Rapid-Prototyping of Rapid-Prototyping Machine

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How to Make Something that Makes (almost) Anything?

Researchers from the New Production Institute recently gave an insightful lecture to MIT’s MAS.865 class on Sustainability, Accessibility, and Usability. The presentation covered critical topics relevant to modern manufacturing and its impact on society. Their ongoing work closely aligns with these topics, and they were happy to provide their insights to students and faculty.


Can the development, deployment and use of tools or machines be conducted in a way that is responsible to the environment, economically viable, socially equitable and technologically adaptable?

J.C. Mariscal-Melgar and Michel Langhammer discussed various aspects of sustainability, emphasizing the circular economy and local production initiatives such as the Fab City movement. They highlighted the significance of Open Source Hardware, repairability, and ethical material sourcing, alongside discussions on tackling plastic pollution and enhancing resource efficiency in machine tools.


How can we design and develop tools or machines so that they are easy to use?

Luisa Lange then focused on the concept of usability, covering usability standards, guiding principles, goals, user testing methods, and specific considerations for the usability of machine tools. She emphasized the importance of human factors ergonomics and the psychological impacts on users.


How accessible are open-source machine tools in terms of financial affordability, physical access, educational opportunities, and inclusivity?

The final segment was led by Mohammed Omer and MIT’s Alexander Htet Kyaw. They discussed the critical role of manufacturing in economic development. Their presentation explored the challenges of accessibility in low-resource contexts and the potential of open-source machine tools. They also highlighted the importance of inclusive digital fabrication technologies to democratize making and innovation.

The lecture was a success, sparking a lot of discussion among attendees. The engaging dialogue has set the stage for future plans and collaborations.

Online Lecture

For more detailed information, access the lecture content here.

Find the video of the lecture here.

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