This is an example of a ‘one man‘ maker project that can be fully executed in the Digital Makers Lab. It concerns a maritime device (a so-called Maritime Instrument & Display Controller) that uses hardware, software and needs a high quality waterproof housing. On the project website you can see how a first version of a housing is made of wood (plywood) with laser cutting. Furthermore, there are digital files available with which an enthusiast can make these himself, anywhere in the world.
The project is at the stage where a first prototype is expected to be ready in March 2016. Consideration is also being given in 2016 to making it a commercial product for the European market. The description of this maker project on Hackster.io has resulted in an invitation from an Italian maritime manufacturer to talk about the way in which this device has been developed. Contacts have also arisen with a Norwegian and Spanish initiative that wants to develop a similar product in a similar way.
This project shows that only one maker with good facilities and a business network is able to create a fully functional prototype of a high tech product. Whether the prototype will eventually come to a successful market product, time will tell. Product development is and remains risky and labour-intensive and costs a lot of lead time and capital. The Digital Makers Lab has simplified, accelerated the process and kept the costs under control. As a result, the ultimate business risk to assess market opportunities is limited, thanks to a functional prototype.