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July 27, 2008

Sketching in Hardware Day 3: Notes from discussion

Long, detailed notes follow in extended entry.


Jan: a small (10 min?) contribution to get us forward after we leave - lowkey knowledge network
MikeK: avoid ghost town wikis! Sketching alum mailing list can contain discussion

Please send URLs and descriptions to Mike in email, and put presentations on USB keys that are going around

The question (again): what are actions we can do as a community to move things forward?

Nathan: Maybe you don't want Sparkfun to do the selling (ie, you want to preserve your own profits without Sparkfun taking the commissions).

Leah: Ie, Sparkfun is a way to get your stuff out there but not make a huge amount of profit.

Pamela: Lack of education about how to sell things - gather lessons learned and legalese, so that people can figure out how to make/sell their own stuff.

Mike K: maybe model is like art world multiples, not consumer products - gallery gets a big cut, but you get your stuff out into the market.

Shawn: An idea: a consumer tool for configuring the hardware that's sold - so it's essentially a web page for programming hardware.

Dave M: Lady Ada/Limor Fried has a forum for people looking to sell kits.

Ayah: enjoyed hearing what people used to sketch - reblog or mailing list blasts about what functionalities people are implementing, or what tools they've found. Collaboration tool *would* be great - Flickr but for hardware processes - but requires time investment.

Mike K: NADA does good documentation - take a look at that

Leah: An Etsy for electronics?

Mike K: ThingM can put you in touch with their distributors.

Leah: Could ThingM document board fabbing?

Tod K: has names of suppliers for PC fab/assembly at various scales

Camille: We should try to share local resources - not all of us will be large scale

David Z: recommends fulfillment by Amazon - cheap prices for storage, and shipping to them, and they don't have to handle purchasing. All you need for them is web programming.

Dale: Trip to China in Feb. led by Bunnie Huang (Chumby) as deep dive into sources. If interested, contact Dale.

Nathan: Sparkfun can write detailed tutorials about manufacturing. Kipp discussed using workshops to produce boards you can sell.

Kipp: Trying to produce boards locally, as an extension of AS220. Trick is partnerships with assembly houses to get 50 units/order, then share that info with others.

Leah: Maybe a coop?
(missed comment in between)
Pamela: common circuits would facilitate coop

Phil: Would like to create consortium - collaborate on tools and specs for them. Educators could share classroom techniques and projects. Could share, despite disciplinary differences in students.

Mike K: that's another mailing list thing! (sketching@thingm.com)

Matt: There are foundational skills you could abstract away - look at photography or graphic design.

Pamela: Already foundational stuff - like Basic Stamp curricula or ITP curriculum. Go beyond - sharing student assignments, or how to get students engaged.

David Z: time to think of a more formalized organization to support this work? provide funding, even a full-time head.
(like an AIGA? hooray, says CTP)

Jan: look at the model of the HCI library: http://hcc.cc.gatech.edu/, organized by Jim Foley

Ellen: very CS-oriented - take a look at Eva Hornecker's site (?)

Dave Mellis: might make sense for Arduino to be part of a larger physical computing organization

Pamela: Haystack Organization

Camille: an organization could more effectively influence product directions than individuals

OFFICIAL CHANGE OF SUBJECT: how do we bridge design practice world and academic institutions?

Matt: Tellart attempts to bridge the two by hiring some students each year. But it takes time. We are beginning to see examples of more tangible interaction with iPhone. Which helps educate clients - though we also have to put in a lot of work.

Camille: thinking about organizing joint professional/student workshop at Umea so that professionals can keep up to date and students can work on professional projects.

Matt: But what does it mean to have a company come to a school for executive education?

Ayah: MIT Design Lab could be one example - described as commercial, smaller version of Media Lab...but unclear how its working

Jan: World Usability Day (organized by UPA - Usability Professionals Association) - one day workshops, mostly free, to raise awareness about usability

Dave M: Job board needed

Phil: actually seeing companies come looking for research help - TMobile, Nokia, George P. Johnson (exhibit design)

Mike K: looking at event design and appliance design worlds

Justin: single product popup stores! - several different unrelated clients

Phil: American companies seem a little scared; European companies doing it more.

...but Matt isn't sure that Europe is so excited.

Jan: well, it depends what "Europe" you're talking about - and it depends what discipline you're coming from (design vs engineering schools). Good success with e.g. Motorola sponsoring a design competition in a CS/HCI class.

Matt: It seems to depend on one person breaking the boundaries.

Daria: Institutions might need to redefine their relationships to student job placement after graduation - to be more active.

Yoichi: Japan's game companies and electronics companies make it different. Points to promotion through the Gainer book, with case studies - and through workshops. Trying to grow the field.

Mike K: Shigeru is the key to Japan!

Shigeru: working with a Japanese company in the wake of the success of the iPhone. But workshops and other collaborations are yet to come.

Mike K: the iPhone seems to be the seed for self-description and promotion.

David Z: Points to Eric Von Hippel's talk - do we *really* need designers anymore? What happens when design is something that everyone can do - we need to worry about more than just connecting academia and corporations.

Kipp: Kind of agrees with Eric, but his experience has been the opposite. Gap between "heavy" industry and what we can do - which will probably always exist. But there is definitely a resurgence in DIY. Fill the gap with collaboration between industry and academia. Or fill the gap with 100-piece manufacturing for a specific situation.

Matt: well, professional graphic designers still exist -- for a good reason.

Ylva: technology-centered design and user-focused design can still co-exist

Haiyan: User-led innovation seems to be more functional - rather than user experience innovations.

David Z: companies don't have monopoly on thinking of experience - there's lots of design thinking around - analogy: you don't need a CS degree to program.

Camille: we can do lots of stuff, but what is meaningful and interesting is a different matter

....and that's all!

Posted by egoodman at July 27, 2008 9:36 PM


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