More than a Plan: Collaborative Production Events - GROLSH

Hi all, a few people have been talking over email about an idea for a longer, hands-on production event(s). The goal would be to do actual design + testing work together in a 6 week period to produce a specific output (a working prototype, a production-ready device/method/etc, accomplishing the core proof of concept work, etc.). Like a working vacation :slight_smile:

Seemed appropriate to move to the so here’s the thread (sorry it’s in reverse order, so start at the bottom for the beginning of the discussion) -->

What do you think?

Hoi Zäme

Tomorrow heading to Paris to work on open hardware with Juanma, Paula, Sachiko, Bengt et all. Will work on the Digital Biology Forum Node and think it would be great to have more of these ‘GOSH NODE" meetings /’ collaborative production events’ in the future. And maybe we can even find some Open Science Hardware. funding for makiing it happen (this time all through Juanma).


+1 move to the forum.

On the GOSH organizers end, we just spoke Monday and are going to work on breaking out the next year budget by mid-July (and develop timeline for next year, where event(s) will be). One of the various activities we’ve discussed committing to find funds for is a series of GOSH residencies (great idea Marc/Puneet).


hoi zäme, added shannon…
let’s move this discussion to the forum.

as mentioned earlier, i am a big fan of “collaborative production events”, great experiences back in the days at ?Interactivos?09 (after which we initiated hackteria), also my personal experiences in extended residencies in india, indonesia, which really brought me muuuuch further.

i think setting up a decentralized residency program in the gosh network, make more sense than just focusing on another even bigger gathering with “mostly talk”.

residencies play a biiiig role in many arts networks, unlike in engineering there is almost no such thing, and sabbaticals are just for old university farts.

i am out for sumatra, xian, hongkong, shenzhen and taipei the upcoming months. i could work on something like this.


Yeah, wherever works for me. I know we could do it here at least. People could stay in our cohousing community (which has a kitchen and all that stuff), and we could use Maker Works which has tons of tools and a great space for collaboration. And I can think of a few folks who could help with childcare like maybe George Albercook (

I’m sure there are many other places that work too. Figure some numbers if we do it on the cheap (6 weeks):

pay - $20/hr x 10 people x 60 hrs = $12,000
room + board - 10 x $200 = $2000
supplies - $2500
space (tools + stuff) - $1000
travel - $750 x 10 = $7500

That’s only like $25,000 … not really that much for what we could accomplish in 6 weeks.

Seems like a steal of a deal to me. It’s almost crowd-fundable with some help with promotion.


On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 12:33 PM, Marc Dusseiller wrote:
i am in!

call it gosh residency program.

taipei? shenzhen? surabaya?
u name it!

I can get some stuff sorted out.


On 23 Jun 2017 17:27, “Greg Austic” wrote:
Can I throw out a crazy idea real quick among friends here?

OK - so collaboration is hard, unless you live next to someone and you have the time. It’s hard to live next to everyone :slight_smile: It’s hard for many people to even leave for a weekend (people with kids), and hard to justify leaving for a long time (people with rents to pay), and anyway we all know you can’t get anything done in a weekend.

When I think about the coolest projects IMO (like the single pixel camera, Urs and Marc’s work), which are most ‘off the grid’ in terms of being independent from existing institutions, we have so many hard parts down pretty well (people, skills, concepts, use cases, even time). The most lacking element is significant, committed, structured time for in-person collaboration. That feels like a solvable problem.

What if there was a place that supported longer (6 weeks let’s say) hackathons, with all the services anyone would need to do it. Like:

  • Childcare (bring your kid / kids)
  • Cheap / free place to stay, with a place to make breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Tools + space and all that to work.
  • Ideally colocated with industrial partners who can help with quick turnarounds (PCB makers, etc.)
  • Everyone is paid an hourly rate (maybe modest but pays the bills)… like $20 bucks an hour. Maybe some kind of compensation based on the quality/value of the output from the event.

I think 20 years ago this wasn’t possible - hardware ordering times were too long so minor changes could produce week long delays for shipping… but that’s totally changed. McMaster, Digikey, Amazon Prime… turnaround times for ordering are a day, and includes Saturday! If we were colocated next to OSH Park (or even at Maker Works where we can make routed 2 sided boards), we could get board revisions turned around in a day too.

So… wouldn’t that be awesome? We could prepare beforehand to have as many of the long lead-time components in stock as possible. And if we were working on things that were open source but had benefits to a company, perhaps we could get it funded. Hamamatsu is a good example, but I’m sure we could think of others.

I feel like we could straight up build a single pixel camera in 6 weeks with the right group. We could do for 100k what a company could do for 1M, no doubt in my mind. What do you think?


On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:25 AM, Urs Gaudenz wrote:
Thank you Greg, great.

Telescope is an option for the single photon detector. I plan to integrate it into the DVD scanner as we want to see single cell luminescence :slight_smile:


On 06/23/2017 03:13 PM, Greg Austic wrote:
Definitely - I can make a new subgroup no problem -

Done - ok Urs - please add a welcome message to the first post in the community (link - Welcome to Digital Biology). I transferred ownership of that post to you so off you go!

I’m really glad that the GOSH forum can provide a useful place for discussions for these communities, it’s exciting to see so much activity.

PS - I’m waiting for a few more items before shipping the kits. Bengt will get one so connect with him on hacking on it. The core value of the single pixel camera design is in making any detector into a camera, so it’s definitely a good fit. Might be interesting to hook into telescope - right? Am I on the right track there?


On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 8:29 AM, Urs Gaudenz wrote:
Hi Greg

How are you? Guess GOSH2017 was a great success, I still hear people talking about it and meeting in the network. As discussed in Geneva and Chile I think it would be cool to have some more “official” subgroups working on “fields” of open hardware such as the “Single Pixel Camera”. I would like to suggest “Digital Biology” with the OpenDrop / DropBot / Digital Microfludics etc as a GOSH Community group. I saw you have a “Community-Sub-Catagory” for the single pixel camera on the . Would you be ok to add the category “Digital Biology”. With Juanma and Ryan we are organizing a CoLab on microfluidics next week in Pairs (as you may have already seen on the forum). And this would be a good start for the new Community on the GOSH forum.



PS: I am working on the open source single photon detector… that could maybe be integrated in the Single Pixel Camera :slight_smile:


This is such a great Idea !
I m not sure I could qualify to be a tech-geek-scientist collaborator,
but to be a (co)facilitator, i think so and would love to ! In the past, i’ve been facilitating booksprint (we wrote tech-manuel in a week) and lots of openspace (from 1 afternoon to 2 weeks long). most them in service to free/open source, wiki, feminist, hacking and media-art communities. I’d love to support a long term projectand provide support, structure and care for the collaborators, to give special attention to feminine, multicultural, queer, trans inclusivity, & with someone else, even better. If needed, I’d love to help !

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Great idea! I really like the possibility of a solution prototype delivered in such a short time.
I would love to collaborate on the problem proposal/statement/sorting and the solutions testing side if needed.
Maybe we can think about one event in Latinoamerica!? (something like a smaller version of this local Interactivos)
Que opinan los sureños? Is not that easy to have a 2 sided PCB in a day but we can manage (s)low techs.
Thanks for including kids in the programme and the paradigmatic concept of a working vacation.

@goldjian there are lots of skills to make that level of collaboration work, not just technical skills! I think first is to identify the problem and target, find funding partners, and then build the skillsets desired. Then we’d have slots to fill (like we need 2 people with expert solder skills, 2 people with analog circuit design skills, 1 documentarian, etc.) and people could apply or the leads could just build the team. I dunno, just throwing it out, but in my head it goes something like that.

I like the idea that this process is open to anyone. I wonder if this is the sort of thing that GOSH could match - like if you do all the up front work (identify the application, clarify the target, make the skills list, identify the location, etc.) maybe GOSH could have a pot of funding to match part of the funding requirement. And we could host the project concept + team on the website.

So the project lead or team does the upfront work, and GOSH (via Sloan or whoever actually funds the main conference next year) puts in 10k out of the 20k required. Then go identify a source for the other 10k - maybe a university, another grant, an interested industrial partner (manufacturer, or someone selling a component in your hardware), etc etc. That way projects have to do the hard work of organizing and identifying real partners before they get money.

Honestly, people waste a lot of money on short Hackathons - I get the idea for education, and software can be hacked together in 2 - 3 days, but hardware (and especially science-related hardware) just can’t. Our timeframes are weeks at best to get something real done. And if we’re going to really rock the boat, we gotta get shit done!

re boards… you can get boards turned around in a week easy, even 4 layer boards. The times keep getting shorter and shorter on that. Also, if you want to do 2 layer boards, there are many locations with PCB routers (maker works here in Ann Arbor has one), though making via’s is a real pain, but still it’s doable. In addition, for finished product looking prototype material you can outsource (in a few days) 3D prints in about whatever material you want.

@jcm80 @shannond what do you think about that? Feasible? I know we’re talking about funding for next year, this would be an interesting component with very clear deliverables.


yea, weeks, and many failures along the way before success eventually.

I couldn’t agree more with @gbathree!

we have explored and experimented with many formats over the last years within the hackteria network. and yes… i am not interested at all in any 2-3 days make some hot air and puff events.

we sometimes call them “Temporary Laboratories for Collaborative Production”, and i would even reduce the size of active researchers/hackers to 5-8, a 10-15 days intense event can be extremely productive, prepared virtually over a phase of a couple of months.
besides that and on top, it can be integrated with a longer local residency, 1-2 people (bring your kids along) embedded in ongoing regional scenes, the 5-8 weeks. and in the middle there can be a more intense short sprint as part of the general r&d topic with some locals to get other ideas into the projects and share our resources and people locally.

a personal note… i was super absorbed the last weeks for BioFabbing and post-program (après-fab), and couldnt be so active on this forum. but now rebooting into it again!


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@nanocastro me uno a la organización si debemos trabajar algo por estos lares.

I think this is a great idea @gbathree. I am totally up for this. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help out.

I could reach out to the Pervasive Media Studio to see if they would be up for hosting. They provide workspace for me and many others here in Bristol. It’s a great space space for meeting, discussing and presenting or focused laptop work. In conjunction to that, for more messy work, Bristol Hackspace could provide access to an A0 laser cutter, CNC machines, soldering equipment and more.

As for time span I think either could work well, very focused 2 weeks prepared in advance as @dusjagr mentions, or 6 weeks with a more relaxed pace.

Kaspar - could you contact them and see what they think about the idea? Are they close by? Always good to throw things up and see what sticks -

Hey @gbathree and all thanks for moving the conversation here - sorry it took me a while to reply

I have had some experience with very short events like that.It was through our co-lab workshop series on different topics (microfluidics, architecture, synthetic biology, water quality, material science…). It is true that you cannot get a lot done in the weekend, but that was the start of many different project that came out of these weekends. Lena Asai, myself and other organizers always had the regret of not being able to support the projects much longer in time or in terms of resources… A good solution can be supporting a residence project after an intense collaborative - ideation weekend.

I agree with most of what you say, and the need to have a good support of funding and infrastructure is key for this. We got a very productive microfluidics weeks in Paris mainly thanks to having a lab and a makerspace for us.
My position as researcher / teacher in CRI gives me access to funding to organize similar things to this if you’d be up to come over here. But I can also ask for funding events that are outside Paris like we’ve done already in Shenzhen and in UK. So I’d be happy to help on that :slight_smile:

If I can add something new to the discussion, from the point of view of an academic lab, we really need to justify spending time and traveling for such a long time. It cannot be a conference or an outreach activity, but rather an “acceleration”, “course” or working event. There are experiences like this that have been made already (see Cold Spring Harbor website, that hosts summer courses which have done some experiments leading to Nobel prices…) If we can find good justification and convince labs and universities there can be a lot, lot, lot of freedom and funding.

To give you an example, this is what was good for my lab and my research from the collaborative creation workshop we organized:

  • A person participating from a company now wants to hire our lab to use some of the technology we develop here
  • Researchers coming from a lab in Russia now are sending people to come to Paris to start a joint research project
  • We helped the reproductive-organ-on-a-chip project go forward (paula, sachiko, carmina,…)
  • Our output is exposed in the science children museum “espace pierre gilles de gennes”
  • We could see a new phenotype of amoeba migration
    and more important: we laser cut some tools for the experiments and we are using this on a daily basis now

this output helps a lot to justify that we can do research in non-canonical ways…!

I think this was possible in just 5 days because the projects did not start from 0. We could choose projects or technologies that are not fully mature and work on them to make a further push. Labs like mine can benefit a lot from this. for example: we are a biology lab but we use a lot of hardware, and try out a of of new things. We don’t always have the right contacts into electronics or computer design people. This weeks can be the creation of an “outsider territory” where people from different disciplinary and organizational context can work together. I see a lot of potential on this, either in my university or anywhere we decide to do it, I will be happy to help.

I tend to think small local events are easier to adapt to local circumstances that big things, we can perhaps agree on a pipeline, idea, and way of doing it and then set local event over the year in different places. I would like to make something like this in winter (January-February?) or later.

ahh… forgot to say that the center that hosted our last microfluidics hackathon is having an open call for fellows and the minimum is 1 month. They offer salary and access to the technological platforms + possibility of housing and materials. They are very interested in open science and open hardware, but also in the social and ethical aspects of research and innovation. I encourage anyone to apply and perhaps we could frame it as a collaborative application ?

this is the link :

Wow, CRI is really awesome. I’ve never seen that kind of program anywhere else. Would they be interested in doing a group collaboration, along the lines of a collaborative production event? Like have 3 or 4 people all in the same month or 6 weeks? That may make a really good proof of concept for what we’re trying to do.

In fact, that may connect with CRI’s other goals… establishing a program like that which can live outside of academia is a bit of a social experiment… so just testing the concept at CRI is an experiment in of itself. We could get someone from the social sciences to write a paper or something about the experience, or evaluate the value of the output of the fellows.

I guess I’m trying to find ways that we can find a good partner to run a test of this collaboration production event, while identifying value points for CRI…

Is there someone we could talk to about that? Do you think it’s a fit?

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I work out of there, yes, I shall make some enquiries. :slight_smile:

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I tried to talk to Ariel Lindner (the director) but maybe he is on holidays, didnt reply. You could perhaps just apply as a group I imane they would be very interested and it is possible, but I suggest that the people that want to apply mention this in their application or contact them. It would be so awesome to have some of you in Paris !!

Hi, I like this idea a lot. Having a first well-documented version with basic guidelines can help to replicate it in other places.
Have you considered MediaLab Prado? We worked there for a week in July and It was great. Good facilities (including apartments), great environment and friendly people…

Hey guys, I moved this to a new thread here. Next step came from recent organizers meeting - please follow up there!