Calgary is an exciting place for a “makerspace” collective: a community co-op where art meets technology. For that, Protospace is the place.
Member projects are made and facilitated, “Everyone can get together and have access to the tools they need and ask for help when they need it,” says director Jim Akerman. Members can bring ideas and utilize storage, safety training, education and shared equipment. Protospace provides access to the workings of Robotic platforms, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, 3D Printers and laser cutters.
Akerman encourages anyone to build and construct almost anything the studio is able to make, from outdoor wood stages for a Parkour group, to helping a seven-year-old create a solar tracker, to a CNC machine that runs a plasma cutter. They welcome anyone from the hobbyist to the professional to become a member and learn about technology, electronics and robotics. Ongoing projects of current members are involved with such cutting edge events as Make Fashion, which showcases wearable electronics, The Mini Maker Faire and Beakerhead.
What is exciting and valuable is “running and supporting a non-profit meeting place,“ he finds, “and providing access to other educational and collaborative initiatives such as Scoperta,” an open-source robotics platform, as well as to the Western Canadian Robotic Society. “Anyone can do what we do,” Akerman insists and with the infinitely emerging possibilities of 3D printing (rapid prototyping), they are now working towards developing a machine capable of printing laser-cut drink coasters and edible hors d’oeuvres.
Also accessible is a repair café, which assists people in fixing broken electronics. Access to membership begins on Tuesday public evenings at their “Meet and Geek,” where you can see demos, tour the space and find out more.
Maps of hackerspaces or makerspaces from all over the world can be found online at Hackerspace.org, or check out their site at Protospace.ca.
By Aysim Parkan