We have been working with Limitless Child International for a few months now on some new programming for the Maker Auto. At long last, we were able to launch the first of these workshops last week. They were a great success and gave us great confidence for future workshops.
The first workshop was with an NGO called ASHA – Action for Self-Reliance, Hope and Awareness. ASHA provides crisis intervention, family development work, medical social work, early intervention for vulnerable infants, and empowerment programs girls in the slum areas of Pune, India. A major focus is empowerment and education for girls as an approach to prevention of early marriage and domestic abuse. Limitless Child partners with ASHA to provide sports programs and the Mobile Play and Learning Program. The Mobile Play and Learning Program is provided in partnership with Coby and the Maker’s Asylum and brings learning workshops via the Maker Auto to the girls in their community. The workshop was held at a Community Center in the heart of the slum area. 30 girls participated in the 2.5 hour workshop – goal to build a study table out of easily sourced materials. Plastic water bottles, bamboo, a small block of wood with embedded blade (used as a jig to cut the water bottles – think apple-peeler) chisel, hammer, and heat gun, and a large wood slab for the table top. The kids converted the plastic bottles to long lengths of plastic twine, chiseled out notches in the bamboo to fit pieces together to become the table legs and braces, and used the twine to hold the bamboo together, sealing the twine with a heat gun. The girls participated in all aspects of the build. They didn’t have time to complete the table, so Namita and Anurag finished it and will deliver it this next week. The girls would like to have additional workshops.
Second workshop was at Renuka Mahajan Trust Orphanage– An private orphanage located on the outskirts of Pune. 25 children (5 from the orphanage, 10 children of orphanage staff, 10 from local community) participated in 2.5 hour workshop – goal to conceptualize, design and make a small robot out of craft supplies and battery powered motor. Children drew plans, created imaginary creatures based on their plans using craft supplies then attached a battery and small motor to produce movement. Namita and Anurag led the workshop, Jenny from Limitless Child International helped along with the caretakers. The Maker Auto was brought right into the orphanage courtyard, all 4 tables from the auto were taken out and used as work surfaces for the workshop. The kids absolutely loved the entire process and want more.
It was a crazy ride, but we made it out of Autodesk University India 2016 smiling from ear to ear (despite exhaustion). We had the distinct honor of driving THROUGH the giant screen at the AU main event stage to receive a warm welcome from Pradeep Nair, managing director of Autodesk India. The real reason we were there though, was not the fanfare of onstage glory, but to meet the other makers, tinkerers and hackers who got together after the main event in the Maker Fair area.
After months of work, the Maker Auto is finally nearing completion. On September 1st we will be unveiling the auto in public at Atuodesk University 2016. As planned the auto is fully equipped with 4 folding work benches that double as tool storage units, a full set of woodworking, soldering and tinkering tools, a 3D printer and a few extra secret surprises. We aren’t on the road doing workshops yet, but we have already been featured in numerous news articles (see below). Stay tuned for more exciting updates.
If there is one lesson to learn from this project, it is that nothing happens in a vacuum. We are so excited to announce some really amazing new partnership for the Maker Auto team.
First, let me introduce you to YCenter. Aditya and Namita from the YCenter team joined us a few weeks ago and have been championing the curriculum and project development side. Ycenter is a Global Experiential Education enterprise. They create hands-on experiential learning programs. These educational programs promote a spirit of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to create measurable impact worldwide. YCenter believes that the traditional education systems are not enough, and they work to teach real world skills in and out of the classroom. Shout out to YCenter for being such great members of our team. Check them out on the web at y-center.org.
Secondly, we are thrilled to welcome Fresher Foundry to the team. Maker Auto’s champion maker, Mayur, introduced the rest of the team to Deepak from Fresher Foundry last week, and we new instantly that it would be a perfect fit. We can’t wait to get rolling with some really great workshops with Fresher Foundry starting next month. Fresher Foundry is a high engagement platform where engineers are guided to build bench (working) prototypes for real world engineering problems. Every workshop is geared around a multi-disciplinary, collaborative project. We collaborate with engineering companies to train their engineers on various technologies through training sessions and setting up labs on their premises to ensure continuous engagement and direct business impact. Check them out online at http://www.fresherfoundry.com/
As of this week, industry-leading software company Autodesk has signed on as our biggest sponsor. Autodesk is committed to supporting making and creativity in many regards. As a core value, Autodesk believes in promoting maker communities around the world because more people feeling empowered to make change locally means more life-changing innovations.
As part of our partnership the Maker Auto team will be using Autodesk Fusion360 in our 3D modeling work on the project.
Big thanks to Autodesk for your commitment.
We presented the project plan for officials at Autodesk and the state government of Maharashtra as part of the ‘Maker in Maharashtra’ campaign.