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You Can and Should Make Hardware


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Jeff Williams talks about how to always maintain zero difference between prototype and production versions, treat hardware as a delivery system for software value, identify essential user task, run everyday design sprints and more. Filmed at

Jeff Williams is a Robotics Systems Developer. His primary interest recently is ultra-low cost robotics connected to the cloud by low-power microwave radios. In his career he has worked on large projects with Lego, L'Oreal, Wal-Mart, HP, Coca-Cola, Kroger, etc and with big logistics companies like APL, Sealand, Matson, P&O Ports, Maersk and DPA World Ports.

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You Can and Should Make Hardware

  1. 1. You Can and Should Make Hardware QCon/SF 2017
  2. 2. News & Community Site • Over 1,000,000 software developers, architects and CTOs read the site world- wide every month • 250,000 senior developers subscribe to our weekly newsletter • Published in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese) • Post content from our QCon conferences • 2 dedicated podcast channels: The InfoQ Podcast, with a focus on Architecture and The Engineering Culture Podcast, with a focus on building • 96 deep dives on innovative topics packed as downloadable emags and minibooks • Over 40 new content items per week Watch the video with slide synchronization on! hardware-prototype-production
  3. 3. Purpose of QCon - to empower software development by facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation Strategy - practitioner-driven conference designed for YOU: influencers of change and innovation in your teams - speakers and topics driving the evolution and innovation - connecting and catalyzing the influencers and innovators Highlights - attended by more than 12,000 delegates since 2007 - held in 9 cities worldwide Presented at QCon San Francisco
  4. 4. Imagecredit:Google
  5. 5. Imagecredit:Foldscope
  6. 6. Imagecredit:Google
  7. 7. Imagecredit:JavierCanerosMusic:Huma-Huma Two Microns at This Scale –> ||
  8. 8. Diseased Blood Healthy Blood Imagecredit:Foldscope Malaria Diagnosis
  9. 9. ECommerce Automation Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  10. 10. Value Building Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  11. 11. You Cannot Compete with This
  12. 12. Imagecredit:IBM Pretotyping
  13. 13. Smartphone Superpower Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  14. 14. Smartphone Upcycle
  15. 15. Go for it? Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  16. 16. Design
  17. 17. Essential User Task Hike to that Mountaintop Economically Launch 5000kg into LEO Reveal the Microscopic World for $2 Use Heart Rate Biofeedback to improve CBT Treatment Accurately and efficiently execute tens of thousands of e-commerce orders with wildly different daily sku mix using transient labor
  18. 18. 15 Iterations Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  19. 19. Cost Calculations $100/unit (remote) vs $400/unit (local) 50 sets per build, two major builds $10k (remote) vs $40k (local) One week delay - $40k $50k (remote) vs $40k (local)
  20. 20. A Simple Philosophy If you maintain zero difference between prototype and production designs, you can mass produce any revision even when you iterate designs rapidly Corollary Always manufacture prototype and production designs on the same tooling - always ZeroDiff
  21. 21. Velocity Imagecredit:AlainStoll World Speed Record: 574km/hr
  22. 22. Velocity Paris –> Brussels: 314 km SNCF 574 km/hr –> 32 minutes 10 minute station delay… now it’s 42 minutes Average velocity is now 448 km/hr... Taking us back to 1996! Use a less expensive train, and still get there faster!
  23. 23. Kaizen Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  24. 24. NY Review of Books “A pen is not a magic wand. The critical faculty is not conjured from nothing. But it was remarkable how many students improved their performance with this simple stratagem. There is something predatory, cruel even, about a pen suspended over a text. Like a hawk over a field, it is on the lookout for something vulnerable.” –Tim Park
  25. 25. Read with a Pen Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  26. 26. Markdown + mkdocs + Github
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  28. 28. Generic Business-y Slide Imagecredit:KevinPhillips
  29. 29. Origami Imagecredit:toomai
  30. 30. Industrial Origami Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  31. 31. Poscon Origami Example
  32. 32. F 1/10 Robot Racing Imagecredit:F1/10TeamUPenn
  33. 33. Donkey Car
  34. 34. 3D Printing is Slow/Expensive Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  35. 35. Design Stuff with Fusion 360 Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  36. 36. Push EagleCAD to Fusion360 Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  37. 37. Combined Object Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  38. 38. Iteration Toward a $25 Robot! Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  39. 39. Don’t Even Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  40. 40. Imagecredit:Kerttu
  41. 41. Imagecredit:KennyMcDonald
  42. 42. If they fear bill collectors or authorities, they can never ride Imagecredit:Google
  43. 43. My Essential User Task Cheap Open Source Robots that Workers Own and Program Imagecredit:JeffWilliams
  44. 44. Bits
  45. 45. Watch the video with slide synchronization on! hardware-prototype-production