There is a wave of personal manufacturing sweeping the world. For most of the industrial revolution, the trend has been towards larger factories and more specialized capabilities which served to disempower individuals from creating manufactured goods. This has directly led to our disposable culture – when the plastic knob on the tea kettle breaks, do you fix the knob or replace the kettle? All this is changing. The rapid prototyping tools that allow companies to rapidly move from ideas on the computer to ideas in plastic, or wood, or metal are also the enabling technologies to allow individuals to create precise and high quality manufactured goods to their own specifications. Combine that with electronics and computer programming and you have the foundation for a powerful business incubator, or just an amazing hobby space. From laser cutters to 3-D printers to custom electronics and a full set of shop tools – with all of this plus a bit of knowledge and experience, what would you like to make?
Derek Jacoby has a diverse set of interests and experience. Originally a psychology major, he spent over a decade in the computer industry, initially running user studies and designing user interfaces. Ultimately, though, he ended up at Microsoft and fulfilled roles in development, project management, and Microsoft Research. After leaving Microsoft he attended wooden boat building school and then spent 9 months in a primitive living skills apprenticeship, finally he returned to Canada in 2008 and went back to school at UVic with interests in biology. With some other students, he started an iGEM team to create novel synthetic organisms out of bacteria. Now a PhD student, he splits his time between school and a newly formed community workshop space called makerspace.ca.