Brooklyn Research started as a shared studio space and quickly evolved into coworking space and creative agency.
It started in 2012 when Alex Dodge found an affordable space that worked well for him in a former Pfizer building at 630 Flushing Ave, in Bed-Stuy. His friends from TischITP’s graduate program at NYU, John Lu and Ezer Longinus, came by to see the place and realized it could work well for them, too.
“Brooklyn Research happened totally organically,” Dodge explained, “Once the others were here, we started to think the space could be something more than a shared studio.”
It started with a contract to make a device in which a person could sit and, using imaging, have their perfect hat size measured. The device was something Buffalo’s New Era could use at events and its flagship store.
Rather than simply using imaging, they ended up playing around with a variety of computational technologies and ended up with a project that could project a number of pieces of information about a person’s body based on the machine’s analysis.
Longinus described the way that the hat sizer project drew each of their specialties, saying: “That was a coalescing.”
The hat sizer technology is something Brooklyn Research is still developing. Dodge said that the hope is that theirs will continue to be a place that innovates by cobbling together existing technology for new uses.
“The hope is to eventually develop valuable IP that could spin off into standalone companies, while keeping Brooklyn Research the hub,” said Dodge.
They have already created a lot of other projects, including a three-dimensional soundscape, liquid silk and a large scale video wall used during Fashion Week.
The founders are often brought in by larger agencies with an idea but without know how to execute it.
“Sometimes we have to ask if it’s really something we can pull off in two weeks, and other times it’s really easy and our clients are just amazed,” Lu said with a kind of startup energy.
Lu is currently working on a face replacement technology that can graft one person’s face onto another person’s face in real time video. See a few of those faces here, with Longinus as the model. John Travolta is grafted on in the upper left. Nicolas Cage’s face, according to Lu, does not graft well, which is mildly ironic.
As Brooklyn Research gets hired on projects, it gives its members the first shot at freelance work to come from the assignments. Brooklyn Research the agency will continue to operate as it has, the team said.
It will soon spin off the other piece of its business, the coworking space, into a nonprofit organization, Brooklyn Research Labs, allowing them to seek relationships with larger technology firms in the area.
- Full members with voting rights and work desks in the space pay $300 per month, but those spaces are all filled.
- General members, with access to the space and its many, many tools pay $200 per month. They also have a group space with room for one group at a time.
It is currently occupied by a group developing new technology for O’Reilly Media. Some of the resources that members get access to with membership:
- Laser cutter
- Large 3D printer
- Conference room
- Full woodshop, with drill presses, table saws, hand saws, drills
- Space suit
Here’s a few photos inside:
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