOs

On June 14th 2017, representatives from Pangloss Labs were invited to participate to the UNHCR annual consultation with NGOs.  From the sustainable development innovation lab, Paul, Charlie & Gianluca decided to dedicate one day to this.  With our partners from the Global Humanitarian Lab (based at the Palais de Nations), we exhibited some of the things that digital fabrication – and more importantly the entrepreneurial, problem solving mindset around it – could enable in refugee environments.   

It was an eye-opening day for all of us, and each of us decided to tell the story in our own words.

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Pangloss Labs in Geneva

On the 12th of January a small, determined group met at Pangloss Labs in Ferney-Voltaire to discuss why there isn’t yet a Pangloss Labs Geneva site and what to do about it.
In a nutshell, although we have found some spaces in Geneva that meet our original half office / half workshop criteria, they are very few and far between.  With the rent costs being much higher in Geneva than neighbouring France, to replicate directly what we did in France would need 45 people willing to pay a proportion of the rent, before we have the space.   In addition, leases in Geneva tend to start at 5 years.  With some of the offers we have, on projects under development, we’d need 45 people willing to commit to contribute to a collaborative association for 5 years, starting in 1-2 years time.  That’s almost impossible to do.

So, with the facts on the table, and with the aid of some decent French wine, we brainstormed on the possible ways forward.  With lots of whiteboards, and different experiences and backgrounds we came up with the following plan:

  1. Make a list of all the spaces and similar initiatives around innovation in Grand Geneva.  Create working partnerships where possible.
  2. Simultaneously, use co-creation to decide amongst our Pangloss Labs community in Geneva, which set of Innovation Labs make sense for them.  This may well be a very different set from the 10 chosen in the Pays de Gex.
  3. Build up the space requirements for each Innovation Lab.  See if each Lab can start using time and space in existing physical spaces around Geneva.  If so, partner with the appropriate physical space, and do that, resulting in a win-win for Pangloss members and existing physical spaces, along with cross fertilisation between communities.

This doesn’t solve the problem of a large maker space in Geneva, but it does solve the problem of how to get the other Innovation Labs really working for those members unable to easily get to Ferney-Voltaire and it provides something concrete as a partnership with our other innovation space friends around Geneva.

Once things are up and running, we can decide if we need another physical space in Geneva, or if working collaboratively with existing spaces is sufficient.

What do you think?

The Business Benefits of Open Source Modular Design

The modular design of technology, facilitated by an open source approach, could be a key feature of a circular economy – and it could open up significant business advantage in the process.

This article was written by Pangloss Lab’s own Paul Bristow and published at Circulate News, the news website of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Read it there:

 

open source modular design: the business benefits

Making things for a good cause

One of the great things about being based in Geneva is the interesting people you meet. While working on innovation for “International Geneva”, I met up with the ICRC’s innovation team. They have been working on a global makeathon for humanitarian causes. One thing led to another, and I ended up giving a webinar on rapid prototyping and following that up with a long blog post which you can read on the Enable Makeathon’s site

Is Lake Geneva ready to make stuff again?

Globalisation only flows one way. At least that’s the experience of the last 30 years. Manufacturing fled Europe, looking for more and more economies of scale, making millions of identical objects for the cheapest possible price.

Mass manufacturing has changed the world, but every process comes to an end. When something becomes “the only way to do things”, innovation kicks in and find a alternative.

Open Source distributed manufacturing is that alternative. New, open source technologies have reduced the costs of machinery by a factor of tens to hundreds. Things that were complicated and expensive, like accurate positioning in 3D space, have become trivially simple and ridiculously cheap. The result is that it has become much less expensive to make individual customised objects – something that mass manufacturing cannot do at all.

FabLabs, like this one, are described as a place when you can make “almost anything”. We know what the things we cannot yet make are, and many of the projects in these spaces are open source machines to overcome these limitations. Just in the last two years we have seen machines for knitting clothes, printing fabrics, printing concrete, and laminating wood/carbon fibre composites, as well as DNA sequencers, projects to grow bricks, produce all sorts of energy efficient vehicles, and build your own energy efficient houses.

These projects are not developed by individual geniuses in their garages. The internet was designed as a collaborative tool, and has delivered magnificently. Local communities of people interested in making things have found each other online, and joined together to create physical spaces where they can collaborate together. These projects, in turn collaborate online in globe-spanning open source projects, creating amazing collaborative answers to problems that might not be solved in any other way.

Right now it’s not for replacing the things you can buy in the shops, more for replacing the things you cannot buy in the shops. How often have you searched and not found the thing you were looking for? Simply not been able to buy a spare part, or not found a table the right size in the right wood. Those are the sorts of things maker-spaces can produce using parametric design and shared resources.

In twenty years the very idea that you would buy something that is the same thing that any of your neighbours have will seem quaint, like Henry Ford’s “any color you like as long as it’s black”. You will be able to easily customise the object you want to suit your exact needs and have it quickly manufactured in your local fabrication centre. Or have a brand new thing designed just for you from scratch using open source tools, technologies and techniques.

Around Lake Geneva, this is a work-in-progress. On the 27th of June 2015, the makers of the Lac Leman region unified for the first time to put on the “Leman Make” Festival. At the start, we knew of two hackerspaces in the region. One year later we had dozens of local fabrication spaces involved in the festival, all of whom were making stuff right here.

Technology should be a slave, not a master. It’s time it stopped being exclusive – something for other people far away to master – came back home, and was made accessible to everyone. As children we were all taught to share, and it turns out that sharing really can change the world for the better.So the answer to the question “is Lake Geneva ready to make stuff again?” is definitely a resounding yes. We hope you’ll join in.

Pangloss is participating in the Salon des Associations

We will be at the Salon des Associations at the COSEC in Ferney-Voltaire on Sunday, September 6, 2015 from 13h to 17h, to present our activities, including our initiation to robotics, 3D printing, and a presentation of the activities and upcoming events in our new creative space in Ferney-Voltaire. This is a great chance to come and meet local associations and stop by our booth.

Our community space now available in Ferney-Voltaire

We have just opened our space for innovation and creativity in Ferney-Voltaire. While we work to design a unique experience for our users, we are every day improving day our equipment, layout and decoration, to be ready in the coming weeks to welcome you. In addition to the tools and machines, we seek to live the values of our association in this new space. Take the opportunity to join us and help create your space!

3D Printing in Geneva

Gadget Guru is a short weekly radio show on World Radio Switzerland that I do with Tony Johnston.

Here’s the show from April 7th, 2015:

Here’s the usual set of links & videos from the show:

For more information about 3D printing, MAKE magazine is a great place to start:

To try 3D printing in Geneva, you can go to Post Tenebras Lab, the Geneva Hackerspace on any Tuesday night. It’s open to the public from 19h00 and they even have a communal meal. You might even see me there. We’ve just completed a major upgrade to our 3D printing capabilities and have 3 new printers including a Lulzbot TAZ 4 (a really big one!).

There’s the new Replik3D shop in Acacias. You’ll find their website here. Give them a call before you go to visit them as they are very new and sorting out their opening hours. Their website is in French but both Matthieu and Giovanni speak great English. They sell 3D printers, supplies and do printing services and more. You can even get a 3D scanned bobble head made of yourself in full colour!

You’ve also got Romain at Les Voisins coworking, and Sebastien at Onl’fait who both offer workshops and 3D printing services but you will need to speak French for these two.

Reality in all its forms

Gadget Guru is a short weekly radio show on World Radio Switzerland that I do with Tony Johnston.

Here’s the show from March 31st, 2015:

Here’s the usual set of links & videos from the show:

Virtual Reality

A Rollercoaster Simulator on the Oculus Rift

There’s an open source system for VR gaming

Augmented Reality

Google glass – not dead yet.

Navigation

LayAR

Mixed Reality

Microsoft Hololens

and you can even try for yourself with the iPad Ikea catalogue

Tech at the Geneva Motor Show

Gadget Guru is a short weekly radio show on World Radio Switzerland that I do with Tony Johnston.

Here’s the show from March 10th, 2015:

Here’s the usual set of links & videos from the show:

From the Mobile World Congress we had the LG Flex2 self-healing phone…

But this week is mostly about the Geneva Motor Show, which runs from the 5th to the 15th of March

The ED Design Torq – Electric Driverless Racing Car – which apparently could have a racing driver inside, but who’d want to without windows?

Bentley EXP10 Speed 6 with 3D printed parts

The Quant F and Quant Quantino Nanoflowcell cars have a range of up to 1000km between refills with ionic electrolyte fluid.

The EDAG Light Cocoon (for the blinky light fans)

The Aston Martin all electric DBX concept

The Swiss Rinseed Budii that will hand the steering wheel to you if you feel like driving

There is also the completely bonkers Koenigsegg Regera “hybrid” which does 0-400km/h <20 seconds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWm8xEapjuQ There are 76 cars at the motor show which emit less than 95g of CO2 per kilometer, and most of them are in production

Oh, and this week Apple launched the most personal computer ever designed. This goes on sale in France on April 10th, and in Switzerland “sometime in 2015”

See you next week!

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