Sketching Disruptive Innovations


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Slides for the talk at Sketching in Hardware 2012 ( Mentioned activities at f.Labo ( and discussed about possibilities and challenges for a citizen craft center with design thinking education curriculums.

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Sketching Disruptive Innovations

  1. 1. Sketching in Hardware 2012Sketching Disruptive InnovationsJuly 20, 21 and 22, White Stag Building, University of Oregon, Portland, OR, U.S.A.Shigeru Kobayashi (Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences [IAMAS] / f.Labo)
  2. 2. [Self introduction in 60 seconds]Hello. My name is Shigeru, an associate professor of IAMAS, Institute of Advanced Media Artsand Sciences, [CLICK] and I’m running f.Labo, a startup citizen craft center in a local town inJapan.
  3. 3. A few months ago, our student work ‘Ubi-Camera’ has been reported by engadget,
  4. 4. DigiInfo.tv
  5. 5. and core 77.
  6. 6. Ubi-Camera has been developed through sketching in hardware.
  7. 7. After joining IAMAS, I have been teaching physical computing and writing articles for MAKEmagazine in Japanese,
  8. 8. supervised translation of Tom’s ‘Making Things Talk’ and Rob’s ‘Building Wireless SensorNetworks’ in Japanese,
  9. 9. 写真撮影:萩原健一wrote a book about Arduino (as Björn mentioned yesterday)
  10. 10. Photo by SparkFun Electronics (CC: BY-NC-SA 3.0)and designed Arduino Fio with SparkFun Electronics.
  11. 11. I also developed Funnel toolkit. Regarding Funnel, Jeff Hoefs contributed a lot to improve theAS3 library, and I’m really happy to see that a much better toolkit, [CLICK] Breakout is nowavailable.
  12. 12. OK. Let me introduce f.Labo, a startup citizen craft center in a local town in Japan.
  13. 13. 青森 秋田 岩手 山形 宮城 新潟 福島 石川 富山 栃木 群馬 長野 城 埼玉 福井 岐阜 山梨 東京 Tokyo 鳥取 神奈川 千葉 兵庫 京都 滋賀 島根 愛知 静岡 岡山 広島 大阪 三重 奈良 山口 香川 徳島 和歌山 f.Labo is in Gifu愛媛 高知 prefecture. Gifu is located almost in the center of Japan. Gifu Prefecture has 福岡 large clusters of automobile, aircraft and machine tool manufacturing factories and賀 大分 businesses, as well as a prospering traditional industry base for cutlery, ceramics and woodwork. But these industries were seriously affected by globalization. 熊本 宮崎
  14. 14. So, components manufacturers, that have been fabricating high quality components, startedfinding new areas to survive. For instance, [CLICK] a metal components manufacturer thatexcel at at manufacturing of a wide variety of products in small quantities, [CLICK] aredeveloping a carbon-composite product to expand their abilities. But, hardware startups arerisky. Typically, manufacturers already know ‘how’ to make, but don’t know about ‘what’ tomake and tend to don’t think about ‘why’ to make.
  15. 15. Digital fabrication tools as ‘glues’ Parts manufacturers × Software developers Disruptive innovations Design thinking method Local designers • Ideation • Build to think • CollaborationWe designed f.Labo to tackle this issue. [CLICK] f.Labo have digital fabrication tools likeFabLab, to let participants experience the power as ‘glues’. Additionally, f.Labo haseducational programs of design thinking. By multiplying these two key factors, [CLICK] webelieve that participants such as local part manufactures, software developers and designers[CLICK] can generate ‘disruptive innovations’.
  16. 16. Performance Sustaining innovations s at customer Per for mance th or absorb can utilize Time ‘Disruptive Innovation’ (C. M. Christensen, 1997)‘Disruptive Innovation’ was coined by Clayton Christensen coined in 1990s. He distinguishedsustaining ‘innovations’ and ‘disrupting’ innovations. Sustaining innovations may be either‘discontinuous’ or ‘continuous’, and only evolves existing ones with better value.
  17. 17. Performance Sustaining innovations s at customer Per for mance th or absorb can utilize Disruptive innovations Time ‘Disruptive Innovation’ (C. M. Christensen, 1997)Disruptive innovations are innovations that helps create a new market and value network, andeventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network, displacing an earliertechnology. For instance, when SONY released the first transistor radio, the quality was notcomparable to vacuum tube radios. But it was accepted to new customers, since cheap, smalland portable. Same as desk copier by Canon in comparison to copier by Xerox. It seems thatJapanese companies totally forgot the history, but I believe that it’s time to seriously thinkabout this issue.
  18. 18. Replicator ($1,749, MakerBot, 2012) Cube ($1,299, 3D Systems, 2012) Solidoodle 2 ($499, Solidoodle, 2012)We feel that rising digital fabrication tools such as low cost 3D printers can be the key ofdisruptive innovations. Currently, speed, quality nor durability is not comparable to standardmanufacturing technology such as injection molding. But it’s cheap and the quality is ‘goodenough’ for various purposes. Needless to say, ‘Maker Movement’ has been playing veryimportant roles in popular acceptance of 3D printers.
  19. 19. %E3%83%97%E3%83%AD%E3%83%95%E3%82%A3%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AB/For instance, this is an one-off self-helping tool by an artisan. It’s designed to help theperson who lost 5 fingers of his right hand in an accident. He designed by himself and askedseveral manufactures to make, but refused. After that, he decided to make by himself.Through the experience, he became an artisan.
  20. 20. Drawing: Hisashi ImaiThe tool consists of standard components and custom components like this.
  21. 21. Drawing: Hisashi ImaiNow we can fabricate ‘good enough’ quality custom components with digital fabricationtools, and wider audiences might be able to have at low cost.
  22. 22. Photo by Marc Cryan can also find various prosthesis projects at instructables. Marc Cryan built a printableversion of the Trautman Hook, an out-of production prosthetic device. His project is derivedfrom work by the Open Prosthetic Project. He made modifications to create a version that canbe built using low cost 3D printing technology. 
  23. 23. OK, that’s why we started f.Labo. We opened f.Labo as a part of an incubation center forinformation technology startups in February, 2012.
  24. 24. This is the entrance of f.Labo.
  25. 25. There are digital fabrication tools such as a laser cutter,
  26. 26. a 3D modeling machine
  27. 27. a 3D printer and so on.
  28. 28. There are also tables for workshops
  29. 29. and a library space to show results and related books.
  30. 30. fabulous fabrication fun factory future foolish foundation failure federation facilitation‘f’ of f.Labo stands for various meanings like this. To realize these aspects, we thought thatdigital fabrication tools, educational programs, and creating communities are the keys.Currently, 4 staff, 4 graduate school students and 2 teachers are actively working for f.Labo,and we are expanding the community to other students and teachers, local designers andarchitects, manufacturers, software startups, high schools and so on.
  31. 31. To let people know about possibilities of digital fabrication, we have been runningintroductory workshops on digital fabrication tools,
  32. 32. workshops by invited guests
  33. 33. workshops by invited guests
  34. 34. and workshops by f.Labo staff.
  35. 35. and workshops by f.Labo staff.
  36. 36. We also regularly organize events to introduce possibilities and issues of digital fabrication.
  37. 37. So far, we invited founders of FabLab in Japan to discuss on possibilities,
  38. 38. an open source hardware distributor and developer to discuss on possibilities and issues ofopen source hardware,
  39. 39. an artisan of hand made self-helping tools to discuss on possibilities of archiving designprocesses and utilizing digital fabrication for low volume, cheap cost and good enoughquality products,
  40. 40. a catalyst of Creative Commons License to discuss on possibilities and issues of licenses andsystems for artifacts in addition to digital contents,
  41. 41. and key players of FabCafe, a new startup business featuring a cafe with a laser cutter andguests can enjoy digital fabrication in addition to drinking coffees, to discuss possibilities ofnew FAB related businesses.
  42. 42. The other important role of f.Labo is education. We have been developing a simplified toolkitbased on IDEO’s HCD toolkit, and will hold workshops for local designers and developers.
  43. 43. I’d like to introduce a case study at f.Labo. It was transforming industrial waste into products.I have been focusing on beginnings of products, but thinking about ends of products andstart from there might be a hint to think about new ways of making products.
  44. 44. Nakadai ( is an inter-level industrial waste disposer in Gunma,Japan. They have been running ‘Mono: Factory’ ( Theirconcept is transforming industrial waste into ‘social material’, then create new products withinspirations evoked by things.
  45. 45. They held ‘The 2nd Industrial Waste Summit’ from 14th to 16th. Theme provided by Nakadai:‘Design that doesn’t use “made with waste” as an excuse’ was a good challenge for us.
  46. 46. Photo: Yutaka KitamuraWe had to overcome how to transform ‘aggregations of components’ to ‘products’, whilekeeping the individual stories of each material.
  47. 47. To tackle this, we utilized digital fabrication tools (such as a laser cutter) to fabricate customcomponents that glue materials together. This being our first step to developing innovativemethods and putting a new face on ‘manufacturing’. We developed 5 products within onemonth.
  48. 48. Photo: Yuki KinparaI’ll introduce two of them. This is an iPad stylus made with recycled brass tubes from astationery manufacturer and copper wire.
  49. 49. 導電性布 アクリル 丸めた銅線 真鍮部材 書き味が悪くなったら ピンセットなどの先のとがったモノを使い 中のボールを取り出し揉みほぐします。 ボールを布に 2 重で包みキャップを戻します。 キャップの部分を取り外します。 Drawing: Yuki KinparaThe pen tip is made using conductive fabric encasing a ball of copper wire. This is held inplace with interlocking components and a handy clip made from laser-cut acrylic.
  50. 50. 青森 Zuiganji 秋田 岩手 Nakadai 山形 宮城 f.Labo 新潟 福島 石川 富山 栃木 群馬 長野 城 埼玉 福井 岐阜 山梨 東京 鳥取 神奈川 千葉 兵庫 京都 滋賀 島根 愛知 静岡 岡山 広島 大阪 三重 奈良 山口 香川 徳島 和歌山 This is another 愛媛 高知 Zuiganji is a famous temple associated with the legendary warrior example. 福岡 and leader Masamune Date.賀 大分 熊本 宮崎
  51. 51. Photo by yamakidoms is situated in Matsushima Bay, known as one of the ‘Three Views of Japan’. Recently due torapidly changing groundwater levels caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the famouscypress trees of the Zuiganji are unfortunately dying.
  52. 52. Photo: Yutaka KitamuraThe trees are being processes as a part of ‘rubble of the earthquake’. The rubblecontaminated with radioactive materials is a big issue in Japan, so people is really nervousabout ‘rubbles’ from the disaster-stricken area. This being our staring point and wishing tocontinue the trees ‘story’, not making ‘recycled’ products easily such as park benches.
  53. 53. After discussions, we’ve got an idea transforming them into iPhone cases that include aPocket Geiger Counter, a radiation sensor for smart phone. Pocket Geiger Counter KIT isdeveloped by, an open and non-profit project to develop cheap andsmart survey meter for everyone. The project is supported by volunteer engineers anddesigners inside/outside Japan, and the survey meters have been fabricated in a factorysurvived in the disaster. At first, they published the project at Kickstarter in July 2011 thenreleased as a kit one month later at low price.
  54. 54. After that, they released the 2nd generation model as an assembled product in February2012. The model is very small and doesn’t require batteries since they implemented energyharvesting circuit from the audio output. They collaborated with High Energy AcceleratorResearch Organization in Japan and Dutch Metrology Institute.
  55. 55. This is the first prototype of the iPhone case. The top side is like this,
  56. 56. and the bottom side is like this.
  57. 57. In the airplane In PortlandI measured the radiation doze rate at various places including this building. We’d like toexplore possibilities of productizing this in collaboration with andwoodwork factories in the disaster-stricken area.
  58. 58. Sketching Disruptive Innovations Reverse Innovations in ‘Developed’ Countries • Low-cost scintillation based radiation dosimeter have been developed after the earthquake • Now implemented in smart phones $2,000 (Polimaster PM1703M) $250 (S.T. Corporation Air Counter EX) Sketching in Hardware 2012 | Sketching Disruptive Innovations | Shigeru Kobayashi (IAMAS / f.Labo)Now, ‘Reverse Innovations’ have drawn attention, and reverse innovations can be happen inwhat is called ‘developed’ countries. For instance, scintillation counter was expensive beforethe nuclear power plant accident. One year later, we can purchase almost same quality modelat 10% plus a little bit. I seriously don’t like the accident, but big changes of the societyinvoked this kind of innovations.
  59. 59. Sketching Disruptive InnovationsConclusions & Challenges For The Future• Sketch to innovate is the key• How to make communities?• How to design curriculums to teach design thinking?• How to develop system to share derivatives? Making front end apps for social repositories such as GitHub?• Industrial waste can be atoms?Sketching in Hardware 2012 | Sketching Disruptive Innovations | Shigeru Kobayashi (IAMAS / f.Labo)