Hintsights at “Arup explores prototyping” and 100% Open Union’s “User Makers & Distributed Production”

Recently I was asked to give a couple of presentations about the work I’m doing with Hintsights at the Arup Maker’s forum and 100% open innovation forum. Both events happened on the same day at the same venue, and even shared some of their audience.

Arup makers forum is a quarterly meeting where the company brings together a series of presentations by leading practitioners within the business and outsiders dealing with areas relevant to Arup. Everyone shares and discusses their perspective around “making”, new tools, processes, and experiences.

For this presentation I focused on the idea of using hardware and software to prototype products in a connected appliances businesses. In my short presentation I introduced Hintsights briefly and talked about how new electronic kits and tools like Arduino enable people like me to create prototypes to test ideas either as part of a design or research process. Interestingly these prototypes can be used to gather data and follow an “evidence based” design process. In this process you may get feedback that leads to things like a proof of market before you have a product ready for market which is a huge departure from traditional ways of developing a business proposition.

Another interesting I idea I wanted to highlight was the notion that increasingly we are finding venues where the prototype is the product. And we are finding an increased market for prototyping tools and kits as these have become part of the everyday experience of making things. Devices like 3d printers also contribute to the notion of “prototypes as products” as the finish item lies somewhere in between a finished object and a hand made prototype.

ArupPip 010

Finally I found some interesting data from a presentation by David Mellis from MIT and the Arduino project where he explored the costs involved in the small scale production of everyday appliances such as a mouse and a radio. What I find interesting on Mellis data is how there seems to be a point in the production process (at around 1000 units) where the cost of production does not change so significantly as volume increases. However the investment necessary to scale up the production seems to skyrocket at a similar point in the production volume. This provides some interesting insights for people like me, who are developing small scale “prototype as product” devices and I think it points to a way forward to turn IoT into a reality.

Gonzalo Showing Pip and 100%open Union
image by Andrew Sleigh

The second presentation was hosted by 100%open Union a corporate open innovation network that aims to bring together innovative SMEs with corporate innovation teams to foster discussion and collaboration. 100%open Union nights are run as a PechaKucha, the evening was titled “User Makers & Distributed Production” and I gave a presentation briefly introducing Hintsights, motivation, aims and work to date.

You can read more about the event here, here and here


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  • http://www.iamdanw.com Dan W

    Would you happen to have a link for the presentation that talks about small scale production costs?