The MakerNet initiative aims:
First, to create a free, open-source platform to network all the makerspaces in the world together, providing a forum for collaboration and skill-sharing.
Second, to connect this network of spaces and people to the humanitarian and disaster relief sectors, harnessing the immense capacity for innovation, design, and production towards goals beyond commercial or educational.
MakerNet has been evolved to be useful to groups who are keenly interested in distributed manufacturing platforms. These would be comprised of local makerspaces on down to individual craftsmen, as a vector for needer material design and production on site, rather than being shipped internationally from the small list of pre-approved distributors.
It represents a diverse set of stakeholders and developers across the private, humanitarian, and governmental sectors.
Working in collaboration with representatives from Field Ready ,the MakerNet team arrived at a scope, or a module, or set of features, that track and calculate time-and materials-based costs for designing, prototyping, and producing a given object within the MakerNet ecosystem. This provides the necessary dataset for costing prediction, analytics, and transparency, such that procurement officers could have reasonable assurance of what they were getting, how long it would take, and how much it ought to cost.
It is designed to track materials costs as a function of a given project, and those materials costs track unit types (e.g. lbs, kg, liters, etc), and currency type, as well as amounts of each, location and date of purchase. Similarly, costs associated with maker wages, workshop rent and overhead are also tracked.
All of this information is normalized and decoupled from the specific project in which it’s created, so that users can track these costs as a function of time and location without accessing potentially private data about the project of origin.
Testing and Scaling
Initial engagement with stakeholders was important in mapping out what problems are faced by people working in various relevant sectors and roles, and how a tool like MakerNet could address those issues. Beyond that, it is in the process of being deployed in a focused test setting with Field Ready to test it and make necessary adjustments, and then adapt it for more widespread use in other countries and with other partner organizations.
Nathan Parker – firstname.lastname@example.org