Nadya Peek develops unconventional digital fabrication tools, small scale automation, networked controls, and advanced manufacturing systems in the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms. She builds pop-up fabrication machines and reconfigurable automation tools, and develops open infrastructure for others to do the same. She teaches the MIT class MAS.865 "How to make something that makes (almost) anything" on rapid prototyping of rapid prototyping machines, and is frequently found foraging for parts in the marketplaces of Shenzhen. Her PhD work at MIT was on Object-Oriented Hardware, and she plays electronica in the band Construction.
Making custom machines for automation enables precision, repeatability, and rapid turnaround in production. Digital fabrication techniques allow users to switch from making one part to a completely different one with only modifications in code, not to physical tooling. However, current digital fabrication tools are still difficult to program, tedious, dangerous, and expensive. By lowering the barrier to entry for small-scale automation and digital control, unexpected users can take advantage of advanced manufacturing and automation, disrupting a power structure predicated on mass manufacturing and harnessing economies of scale.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx