About the MIT Mediated Matter Lab. The Mediated Matter group is dedicated to the development and application of novel processes that enable and support the design of physical matter, and its adaptability to environmental conditions. Their research integrates computational form-finding strategies with biologically inspired fabrication. They seek to establish new forms of design and novel processes of material practice at the intersection of computer science, material engineering, design and ecology, with broad applications across multiple scales.
Video Description. Originally uploaded to YouTube by Poptech on Mar 12, 2010. Architect Neri Oxman is the founder of MATERIALECOLOGY, an interdisciplinary design initiative expanding the boundaries of computational form-generation and material engineering. Named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business,” Oxman investigates the material and performance of nature in an effort to define form itself.
Zoning hurdles have thwarted the idea of establishing the state’s first Fab Lab inside an Iowa City shopping center, but organizers are still keeping hope alive for a high-tech workshop.
The STEAM Room has been hosting clubs and organizing science events inside the Iowa City Marketplace, formerly Sycamore Mall, since last summer, with the initial goal of one day opening up a permanent operation at the mall.
However, obtaining the necessary heavy commercial zoning from the city at that location would have been far from a sure thing, said STEAM Room director Kirk Cheyney, so the organization is searching for a new home and has kicked off a fundraising campaign.
“It’s easier to move to the right zone than change the zoning law,” Cheyney said. “It would have been a months-long process, and at the end, if they said ‘no,’ it would have been months without having anything to show for it.”
Cheyney first pitched a Fab Lab for Iowa City in 2013 — a digital fabrication laboratory packed with an array of tools and electronics such as CNC machines, 3D printers, laser cutters, a computer lab, woodworking equipment and welding gear, to name just a few of the components.
The idea, which began as an MIT outreach initiative and has since grown into a national network of Fab Labs, is to provide widespread access to the tools of invention. The nonprofit Iowa City lab would rent work spaces and sell monthly memberships, like a gym, giving the public the ability to use equipment they normally wouldn’t have access to.
Organizers set up shop last year in two empty storefronts in the shopping center — which is undergoing major renovations — where they hosted youth summer camps and have continued to hold regular activities in the months since. Robotics clubs from West High and City High, for instance, are frequent users of the lab.
The Fab Lab can only use the mall space through May, however, said Cheyney, and organizers have been scouting properties in south Iowa City. The city had told the lab it would require a zoning change to operate permanently at the mall.
Cheyney said the Fab Lab has four properties on its short list, ranging from 12,000 to 40,000 square feet, with the hopes of purchasing a facility by this spring. To do so, organizers have set a goal of raising $750,000 in the coming months.
Wendy Ford, Iowa City’s economic development coordinator, said the city will support the Fab Lab in its search for a permanent location.
“We’re excited to see them pursue their own building in an appropriately zoned area, and look forward to supporting those endeavors,” Ford said.
The lab already owns an array of equipment, much of which has been donated. Now it just needs a place to house it all, said Cheyney.
“It’s amazing the amount of support we’ve already received and keep receiving,” Cheyney said. “We’ve built our current facility with nothing but volunteers. The support of community has been great; we’re just hoping to kick it up a notch.”
“LaChappelle made his first robotic hand out of LEGOs, fishing wire, and electrical tubing when he was all of 14 years old, and it’s now, after considerable effort on his part, a 3D printed marvel capable of operating in conjunction with the user’s mind.”
“It’s considerably more functional than a traditional prosthesis – and stronger than a human hand. LaChappelle says the next generation of the arm was capable of sustaining 50 pounds of pressure on each individual finger. ‘The strength of the hand is so great that it’s almost dangerous,’ LaChappelle says of the device.” [More…]
Synopsis. What do you get when you combine prosthetics and 3D printing? In this inspiring talk, 17-year old Easton LaChappelle shows us how he has been using new technologies to print and build cheaper, customizable prosthetics that could change millions of lives.
Directed by Stephan Malik
Produced by Carine Carmy, Shapeways
From Shapeways: Josh Levine, Peter Weijmarshausen, Carine Carmy, Brad Dickason, Gary Kenney, Duann Scott
From the Shapeways Community: Stijn van der Linden of Virtox, Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg of Nervous System, Michiel Cornelissen, Bernat Cuni of Cunicode, Carl Collins and Peter Knocke of GothamSmith
Featuring Designs by:
Bathsheba Grossman, Bits to Atoms, Columbia Aerodrome, Craig Kaplan, Cunicode, Gilbert13, GothamSmith, Joshua Harker, Meggo, Michiel Cornelissen, Museum of Small Things, Nervous System, Schreer Design, Shapeways, Spaho Design, Theo Jansen, Tristan Bethe, Vertigo Polka, Virtox, Wearable Planter.
Music by Tai Vare & Bill Wandel
Including: Principal Violin – Sonia Lee, Principal Cello – Tom Sullivan, Live strings recorded at Pearl Sound Studios by Chuck Alkazian
Special thanks to the Shapeways Community, the weather gods for enabling us to hit 5 cities in less than a week, and the future.