Makerspace Skills Week 2016

Last week, our Makerspace was buzzing with activity with a series of seminars, panels and workshops for 3 days from 24th to 26th March. Two of our friends and mentors who have helped us with hardware hacking events last year, Ko Tun Min Soe, and Ko Thiha Kyaw, were both in town, and gave workshops on emerging new skills such as hardware product design, prototyping with 3D printers and designing open hardware platforms. We also had a panel of industry experts talking about the potential for the Internet of Things in Myanmar.

Hardcore circuit diagrams

Ko Thiha Kyaw’s hardcore circuit diagrams

The Skills Week kicked off with a workshop on design open source hardware platforms. It was led by Ko Thiha Kyaw, who works as a research engineer at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore, and who is also one of the founders of Programme NYE (Nurturing Young Engineers), which connects engineering students to industry and engineering professionals working in Myanmar and abroad. Engineering students from YTU, WYTU and other tech schools formed the bulk of the participants in the workshop, and they poured over circuit design software to design an Arduino-like hardware platform from the ground up. Ko Thiha Kyaw then followed up the 4-hour long technical workshop with an evening seminar from 6-8 PM with an informal discussion about open source hardware platforms.

Ko Tun talking about prototyping using CNC routers

Ko Tun talking about prototyping using CNC routers

Our favorite 3D printing and product design guru, Ko Tun Min Soe, was also back in Yangon last week, and led two workshops focusing on hardware product design. Over the course of Thursday and Friday afternoon, he guided participants through the processes involved in using makerspace tools such as 3D printers and CNC routers, along with CAD software, to conceptualise, design and prototype physical products. The end product was a working 3D printed clock with a map of Myanmar and Burmese numerals that was designed entirely by the workshop participants.

Phadeeyar's own Ko Charm holding the clock that was made at the workshop.

Phadeeyar’s own Ko Charm holding the clock that was made at the workshop.

In addition to the more hands-on workshops, we also held a panel discussion about an exciting new technology that is just on the cusp of breaking into Myanmar: the Internet of Things.

Ko Arkar from DRVR explaining about the connection between big data and the Internet of things

Ko Arkar from DRVR explaining about the connection between big data and the Internet of things

The panel discussion was joined by:

  • – David Henderson, the CEO, and Ko Arkar Min Aung, who is a software developer from DRVR, a new Internet of Things startup based in Myanmar and Thailand that focuses on fleet analytics
  • – Ko Htoo Myint Naung, CEO of Technomation, and a pioneer in creating technology products in Myanmar including the PolarStar GPS navigation system
  • – Oliver Meili, CTO of RemoteGrid, a Singapore based company that uses wireless sensor networks for applications ranging from smart cities to precision agriculture
  • – Ko Kaungset Lin, Systems and Technology Manager at Proximity Designs, one of Myanmar’s leading social enterprises that designs and produce income-boosting products for rural farmers

It was a fascinating discussion from various perspectives, both about the panelists past experience with smart technology products in Myanmar ranging from GPS navigation devices to pH sensors for farms, and also the potential of emerging new technologies to solve both urban problems such as traffic congestion to rural ones such as agricultural productivity.

We can’t wait for more makerspace events in the future, and would like to invite anyone who is interested in learning about or working with hardware tech to contact us. For the near future, membership at the makerspace is free of charge!

Makerspace Skills Week was sponsored by USAID, who have supported us throughout in bringing our makerspace project into fruition since early 2015, when we held a design thinking lab, a 3D printing workshop, and a hardware hack week.