The Young Foundation is coordinating OpenMaker, a transnational research project funded by the European Commission, which aims at supporting mass collaboration between traditional manufacturers and makers across Europe. On October 17th, OpenMaker opened this year’s European Maker Week (running from 23-29 October) at the Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels.
European Maker Week is an initiative promoted by the European Commission and implemented by Maker Faire Rome, in collaboration with Startup Europe. It aims to draw European citizens into the ‘maker world’; an emerging and dynamic social technology-based movement embracing ‘Open Manufacturing’. It runs annually in cities all over Europe and aims to open the doors of FabLabs, Makerspaces, Hackerspaces and the Hardware Start-ups Environments to the public in order to strengthen the engagement between Makers and their local communities.
This year, during the launch, chaired by Vice President Telicka and MEP Pirinski, a group of innovators and visionaries presented their stories of collaboration to develop cutting edge technical innovations with the potential to address societal challenges and create the industry of the future. Here are some of the highlights:
Talking Hands – translating sign language into voice:
LIMIX Srl is an Italian start-up founded in March 2015, spinning out of the Camerino University Department of Mathematics and Applications. LIMIX works in technological research, with particular attention on Gesture Recognition.
Talking Hands, their flagship project, is a wearable device that enables the translation of the sign language into voice. It records hand movements, translates them and transfers signal to a smartphone, where the signals are processed by a voice synthesizer so that signs can be understood by anyone.
This device could dramatically increase the quality of life of deaf people, who are often excluded from social life due to their disability.
Talking Hands is still in its infancy but has already attracted interest from public and private companies and in October 2016 won the 1st prize of €100,000 at the Rome Prize contest in the Maker Faire Rome. The Limix research team are currently developing the product to be launched on the market.
BlueRhapsody – 3-D printed pasta:
BluRhapsody is a spin-off by Barilla, Italian family-owned food company, currently in its start-up process. It aims to allow chefs the freedom and creativity to customise the ingredients and shapes of their pasta, both in order to augment the gastronomical experience but it will also have a revolutionary impact for those with intolerances or that need to follow a specific diet.
Hacktivate the City – Generation Z
Christophe De Jaeger presented Hacktivate the City – Generation Z, a collaboration between the Gluon Foundation, BOZAR (Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels), Moussem Nomadic Arts Centre and Erasmus Hogeschool, Brussels.
Generation Z is a project in which young people, artists and technologists set off on an interdisciplinary quest for solutions to big city challenges. The young ‘urban activists’ draw their inspiration from the city and use new digital technologies to come up with ideas, tools and prototypes for a more sustainable Brussels.
The project challenges secondary school pupils, especially those coming from disadvantaged background, to get thinking about mobility, ecology, health, energy and new media. Their creations are on show at the Generation Z exhibition at BOZAR.