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  • Image courtesy of Amy Congdon

Speakers’ Corner: Making, materials and tools

We pose some questions to our Make:Shift 2014 presenters...

What is your relationship with making?

Amy Congdon: Making is the way I ‘think’. It is an integral part of my research process. Particularly as my work involves working with complex technologies, such as tissue engineering, I find making is the only way to truly understand the capabilities of them and it helps me to test out how my skill set can be useful in such an area.

Ana Thompson: Through making I confront the answers to all my thoughts and ideas. Through making I learn to experiment with new materials, technologies and to appreciate the fine details of things.

What new materials are exciting you and why?

Gerard Briscoe: Different digital technologies, such as sensor networks and near-field communications have huge potential as they can affect multiple classes of objects.

Amy Congdon: The new materials that excite me most are those that come from living organisms. Researching the possibility that we could grow our future materials and choose the most appropriate one for a task fascinates me. For example there are computers that already come packaged in mushroom Styrofoam.

Lucy Di Silvio: The development of novel biomimetic materials for tissue engineering applications has recently focused on the design of materials that are capable of eliciting specific cellular responses. These materials can be adapted to provide specific signals, for example, biological cues for cell-matrix interactions to promote tissue growth, or the incorporation of peptide sequences into materials can also make the material degradable by specific protease enzymes.

Ana Thompson: I am excited about materials that can be programmed and materials that can be self-assembling so they can change depending on the external conditions such as temperature changes and weather conditions. I am also fascinated about the idea of growing materials, materials fabricated with living cells. 

What is the tool you can’t live without and what are the tools of the future? 

Gerard Briscoe: As a technologist, a keyboard, which I only realised after the arrival of tablets. I think various digital technologies will become standard tools for makers.

Lucy Di Silvio: Cell biology is a living science; the "tool" I could not live without is cells. And the future tools needed are versatility, adaptability and innovation!

Gareth Neal: Pencil and paper, always. Future tools will be the same as they are today... imagination.

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