Hackerspacing In Europe: A Children’s Hackerspace In Eindhoven!

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De Ontdekfabriek (translated) is best described as a children’s makerspace. This is what society needs everywhere! Public workshops for children to learn about making, fixing, and hacking things — what a society we would live in if every young person was taught how to repair things instead of just replacing them! We really hope to see places like this adopted around the world!

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The space is filled with regular children’s things, large toys and statues.

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Perhaps this was done to encourage what is possible, if only you try!

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It has a full green screen set up for children to learn about video production and editing!

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A small studio box for making movies of smaller toys and projects

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And a live output display!

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They have many work benches and a small selection of relatively safe tools to use on projects.

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And big bins of broken toys to be hacked!

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Or for the more advanced children, old electronics and appliances!

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Tons of stuff to be used in projects!

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We don’t know how much one of these kits would cost, but aluminium extrusion building blocks? Awesome! It’s like Meccano on steroids!IMG_0959 (Custom)

You can even build small vehicles out of it!

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The space also has a veritable army of Ultimakers — they have a system set up with an existing library of parts in a catalog and children can pick the SD card they need, then load the file for the part they want to print.  The example they had running was the alphabet so children could label their projects, in 3D!

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They also have a big desk of hot wire cutters for forming Styrofoam for projects!IMG_0964 (Custom)

And some finger-proof drill presses!

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You can simply slide your part in and drill away!

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[Anthony] from Open Garage looks for project ideas because they want to run children programs back home in Antwerp at Open Garage and Void Warranties!

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They have about 7 Ultimakers running, great for mass production!

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This is a dolphin(?) with motion sensors attached to a game on the television. We were tempted to try it but didn’t want to break it! You actually lean around to control the game!

Does this children’s makerspace give you ideas to start one in your city? We hope so!

22 thoughts on “Hackerspacing In Europe: A Children’s Hackerspace In Eindhoven!

  1. Very cool.

    Gee, it’s just like wood shops, metal shops and auto shops in schools. Good thing (in my old school district) they tore all of those out and dumped a money into upgrading and adding new theaters.

    1. You could start one up in your area, it seems they have lots of sponsors and it makes sense since what can go wrong with sponsoring things for the development (and fun) of kids? It’s the kind of thing companies/cities like sponsoring.
      And once you started it up, well you are there, and it needs testing :)

  2. I’ve been here as a child.
    What i remember most about it was the styrofoam hot wire cutters.
    You could design your own little styrofoam boat.
    Also they had small electronics kits to assemble which made a little piano soundboard.
    Good memories.

  3. Wow! How nice to see some “Infento” models on hackaday! I work on my graduation project at http://www.infento.nl. It’s an inspiring startup company that offers life-size constructional toys for children and older children ;-). It is made out of anodized aluminium and reinforced plastic joints. Currently the website is in Dutch, but it will give you an idea about the prices and availability of models/parts. We ship international, although I’m not sure if that option is available on the website. Oh, one more thing: Everything is available on google sketchup, just search for Infento.

    1. Neat stuff over there. I was kinda surprised there were only rolling vehicle designs. It would be cool if they had working construction equipment add-ons like a backhoe or front end loader, kinda like the stationary ones you find in parks but attachable to the current kits.

      Oh and as to the maker space– If this was in my town when I was a kid I would have freaked out and bugged the crap out of my parents to go at every chance.

  4. If there was a place like this when I was a child (physically not mentally) I wouldn’t have gotten into near as much trouble for taking apart my new toys.

    Also my children would absolutely love to hang out in a shop like this, they like the scrape yards too thou :)

  5. Wow, this is so neat! I really hope they have some really awesome legal representation though, or they are going to get sued into oblivion when some kid slices their fingers off.

    1. I would say that having trained adults supervising them, and having first aid kits available in the premises is a better idea. Better not having the accident in the first place. ;-)

      Unfortunately the legal department might be needed in another area (do note that only the first few minutes of this video applies here, the rest is from the time of the PIPA/SOPA debate, which I believe was a bit hyped though still scary):

  6. I really need to get my rather intelligent 12 year old brother to something like this. He is smart but he was so deep into video games that it’s been my plight to get rid of them, which I’ve succeeded with (parents finally agreed, then I went from there), and now to find something like this on the Big Island that I could go with him to.

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