Inventables is working on democratizing access to new materials for what we affectionately refer to as "Little R&D". Little R&D in our view includes all the small teams or individuals that work on R&D projects from places like Universities, startups, and small companies. Typically they have a little bit of funding but getting high volume suppliers and manufacturers to give them technical support or sometimes sell them materials and components can be challenging. In our experience these teams have lots of passion, energy, and great ideas. We launched Inventables new innovator's hardware store for Little R&D folks like Tom Rooney and his team who built an autonomous underwater robot.
When we think about improving our store we think what can we do to democratize access. This meaning what can we do to make it easier for these innovators to get their hands on new materials and components. Sometimes that means literally making something available for sale that isn't on the market, other times that means building features on our website that let folks in the ask and answer questions.
Recently we ran a contest to reward a "Little R&D" group with a $250 gift certificate to Inventables. The idea was to take away the barrier of cost. Contestants submitted their ideas for what they would do with the gift certificate and the world voted. The world selected Tom Rooney of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of West England. He plans to use the money to upgrade their under water robot.
Tom and his team are engineers designing and building an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The robot is entered into a competition where it is expected to perform realistic missions in the underwater environment. The event is designed to encourage young engineers and scientists to think about underwater technology and its future possibilities as well as fostering interest in innovation and technology, and encouraging careers in the field. Here at Inventables we love supporting groups like this. We believe they are exploring what's possible and in he process changing the world. Here's a video of his robot being tested in a swimming pool:
With his gift certificate Tom selected two of each of the following products:
These will be used for system status of each one of the distributed onboard modules.
These are for selecting different modules
These are to aid the divers in recovery and to make their robot look extra cool!
We threw in free shipping and Tom is going to send us a picture when everything is installed.