(Photo by Tyler Woods)
Technical.ly’s Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The July 2017 topic is makers. These stories explore makerspaces (and the people who lovingly build stuff in them) in each of our five markets.
There is no limit to the tinkering, thinking, building and breaking that goes on when you give creative people a chance to work on what they love.
Here in Brooklyn we’re blessed to be filled to the brim with people doing that —Asking questions about how the world around them works and figuring out ways to make it better.
So, in keeping with our editorial calendar, we’re trying to highlight some of the people in Brooklyn doing some of the most interesting work as “makers.”
We’re not talking about big companies making unique products, though we do cover those, or even people tinkering with software, we cover them as well. We’re not even positive on what the definition of “maker” should be for this exercise (more on that later in the month) so, in keeping with the word, we’re trying to highlight simply those bringing new things into the world. Making stuff.
Auriti built a mobile hackerspace, a makerspace in a truck. It’s called Alpha One Labs. The Alpha One Labs truck looks like a FedEx truck with everything taken out of the back and replaced with desks and all the work equipment you could need to make stuff. Auriti says it measures 25-by-8-feet and could easily accommodate four people working at the same time. Eventually, Auriti envisions a mobile app where people can request to use the truck. He’ll drive it to a convenient location, park and open up shop.
Duo Harry Doull and Stephen Tracy made the bold decision to leave Google and start a candle-making company. Well, so far so good. Entrenched in a sunlight workspace in Industry City, their candles are the best we’ve ever smelled and are made to be truly environmentally sustainable. They also sell the candles themselves, cutting out middlemen for the most part and going direct to consumer.
Maker’s Row is sort of a consultancy for makers. The company helps small-batch designers plug into the world of manufacturing, offering help “from idea to product.” The company has a database of manufacturers and can help with capacity, materials, logistics and all the rest. Born and raised in the Brooklyn tech ecosystem, it recently moved into a 3,000-square-foot space in Downtown Brooklyn.
Madison Maxey is the founder of Loomia, an electronic textiles and manufacturing company she founded which is based at New Lab in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Maxey, who dropped out of the Parson’s School of Design, is the first person in the fashion world ever to win a Thiel Scholarship. WIRED wrote a great profile of her last year.
Also based at New Lab, Jason Krugman makes radical and beautiful light structures, including an enormous metal strip globe we’ve had the fortune to come across which lives at New Lab. According to his site, Krugman “is focused on bespoke illuminated sculpture, [and] he has created several unique systems, some of which are now being developed into commercial lighting products.”
Founder of Bre & Co., as well as MakerBot and cofounder of NYC Resistor, Pettis is an OG of the Brooklyn maker scene. Bre & Co. makes watches, ceramics, jewelry and more.
“I started Bre & Co. as a project to make a few unique watches as gold medals of friendship, appreciation, and admiration for special people in my life,” he writes on his site. “Soon, I wanted to make these watches readily available, so other people could also give them as gifts or to mark personal achievements.”
Adelle Lin has her hand in a lot of different organizations in Brooklyn. She has exhibited works at Burning Man, A MAZE., Maker Faire New York, Come Out and Play Festival and Different Games Conference. One of her most impressive pieces was a giant, interactive, LED unicorn she and cocreator Sophi Kravitz built and shipped to Burning Man.
Kari Love makes robots with food, that’s pretty tight. The reason you’d want an edible robot is for medical procedures, where you’d be able to easily and unobtrusively get some censors in a body. Love is a member of Super-Releaser a team of designers, artists and engineers working on medical devices and soft robotics manufacturing. She also is a member of the Downtown Brooklyn hacker collective NYC Resistor.
When we wrote about Greetpoint, we described it as a CMS for empathy. Subscribers can schedule hand-made cards to be delivered to them before the birthdays or anniversaries, sign ’em and send ’em off. The company is a husband and wife team: James Cox and Megan Stembridge. They’ve partnered with Brooklyn illustrator Mike Shea for the design of the cards, and with a Williamsburg friend with a printing press — where the cards are printed out on a 1950s-era Heidelberg Windmill letterpress and cut by hand.
If this isn’t the most Brooklyn thing you’ve ever seen. The Public Radio, a project by Zach Dunham and Spencer Wright is a radio receiver in a lil mason jar. It comes pre-tuned to a selected FM station, which the buyer designates at the time of purchase. (The radio’s tuning can be changed, by the way, if the owner moves or just finds a better station to listen to.) Dunham and Wright, both hardware specialists, launched their original Kickstarter campaign in September 2014 and raised more than $88,000. With their current campaign, they’ve improved upon the original radio’s design and are now striving to set up manufacturing in the U.S.