How can we harness the precision of machines for the creativity of individuals? Digital fabrication tools promise quality production in low volume and are now accessible in maker spaces worldwide. However, the maker context is very different from the historical industrial settings in which digital fabrication was developed. Yet these differences have not led to many changes in contemporary tools. I argue that personal fabrication requires a rethinking of production infrastructure, and in this talk outline a research roadmap for machine agency.
Nadya Peek develops unconventional digital fabrication tools, small scale automation, networked controls, and advanced manufacturing systems. Spanning electronics, firmware, software, and mechanics, her research focuses on harnessing the precision of machines for the creativity of individuals.
Nadya is an assistant professor at the University of Washington in the Human-Centered Design and Engineering department where she directs the Machine Agency. She is VP of the Open Source Hardware Association, half of the design studio James and the Giant Peek, and plays drum machines and synths in the band Construction. She completed her PhD on “Making Machines that Make” at MIT in 2016, advised by Neil Gershenfeld.