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GrowCubes and Pensa’s DIWire win at Engadget Insert Coin competition

Two Brooklyn firms won the second Insert Coin: New Challengers competition from Engadget on Sunday. Pensa's DIWire and Mechanical Moon's GrowCubes.

A Grow Cube with its UV light on, from the @GrowCubes Twitter feed.

Someone please explain how this became real stuff week here at Technically Brooklyn, because that’s definitely what it is. This is another story about two makers of real stuff. One for food production, one for manufacturing.

Two Brooklyn firms won the second Insert Coin: New Challengers competition from Engadget on Sunday. Pensa‘s DIWire won the Judge’s Choice prize of $10,000 for its desktop wire bending device and GrowCubes from Mechanical Moon won the Readers’ Choice prize of $15,000.

GrowCubes is an aeroponic, computer controlled home growing system. In other words, grow food without soil in little pods in your house. The company doesn’t have much documentation out yet, but they seem to be modular and come in various sizes. Here’s how Engadget described the winners:

How to grow healthy produce when you live in the big city? These stackable appliances adjust lighting and utilize aeroponic nutrient sprays to help you grow fruits and vegetables in the relative comfort of your urban dwelling.

Brooklyn has a similar product in the hydroponic space, called Bitponics. The GrowCubes aeroponic system seems to give you all the software and hardware you’ll need in one package.

Check out the GrowCubes video:

Pensa, the folks in Dumbo that designed those solar powered mobile phone charging stations you see around the city, won its prize for DIWire. It’s a desktop wire bending machine that, placed alongside a 3D printer and a laser cutter, gets makers into a whole new world of making.

  • DIWire can bend and shape wire in two dimensional shapes, rapidly and repeatedly, designed with prototyping in mind.
  • The company has also developed a system of clips to help makers connect bent wire lengths so that they can be welded together with precision.
  • The system is strong enough to work with an array of metals, including steel.

DIWire joins a suite of desktop products for makers, but it’s getting to the point where you’ll need a pretty big desk. Here’s a video on DIWire:

DIWire has a Kickstarter going. With 32 days to go, they have already exceeded their goal. As of this writing, there are still 10 DIWire packages available to get backers a system for $2,950. When those are gone, it jumps to $3,200.

You can also build your own DIWire, because the company open sourced its early product. That one looks like this:

Pensalab's prototype DIWire

h/t to MyBell — another Insert Coin contestant — for highlighting the winners on their Twitter feed, where we spotted it.

Series: Brooklyn

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