I’m Chuma, and until very recently was part of the organizing team at Hardware Lagos. In the last two years, the guys and I have had great fun planning the events and activities, but it’s time for me to concentrate on other things I enjoy.
Writing this newsletter is one of them; every first of the month I will continue to drop one of the these in your inbox. Other than hardware, I will extend the newsletter to also cover design things.
Things I Enjoyed Reading
Desmond Koney, a Ghanian hardware entrepreneur, wrote in Tech + Africa about making and manufacturing in China. While he addresses a number of concerns that he had, one that struck me was discussing his product with manufacturers without a Non Disclosure Agreement. While NDAs are highly regarded in West Africa, out in China it is done away with.
Side note: I’m glad to be one of the editors of Tech + Africa with other makers from Ghana and the US, if you would like to share a story please give me a shout.
Particle has announced Mesh, a system that lets developers build local, low-power mesh networks between devices. While this is another connectivity tool built around Nordic’s Bluetooth, the company (formerly called Spark) has repeatedly shown that they understand the hacker market. When I think about IOT in Africa, however, I’m convinced we are not quite done with cellular/SMS; the Nova cellular modem from Hologram.io works well for this and interfaces with the Raspberry Pi.
When Bunnie Huang writes a blog post, I run to read it. In this one, he talks about China’s perception of the iPhone X ‘notch’. An app on the Xiaomi Mix 2 can simulate the notch giving a realistic impression of the phone to an untrained eye; Bunnie makes a case with this for design leadership vs market perception.
Nicolas Barrial, in Makery, catalogs the machines that have come out of fablabs and makerspaces and are changing the (design and) manufacturing landscape. On the other end of the spectrum, makerspaces are getting smaller; on my blog I write about BetaBox’s business model running a makerspace out of a trailer and how that could be reapplied in Nigeria.
Things That Blew My Mind
Grafter makes it possible to combine different 3D-printable mechanisms.
Your next Arduino could be flexible.
Designing custom running shoes by optimizing how much polyurethane is poured into the shoe’s sole.
A 100-metre-high air purification tower improves the air quality by 15%.
Andrew Sowa penned one of the best how-tos on reading a datasheet, taking time to explain even pins and dimensions.
One of my 2018 goals is to design PCBs, keeping them ground is kind of a big deal.
It is possible to design a 3D printable item with Photoshop.
Also, you can cast metal using a 3D printed mold.
Things To Apply For
CcHub is organizing the #DisruptingTheDownstream Hackathon looking for ideas that can improve the service delivery and client experience in the downstream oil sector. The winning solution will be piloted at an ENYO Retail petrol station; it starts today so sign up already. For expo, reading about Flowbyte might help.
While machines are still one of the hardest things to build, FabAcademy has done exciting work developing machines that make (almost) anything. In this light, the BOILL-SZOIL Accelerator Program calls for projects and startups creating digital industrial machines for distributed manufacturing proving access to funding, industrial resources, and mentorship.
GrabCAD was one of my biggest resources when I started using CAD, and winning one of the Challenges there with Kunle (as UI undergrads) was a fine moment. One of their current challenges, this time with ASME, is to design a solution to eradicate malaria.
If you’re a student under 24 and looking to solve a real challenge with design, check out the Design for Social Impact Challenge by Autodesk. You could win $1000 and if nothing else, test your dexterity with the Fusion 360 software.
Tweet of the Month
Solid aesthetics is pleasing to the eyes at all times. Though never sacrifice "functionality over form". Make it beautiful and ensure it also works great.— Solar Archangel (@abbeydot) February 20, 2018
One Personal Thing
Last month, I wrote about partnerships that are necessary for technology innovation and how hardware in Nigeria can be accelerated by partnering with other (non-technology) manufacturing outfits.