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

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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.

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Pangloss Project Party : des idées plein la tête !

Un mois après l’inauguration du site d’innovation et de créativité à Ferney-Voltaire, et à l’occasion de notre première Project Party, les entrepreneurs membres de l’association Pangloss ont accueilli un nombreux public pour leur montrer la variété et la sophistication des quelques 50 projets, qui sortent des différents laboratoires d’innovation ouverte.

Cet évènement s’est déroulé en présence notamment de Mr Etienne Blanc, député maire de Divonne-les-Bains, venu nous voir en tout début d’évènement, en présence de Mme Aurélie Charillon, maire de Prevessin-Moens, en présence de Monsieur Guy Larmanjat, de Madame Myriam Bouvet-Multon, représentants le département de l’Ain, et venus en voisins et amis.

Situé à 25 minutes en bus de l’hyper centre de Genève, ce nouvel espace d’innovation permet aux entrepreneurs et aux hobbyists de s’exprimer, de s’identifier, de s’apprivoiser et de se retrouver régulièrement pour développer des projets collaboratifs à plusieurs.

Une occasion idéale pour les élus du territoire du Grand Genève, de venir soutenir les entrepreneurs et découvrir leurs projets, leurs idées et leurs inventions.

Cette soirée a également été une opportunité pour les entrepreneurs et les porteurs de projet en herbe, de 5 à 115 ans, qui souhaitent se lancer, tester leur idée, ou devenir autonome, de se rendre compte de l’importance de rejoindre un collectif, et de resentir par eux mêmes, la dynamique de création et de créativité, qui anime Pangloss.

Onl'fait

Onl’fait

Parmi les bonnes surprises de la soirée, la présence d’un compost mis à disposition par notre partenaire Sidefage, et la démo produit d’un robot téléprésence.

Ont particulièrement retenu l’attention du public (environ 130 personnes), les stands du développement durable, de la permaculture, de l’urbanisme, de l’internet des objets, des médias, des jeux, de la mécatronique, de la culture et de l’éducation, du design et de l’art, et de la fabrication (notamment les imprimantes et scanners 3D).

L’association poursuit ses évènements réguliers, et renouvellera cette opération au début de l’année 2016 pour montrer l’évolution de ses différents projets.

Autre découverte, la possibilité de voir s’imprimer des objets conçus en 3D et la possibilité de voir scannés des visages ou des surfaces complexes pendant l’évènement.

Scanneur 3D

Scanneur 3D

L’association remercie tous les membres et partenaires qui ont participé à cet évènement, les élus, qui par leur présence, nous ont renouvelé leur soutien. Le partenaire culinaire de la soirée était Le Nomade Pizza.

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Pangloss se réjouit d’accueillir les entrepreneurs qui vont inventer l’économie du futur, dès demain.

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Pour toute information, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter (contacteznous@panglosslabs.org) et restez informés au sujet de nos futurs évènements.

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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.

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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!

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Pangloss at Leman Make

We attended the LemanMake Festival in Nyon, to go and meet the hackers, makers in the region and to see how to democratise what can be done with fablab machines. Workshops for kids, impressive demo, conferences, everything was there to discover what the future will look like.

LemanMake.

Also a great opportunity to meet with our friends from all parts of Switzerland.

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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.

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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

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