'Makery' Could Encourage Hawaii Entrepreneurship

The goal was to develop ways to entice students to stay in Hawaii after they graduate. The result is a tool that could help students transform their ideas into physical objects, gain new skills, replace a host of expensive imported goods and stimulate entrepreneurial thinking statewide.

It consists of a collection of hand tools and conventional machines, along with advanced design and manufacturing software that interface with a computerized milling machine. All of this is arranged in a compact pod-like structure.

It's called the Makery, and Neil Scott, director of the Archimedes Project at the University of Hawaii, introduced it at the university's spring technology showcase Tuesday.

The technology showcase is a small, thrice-yearly gathering designed to expose technology firms, venture investors and others to some of the most promising research and development at the university. It is co-sponsored by the university's Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development, Enterprise Honolulu, High Technology Development Corporation and BAE Systems.

Both the governor and UH president have stressed the importance of university research and innovation as an economic driver. The goal is to take products like the Makery and turn them into commercial ventures that would create jobs for Hawaii residents.

The spring showcase featured three new discoveries: a drug that prevents heart enlargement, a 3D device for controlling cell cultures as they grow and a high-tech workshop called the Makery.

Not only has the Makery already helped some students link what they learn in science and math classes with the real world, but its other potential uses range from the manufacturing floor to the tourist shop in Waikiki, Scott said.

His presentation brought the small audience to life as they came up with an ever-growing number of possible applications for the invention.

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