Why T-Bone?

3D printing, maker movement, open source, crowdfunding. This seems to be a sequence of up-to-date buzzwords. But they are somehow related to each other as they are with the T-Bone project.

In former times many people were makers. Farming and handicraft were not only professions, there were parts of most people’s daily life. This changed with the age of industrialization and increasing division of work. Productivity and diversity of available products rose exponentially. But also the dependency on big organizations and the necessary capital. Innovation was necessary to gain a competitive advantage and was kept as secret.

Digitalization and the Internet aroused a second industrial revolution. Now information can be replicated and shared for almost no cost. Especially intellectual work is affected by this development. Open source projects like Linux or Wikipedia are good examples of sharing work and information for everybody’s benefit.

But how should people buy food or pay their rent if their work is shared for free? Some scientists hit over this issue and invented the Street Performer Protocol. The idea was to collect money for a certain creative work like books, music, movies, or even software. If the necessary amount is gained, the artist release the creation to the public domain. To build up trust and beware from fraud, the money is collected by an escrow agent.

Street Performer (Source: P. Fabian)

Sounds familiar? Right, this is exactly how crowdfunding is working. Projects like the T-Bone are presenting ideas they think others will benefit from. But it extended the concept by tangible goods. People cannot only create, but also produce things they think others would like.

This leads to the two remaining terms, 3D printing and the maker movement. With a 3D printer it is possible to produce physical goods. Models for countless things are available on the Internet. Even parts for a new 3D printer can be printed. Oversimplified a 3D printer can replicate itself and any other object. In reality available materials, quality and complexity are still very limited.

The maker movement builds the cultural foundation for this evolution. Joining do-it-yourself culture and hardware hacking, makers connecting the pre-industrial craftsmanship with today’s technology.

Remains one open question: Why the T-Bone? The name is a remix of the underlying BeagleBone and the three-dimensional applications it is used for. From the name it was a short jump to the logo. And to the shape. Because the board is not only the platform for our project, but also the ambassador.  See it and remember the name.

For sure it’s not the most simple or convenient shape. But is has a meaning. That’s our idea of making, not only producing things.

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