Last night, NYC Tech Connect hosted its first Technology You Can Touch mixer—a networking event aimed at engineers and inventors with the goal of fostering "the development of a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem in NYC." While New York is currently awash in incubator and startup support for artists and new media technologists, organizer Shari Ford is particularly committed to nurturing endeavors in bioscience, cleantech, material, and other hard sciences—which are less served outside of university or college settings. The Technology You Can Touch event looked to start assisting this community by focusing on identifying non-university support and resources available for those in the hard sciences in New York City.
To that end, the inaugural meet-and-greet included working industrial designers from companies like ECCO Design, entrepreneurs with projects ranging from a solar-powered grill to laser-cut false eyelashes and representatives from a variety of labs, incubators, and other resources in New York City where people turn their designs into reality via 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, work spaces and most importantly, community.
A few of the representatives were: Peter Semmelhack of Bug Labs which develops open source "snap together" electronic components so that artists, designers and engineers can easily create the devices they need without an EE degree. Additionally Bug Labs has their Test Kitchen—an open R&D lab that hosts classes, workshops or provides individual workspace. buglabs.net Bre Pettis of MakerBot envisions "world cooperation via 3D printing." MakerBot Industries doesn't provide 3D printing services, but instead (in the truest teaching a person to fish intention) creates open source DIY kits of affordable, desktop, 3D printers: MakerBots. makerbot.com Russell Durrett and Sung won Lim of Genspace helped create the first "hackerspace for biologists" last year by building an open, nonprofit, community laboratory in downtown Brooklyn. Genspace is a fully equipped, membership-based lab that provides a safe, Biosafety Level 1 compliant facility, as well as classes, workshops and a strong biotechnology community. genspace.org
Additional resources for designers and fabricators include:
- 3rd Ward - an incubator that provides photo studios, media lab, jewelry studio, wood & metal shops, and a huge education program. Anyone can come to 3rd Ward to work, play, learn, grow and, ultimately, transform.Â 3rdward.com
- NYC Resistor - a hacker collective with a shared space located in downtown Brooklyn. We meet regularly to share knowledge, hack on projects together, and build community. nycresistor.com
- quirky - a social product development company. Your product ideas come in, our community works on them, we sell your product worldwide. quirky.com
- Shapeways - the place for you to buy, make and sell your own products via 3D printing. Upload your 3D design and Shapeways will quickly and affordably print and ship your object back to you. shapeways.com
- NYC Acre (Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy) - an incubator that helps clean technology and renewable energy entrepreneurs and companies by providing offices, business services and access to "wet labs" and advanced research facilities at local universities. nycacre.com
NYC Tech Connect has pulled together a lot of New York City's potential and we're excited to see what develops out of this new community.