Sixteen makers and 6 discovery zones with an interesting myriad of hands-on activities! – This is my brief introduction of the booths of the Sustainable Living Lab (SL2) at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012.
Looking forward to see the cool stuffs that the SL2 makers are going to showcase? Come check it out with me for a sneak preview now!
About Sustainable Living Lab (SL2)
The Sustainable Living Lab (SL2) is Singapore’s first semi-outdoor kampung (village) lab and prototyping facility that enables local innovators, organisations and students to serve their communities and the bottom-of-the-pyramid better. SL2 is located at the Sustainable Living Kampung, a space created by Ground-Up Initiative (GUI), a non-profit community in Bottle Tree Park in Yishun.
Meet the Makers
Ibnur – SL2’s co-founder. A community-oriented innovator at GUI, Ibnur believes in the kampung spirit of ground-up innovation to solve sustainability challenges. He had been a maker/inventor since a tender age, having been influenced by his grandparents and parents whom he cited as “amazing individuals [who] have been the fountains from which [his] ideas flow from and also reminders for [him] to serve greater purposes in life”. His engineering education also provided the opportunities for several of his inventing and prototyping experiences such as antennas, sensors, filters, food dryers, bio-chips and ‘invisibility cloaks’ (Urgh, don’t we all think of Harry Potter when we hear “invisibility cloaks”?)
Ibnur, together with Veera (below), had worked on projects that tackled issues in rural India, winning him UNESCO-Daimler Mondialogo Engineering Awards. Striving to nurture innovation across villages, he now co-leads the Sustainable Living Lab (SL2).
Veera – SL2’s co-founder. Veera has been making knickknacks and doodads for as along as he can remember. A kampung tinkerer at Ground-Up Initiative (GUI), his maker journey started with Meccano and Lego kits. Taking up Design & Technology as an O Level subject, he had ample opportunities to hone his skills in wood and metal working which served him well as a Mechanical Engineer in the National University of Singapore (NUS) where he designed and built solar pond dryers, flying wind turbines and miniature toothpick furniture. Like Ibnur, Veera spent some time in the Silicon Valley gaining him valuable exposure to the overseas “garage culture”. On returning to Singapore, he co-founded the Sustainable Living Lab with like-minded maker buddies to develop the kampung culture of innovation in Singapore.
Huei Ming – SL2’s co-founder. Huei Ming is also presently a teaching assistant for the Engineering Science Programme at NUS where he is implementing a new design project for engineering students to construct their own low cost scanning tunnelling microscopes and guiding students on existing engineering design projects involving the fabrication of microfluidic devices and constructing wi-fi antennas.
There are 13 other makers (Zi Jing, Eugene, Yoga, Lianhan, Bart, Robin, Poh Hong, Melanie, Sullivan, Sid, Joyce, Natalie and Leonard) who all have a nice profile each created under the SL2 website (
). Do check them out and see if you can spot them during the Faire this weekend!
What are they showcasing?
SL2 will be bringing some of the coolest stuff made by their kampung innovators out from their lab in Yishun. This includes bamboo amplifiers for the iPhone (which had an interesting name of iBam and iBam2), keychains & luggage tags made from decommissioned fire hoses, awesome cardboard sculptures put together by their cardboard designer extraordinaire, Bartholomew Ting, cool flatpacked cardboard furniture, cardboard building blocks, home brew kampung fitness equipment, water rockets and even PET bottle gardens and novel home gardening systems. You can even try out some tools and equipment at their mini wood working shop.
SL2 is also promising interesting workshops to make your own play-dough, catapult, mini building blocks, water rockets, compost and cardboard sculptures which will engage your mind, body and soul!And that is not the end, as SL2 brings in games that would incorporate these DIY toys. I can already visualise lots of excited children!
SL2’s founding team was very humble when we asked them for advice for budding makers. They felt that their team is still young, and they do not have much wisdom yet to share as they are still walking the Maker path.
However, they shared 3 maxims which they live by and practised in one form or another at the Sustainable Living Lab (SL2):
Firstly, “If it ain’t fun, it ain’t right.” Secondly, “No prototype, no talk.” And, lastly, “Don’t just make your product, make your story.”
Maker Scene in Singapore
On the maker scene in Singapore, they would like to believe that there are many others in Singapore who share similar aspirations, as they felt that Singapore is in dire need of makers who are creative, hands-on and take risks, so as to build a Singapore that is vibrant, dynamic yet responsible and sustainable. The Maker scene is still young, so they do not know of many yet. They hope that through the involvement in the Singapore Mini Maker Faire, they could get to know more amazing ground-up innovators.
They added that our local maker scene can be likened to a baby Pheonix hatchling. It is not something new in Singapore, but more as something lost in our present young generation that is now in revival. They felt that it is important to rebuild the hands-on culture which was common in the days of our grandparents, where the kampong spirit prevails, where people spend more time together outdoor doing meaningful stuffs together.
To stay tuned to the SL2 stories, check out their Facebook pages on: www.facebook.com/sl2square and www.facebook.com/groundupinitiative. But first and foremost, come by the Singapore Mini Maker Faire at Science Centre Singapore this weekend (4 & 5 August).