Each week, as we get to know our community and the broader IoT movement, we’re fortunate to connect with some remarkable individuals and organizations. In our “Makerspace Profile” series, we interview makerspace founders to learn more about the maker movement around the world.
In this profile, you’ll meet Inventeaza based in Bucharest, Romania.
How did inventeaza.ro start?
Three years ago we decided to create our own hackerspace, after participating in the opening of similar ones around Europe and being very enthusiastic about open source hardware and software. Actually, it was the first one in Bucharest. Quickly enough we realized that we won’t survive on subscriptions only, so we started offering workshops and custom projects for various clients. We came a long way since then and managed to gather a team of skillful people around us, with whom we work both on educational and commercial projects.
What was the initial response to inventeaza.ro like?
Our initiative was more than welcomed by tech savvies of all ages, even more since there is a lack of practical learning in our schools, while lots of technical universities continue to have poor hardware learning tools. Also the advertising agencies started to get hardware projects requests from clients, along with the classical web/ad related ones, so we started to have projects in this area, as well.
What kind of equipment and resources do you provide participants?
We have tools and equipment for printed circuits making, soldering, electronic lab power supplies and measure tools (multimeter, oscilloscope). For any other related needs, we established collaborations with 3d printing/cnc cutting/ case makers in Bucharest.
What does “hacking” mean to you and your community?
Same as everywhere else, changing the original purpose of a device to make it more useful for a person or a group. It is an empowering action to understand and take control of what you own.
What projects are people working on?
One of our most important projects is Devicehub.net – a web platform that not only gathers data, but also makes sense of the data generated by billions of connected devices and helps you make smarter, more informed decisions. So, the platform addresses to people interested in home automation, but also to companies irrespective of the field. We developed the platform based on the fact that 99% of the devices we all use are still not connected to the Internet and that there is a 14.4 trillion dollars stake for the Internet of Things market. This new field called the “Internet of Things” aims to extend Internet connectivity to everyday objects in our lives, to better control, add up to the worldwide energy saving and increase the efficiency of the technological processes. Recent studies show that 80% of all households in Europe are expected to have intelligent power meters by 2020.
We are also working on “Educational projects”, for example we have organized the first championship of robotic football in Romania. Currently at its second edition, it is an innovative project with a three months duration, designed to offer young people the chance to interact with robots and learn about their usability in everyday life. Therefore, through the workshops and counseling sessions held within the project, it combines the practical learning on the Arduino platform with the fun of playing soccer, while respecting the rules provided by FIRA regarding the soccer competitions for middle-class robo players.
We have a lot of other innovative products, but we can’t say much at the moment because they are in prototype stage right now.
What are your future plans?
Firstly, we plan to work harder on our visibility, aiming to gain awareness worldwide. Then, it’s important for us to continue developing Devicehub.net and develop our education programs, while continuing to deliver tailored projects to our clients. Recently, we have applied for an EEA Grant program with a green education project addressed to teenagers. Similarly, we are interested in looking for investors for devicehub.net. Since performance in any field is associated with the human resources potential, we are always “talent hunting.” Finally, we aim to develop more innovative projects and organize at least two new competitions in the robotics area, meant to boost innovation and further attract new sponsors or partnerships.