Today we announced the six finalists of New York’s Next Top Makers, a competition to promote innovation in New York City. Next Top Makers is designed to act as a business accelerator for New York City-based product entrepreneurs, inventors and makers, where finalists will receive assistance on the path to commercialization in the form of studio space, business support and mentorship from industry experts, including Adafruit Industries founder Limor Fried (recently named Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year) and representatives from Siemens and Honeybee Robotics.
New York’s Next Top Makers finalists are:
The six finalists were chosen by a panel of judges and by a public, online vote. The finalists will spend the next five months working in studio space in Long Island City provided by NYDesigns, receiving technical support, workshops, a prototyping budget, materials, access to equipment and mentorship.
Read more on the NYCEDC blog
New York’s Next Top Makers
Mayor Bloomberg and NYCEDC this morning launched “New York’s Next Top Makers,” a competition to promote 3-D printing and innovative manufacturing in New York City, as Shapeways opened its NYC facility.
Six New York City-based inventors will win the opportunity to prototype new products while receiving studio space from sponsor NYDesigns and mentorship from industry leaders Shapeways, Adafruit Industries, and Honeybee Robotics. The prototyping competition kicks off in mid-November. Find out more on NYC.gov.
Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at the ribbon-cutting for Shapeways’ new 25,000-square-foot “Factory of the Future,” a production and distribution center in Long Island City, Queens. The space is under construction and on its way to becoming the biggest consumer-facing 3-D printing manufacturing facility in the world, with the potential to 3-D print three to five million unique products each year on high-end, industrial size printers. The facility will house between 30 and 50 industrial-size 3-D printers and create as many as 50 manufacturing jobs.
Above, Mayor Bloomberg prepares to cut the ribbon on Shapeways’ new “Factory of the Future” using 3-D printed scissors. Photo credit: nycmayorsoffice via Instagram
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.