New York’s Next Top Makers: Nemo Extension
With the Next Top Makers deadline pushed back to Wednesday, February 20, there’s another week to turn your product idea into a business. New York’s Next Top Makers asks submitters to pitch their products concepts or prototypes and tell us what they need to get to market.
Six finalist teams will participate in the Top Makers Studio Phase from April to August, receiving: five months of free studio space from sponsor NYDesigns, product development cash, mentors like thought-leader Limor Fried of Adafruit Industries, and workshops built around solving challenges they identify in their submissions. Five of the finalists will be chosen by expert judges—including Paola Antonelli from MoMA and Ayah Bdeir from littleBits—and one will be chosen by public vote.
This program is perfect for students wanting to take their studio projects to the next level or for design professionals looking to launch their own product-based firms. Find out more at nexttopmakers.com.
Above: At work at NYDesign’s membership fabrication facility, NYFabricates. Photo credit: NYDesigns
Rapid Prototyping and Fabrication in NYC
By Alison Hodgson, Project Manager, Center for Economic Transformation
Behind jewelry, robot, art installation, and building design is Rapid Prototyping and Fabrication (RPF), an emerging industry that is bringing New York City’s culture of innovation and experimentation into the digital age. In January 2011, NYCEDC’s Center for Economic Transformation launched a study of the City’s Rapid Prototyping and Fabrication ecosystem, taking inventory of the assets, from knowledge-sharing communities to equipment and specialized workspace, that allow our City’s technologists and designers to create new physical products.
RPF signifies a new frontier for manufacturing in the City. Designers, engineers and tech entrepreneurs can use computer-controlled fabrication tools such as laser cutters, 3D printers, and milling machines to develop new products quicker and at a lower cost—lowering the barrier of entry to many industrial fields.
What’s promising for our maker community is that New York City is already a hub of this emerging technology. Many of our design and engineering schools currently train students in RPF, and many established companies have their own RPF labs that facilitate internal R&D. Outside of these low-cost and highly collaborative environments, however, designers, engineers, and our universities’ alumni often lack the funds to buy this equipment on their own; appropriate space in which to use it; and cohesive social networks through which they can share knowledge on emerging technologies.
Image credit: CW&T, an NYC-based multidisciplinary design firm
Though several RPF facilities run on a membership basis to provide the community resources, the demand for access to RPF equipment and co-working facilities is growing. Additionally, as New York City’s existing RPF communities have largely grown out of research institutions, our City’s RPF resources exist in parallel rather than as a networked unit: members of one RPF community may not know about equipment offerings of another.
Based on the findings of the RPF study, NYCEDC will lead several initiatives to connect designers, engineers and entrepreneurs with rapid prototyping equipment, educational resources and potential clients, and help bring these activities into public view.
Our first initiative is a map (below) detailing a selection of the City’s RPF resources, from research institutions and commercial fabricators to membership facilities. Building awareness of what resources exist is the first step in promoting our creative engineering community. Supporting RPF will help to expand the offerings of existing industrial businesses, encourage entrepreneurs to develop new ventures, and take additional steps toward attracting and retaining creative, technical talent. Download our brochure for more info.