From Portland to London - Travel Summary
October has been the month of travel for our Luka Mustafa and the team, presenting wireless optical system KORUZA Pro, affordable digital manufacturing machines GoodenoughCNC and number of other open hardware projects.
Luka reports: My trip started by travelling to Portland, OR for Open Hardware Summit, attended by a diverse crowd of developers, entrepreneurs and interested public in open hardware.The response on my talk Open and Good Enough Manufacturing Solutions has been surprisingly good and even on the other side of Atlantic quite some people already knew about our work.
The summit has then overflowed into Portland Science Hack Day, a 24 hour long technology exploration event oriented towards scientists to explore different engineering challenges and familiarize them with technology. I have set up a KORUZA link across the space to demonstrate the technology and discuss its technical operation with participants. The results of this interesting event was anything from a flying soda can/baloon/quadcopter device to Arduino controller micro-positioning device by the team from hearingbrain.org laboratory at OHSU that I have also visited in the following days to better learn about their potential needs for open hardware. The very active open development community was quite surprising, Hack Oregon launch event has been eye opening about how effective is organizing individuals and knowledge hungry students to solve real problems on the field of open data in Portland, while supporting them though educational activities and with this case-based practical learning process teach them very valuable engineering skills.
A key event I have held in Portland was a presentation of KORUZA and GoodenoughCNC at Portland Hackspace, an interesting hackspace with lots of different projects and workshops and an active community. The participants have been a mix of telecommunications professionals and interested individuals asking questions about operation and very eagerly awaiting the growth of our test networks with KORUZA and their results. The local community network Personal Telco folks Russel, Jason and Ted who have kindly hosted me for the week, have made the stay very pleasant and interesting. I always find having some local contacts makes visiting a city so much more effective and interesting.
Visiting Portland State University was very exciting, from learning about scientific prototyping in Physics department mechanical shop to meeting Eric Sanchez and visiting Nano Development lab and learning about the use of open hardware and rapid prototyping platforms in very complicated electron microscopes and a number of other machines, topped by the evening meeting at PSU Student Space Program lab and learning about a wast array of interesting solutions designed over the years.
Next stop on the trip was Maker Faire Rome in Italy, where I was joined by my colleagues Miha and Anja. We have set up a demonstration of our projects and over the three days presented it to an immense crowd of interested public. We were honoured by being selected as one of the 10 finalists of Maker Faire R.O.M.E. Prize and have pitched our projects in the grand finale. The prize went to Talking Hands projects with us receiving an honorary mention.
Luka Mustafa pitching Koruza at Maker Faire Rome
Flying again over the Atlantic, the quest to present has lead me to San Francisco, visiting some of the KORUZA 1.0 installations that have been out there for the past year and demonstrating KORUZA at Internet Archive after the always interesting Friday lunch. Discussing with very esteemed professionals I have learned much more about the start of open source software from the business perspective and the process it went though about 20 years ago, which is comparable to what is going on in open hardware right now. In the true open spirit John Gilmore describes the process on Marketing Cygnus Support – Free Software history. I have paid a visit to start-up Readme.io to learn more about their documentation platform. A few evenings later I had the honour to attend the 20th anniversary of Internet Archive, taking us through an interesting history of the Internet.
Attending Meeting of the Minds conference has been surprisingly interesting as I was not entirely sure what to expect. The future city topics have ranged from social to open data, architecture as well as broadband, which is with our project KORUZA the main interest. A session Public-Private Partnerships Delivering Affordable, Ubiquitous Broadband for All ran by Britt Harter, Joshua Breitbart and Shireen Santosham opened up an interesting debate on how broadband is rolled out and discussed among a group of very diverse participants, ranging from city officials, networking experts and representatives of large telecoms, highlighting that legal and organizational challenges are the bottleneck in wired infrastructure deployment to a very significant extent, well beyond the funding available and technical challenges. Later in the day, I have established a KORUZA link across the conference venue for demonstration to best explain what I am working on to a number of participants.
The final stop on my trip has been London, UK to attend the always exciting Mozilla festival where I have participated in the scientific demo evening with KORUZA, alongside with many other interesting projects and organizations, quite interestingly disaster relief organization Communitere has been just next to us showing what happened at Maker Faire Nepal where they have also built our GoodenoughCNC Hybrid plasma cutter. The festival weekend has really offered a lot, I have spent a great deal of time with Open IoT Studio team that asked a number of very important questions about future of IoT, how we use it and create best practices. To complete this trip, I have held a presentation about KORUZA at Microsoft Research in Cambridge.
A month long opportunity to talk about the work I do to very diverse crowds of people has been extremely helpful to learn how they perceive the work we do at Institue IRNAS, how our products best fit their use-cases and establishing contacts and partnerships for future work.