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Why these citizen-scientists are launching a nonprofit maker lab focused on health

NYC3DP founder Land Grant explains the vision behind the forthcoming Health Maker Lab.

3D printing is a Brooklyn strength a new group is looking to leverage. (Photo by Flickr user Antonio Rubio, used under a Creative Commons license)
This is a guest post by Health Maker Lab founder Land Grant.

“Bio is the new black.” (Or — perhaps to Brooklyn health product entrepreneurs — the lucrative hue of biotech is actually gold).
For nearly three-years here in “Techreative Brooklyn,” I’ve studied the elements of the tech/bio/med revolution-in-the-making in our own unique borough.
Just consider these synergistic moving parts:

  • The booming 3D-printing sector (think MakerBot, Voodoo Manufacturing, etc.)
  • The flood of novel startup ways and means (think Kickstarter)
  • The powerful new modes in digital media (think Huge)
  • Public-private partnerships (think Brooklyn Tech Triangle)
  • Economic development organizations (think Brooklyn Navy Yard)
  • Higher-ed combines (think Education Innovation Network)
  • Biotech campuses (think BioBAT)
  • Health incubators (think SUNY Downstate Biotech)
  • The world’s first DIY bio lab (think Genspace)
  • The “team-hacking” of the real world (think Brooklyn coworkers, incubators, accelerators, meetups and maker spaces)
  • Revolutionary life-science DigiFabricators (think OpenTrons, Modern MeadowOpenBCI)

Innovative players — like these and many other compatible actors growing and prospering in Brooklyn — are clearly weaving novel patterns, becoming what we could call our bright and brilliant NeoBrooklyn Fabric.
Now we’re out to foster solutions to health and healthcare problems via our not-for-profit Health Maker Lab (HML) — will be a diversity-based, life-sciences-focused, biomaker laboratory. Think of HML as one big tent for Brooklyn biohackers to work under.
Strategically speaking, our overarching drivers are this:

  1. The maker movement
  2. Digital fabrication technology
  3. Health and healthcare gaps
  4. The eleemosynary*

We are designing our prototype HML to empower citizen scientists, bio makers, health DigiHobbyists, pro-am hackers and more. These include all those people who might ordinarily not have access to such a rich environment to learn, make and play.
At our unique lab, HML members, visitors and local community residents will be enabled to study, cultivate and advance healthier lifestyles, healthcare solutions and better patient/people/life outcomes.
As a key to HML success, we’re also seeking to grow creativity.
We’re planning an environment that will present concepts, tools, techniques and systems to nurture imagination, ingenuity and interaction. We believe we can help to inspire directed novel thinking with HML’s diverse family of co-solution seekers.
From my 3D-printing “platform” (NYC3DP.com, which launched in May 2013), I’ve learned that healthcare solutions were the fastest growing segment in 3D printing — and still are. Hence, I’ve drilled down deep into richer veins of opportunity (HCx3DP Meetup NY, launched in October 2014).
These “veins” involve an amalgam of social commerce and common good. In December 2015, New York State officially authorized our Health Maker Lab. We’ll be rolling out our website, HealthMakerLab.org, in March 2016. After that, we’ll offer various social media platforms for interaction with and among participants.
At HML, we’re designing complementary “Action Centers” to assure enriching programs. For our prototype lab plans, these 10 centers are currently:

  1. Healthcare Maker Space
  2. Gen/Syn Biology Level 1 Wet-Lab
  3. Maker-Nurse-MD Collaboratory
  4. NeuroTech Health Lab
  5. Bio-STEM/STEAM Education Lab
  6. “Child Life” RD&D Institute
  7. Public Health Observatory
  8. NYC Maker-Space Network Hub
  9. HC Workforce-Development Academy
  10. Health Startup/Ramp-Up Accelerator

For those Technical.ly Brooklyn readers who are interested in more about our lab and our plans, I invite you to join-in at our next HML-focused event.
Please join our community here. It’s free — and these Meetup pages are acting as our current channel of HML communications. RSVP and kindly donate your nominal admission fee — $20 — on our HCx3DP Event page.
This Wednesday’s meetup will include the roll-out of our totally novel — and highly compelling! — Health Maker Lab “Floor Plan.”
I’m confident you’ll find that we’re designing an HML environment and ecosystem that will foster Bio-Making, Health-Solving and Life-Enhancing at the Community level — whatever size your community of interest may be.

*An adjective that describes things that are related to charitable giving.

Series: Brooklyn

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