skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

Open Technology for Development Make-a-thon 2016

The Open Technology for Development Make-a-thon brings hardware design challenges from international development and humanitarian contexts to problem-solvers who are challenged over the course of five days to prototype solutions using open source technologies.

Overview

Our principles are interdisciplinarity, openness and collaboration and we welcome applicants from all backgrounds to participate! There will be mentors and technical assistance throughout the event to match participants with projects that need their skills and ensure everyone is able to contribute and learn.

Support and funding will be awarded for the most promising prototype and all participants are invited to stay involved with progressing the resulting project.

After an introduction on 9 June to the challenges, the kit and the fully equipped Dyson workshops at Cambridge University Engineering Department, you'll have a few days to form teams, think and design before a two-day making sprint in the workshops and a chance to get feedback on your prototypes at the Open Technology Maker Faire on 15 June. 

Participants will of course free to attend any other May week activity in parallel with the Make-a-thon.

 

If this sounds interesting please apply to join! Places are limited to 50. You'll be informed shortly after if you have a place and a full schedule will be provided.

  • Dates: 9-15 June 2016 (9, 13, 14 and 15 have scheduled activities)
  • Venue: Department of Engineering’s Dyson Centre for Engineering Design
  • Contact: Jenny Molloy (jcm80@cam.ac.uk) for any queries.

Apply Now! >>>

The Goals

The goals of the event are:

  1. To introduce students to the challenges of designing and innovating with technology for different contexts in international development, including success stories, failures and works in progress.

  2. To present a series of challenges and gather creative solutions from interdisciplinary teams, demonstrating that this is possible using only open source technologies that are available for all to build on with minial restrictions.

  3. To provide proof of principle and protoypes, providing opportunities for students to learn hardware and software rapid prototyping skills.

  4. To select and enable at least one of those protoypes to further develop, offering all make-a-thon participants the chance to collaborate on a project that extends beyond the life of the event.

  5. To document other protoypes and solutions for the benefit of future projects and signpost participants to other avenues of support within and beyond the University.

The Rules

  1. Be nice. We have a friendly space policy.

  2. The make-a-thon is collaborative not competitive.

  3. We encourage use of the rule of two feet - if you are not contributing to or learning from the project you initially start working on then walk around the room and find one where you are!

  4. Publicly document what you do.

  5. Make sure you follow all the Health and Safety guidelines for the Dyson Centre for Engineering Design and listen to the mentors, organisers and centre staff. If you're not sure - ask!

Eligibility

Open to all students (Undergraduates and Graduates) at the University of Cambridge from any subject.

Venue

We are kindly being hosted by the Dyson Centre for Engineering Design (@dysoncentrecamb) at the University of Cambridge Engineering Department:

“A modern workspace where engineering students can come together outside of the classroom to think, experiment, design, build and exchange ideas.”

You can find descriptions of the available equipment on the website and pay close attention to the Health and Safety guidance for the equipment.

Schedule

After an introduction on 9 June to the challenges, the kit and the fully equipped Dyson workshops at Cambridge University Engineering Department, you'll have a few days to form teams, think and design before a two-day making sprint in the workshops 13-14 June and a chance to get feedback on your prototypes at the Open Technology Maker Faire on 15 June. Participants will of course free to attend any other May week activity in parallel with the Make-a-thon.

  • 9 June - Introduction to Challenges
  • 10 June - Technology for Development Workshop at CRASSH (optional)
  • 11 - 12 June - Weekend
  • 13 - 14 June - Make-a-thon!
  • 15 June - Open Technology Workshop and Maker Faire to demo prototypes

 

Thu 9 June

11:30 - 13:00

Introduction in the Dyson Centre
An overview of the challenges will be provided by Lara Allen of the Centre for Global EqualityTalks on current examples of open technologies for international development and humanitarian action will be provided by:

    1. SimPrints
    2. WaterScope

13:00-14:00

Lunch in the CUED Canteen

14:00-15:00

Dyson Centre Tour
Introduction to facilities and available materials/kits

15:00-17:30

Informal time
Students can further explore the Dyson Centre and start talking about project ideas

Fri 10 June (OPTIONAL)

10:00-17:00    Technology for the Bottom Billion Workshop [Programme]

Sat 11 June - Sun 12 June

No events will be scheduled on these days but you can continue discussing and arrange further meetups.

Mon 13 June

09:00 - 09:30    Introduction and safety briefing
09:30 - 10:30    Project and team formation
10:30 - 12:30    Making!
12:30 - 13:00    Lunch in CUED Canteen
13:00 - 15:00    More making
15:00 - 15:30    We need, we want, we have
15:30 - 17:30    More making

Tue 14 June

09:00 - 09:30    Project roadmaps
09:30 - 12:30    Making
12:30 - 13:00    We need, we want, we have
13:00 - 13:30    Lunch in CUED Canteen
13:30 - 16:30    More making

16:30 - 17:30    Demo and presentation planning

Wed 15 June

Teams will present their project as part of the afternoon maker-faire and the top project for taking forward will be awarded some funding and support to progress the idea.

09:30 - 12:30   Open Technology Workshop 
12:30 - 13:30   Lunch
13:30 - 16:30   Mini Maker Faire with demos

 

The Challenges

Technology challenges to address problems in international development and humanitarian contexts will be put forward by the Centre for Global Equality, these could include:

- use of mobile networks to improve emergency response,
- securing water for food, 
- improving pneumonia detection,
- and many more.

All challenges will potentially be surmountable with the kit and equipment provided and some creativity! More than one team is welcome to work on each challenge.

You can find the challenges and background information in this Google Drive folder.

Supplies

Basic materials and electronic components, Arduinos, Raspberry Pis and mBEd boards donated by ARM will be supplied. Requests for further materials will be fulfilled as best as possible and the budget per team is approx. £100.

 

Communication and documentation

 

Thanks to our supporters

  • University of Cambridge Synthetic Biology SRI
  • Cambridge University Engineering Department
  • Centre for Global Equality
  • ARM
  • SimPrints
  • WaterScope

About

The Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative provides a hub for anyone interested in Synthetic Biology at the University of Cambridge, including researchers, commercial partners and external collaborators. 

Subscribe to our mailing list