Abstract: Digital fabrication machines such as 3D printers or laser cutters have captured the imaginations of makers worldwide. But current practices don't quite deliver on the promises of a digital fabrication revolution---everyone is not yet making almost everything. I argue we need to move from rapid prototyping to rapid prototyping of rapid prototyping machines, a move which transcends the discussion of additive versus subtractive manufacturing.
Existing digital fabrication tools enable repeatability and precision by using codes to describe machine actions. But the infrastructure used for digital fabrication machines is difficult to extend, modify, and customize. It is very difficult for the end-user to incorporate more forms of control into the workflow. Machine building today is largely the same as it was 50 years ago, despite decades of progress in other fields such as computer science or network engineering.
In this talk, I will present modular hardware, software, and networking protocols I have developed to enable the quick construction of application-specific machines. Machine infrastructure consists of the universal components from which novice machine builders can construct rapid automation.
BIO: Nadya Peek develops infrastructures of fabrication and advanced manufacturing as a postdoctoral researcher in MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms. Her PhD at the MIT Center for Bits is titled "Making Machines that Make: Object-Oriented Hardware Meets Object-Oriented Hardware". She is an Assembler in the Harvard Berkman Klein Center's Assembly on Cybersecurity and plays in the band Construction.