Media Lab researchers spent a month hacking ideas and factory processes in southern China.
By Jifei Ou, Jie Qi, and Artem Dementyev
Since 2013, members of the MIT Media Lab community have set out from their research groups every summer to observe work in ten or so factories in China. This year, we went with a different approach: not just to visit but also to collaborate on experimenting and co-operative design with two facilities in or near the city of Shenzhen.
During the Hacking Manufacturing summer course this August focused on the theme of “Soft Robotic Materials,” we three instructors and seven Lab students worked with a digital knitting factory called K-Tech and a flexible printed circuit board (FPCB) manufacturer called King
Shenzhen has been the home of the Hacking Manufacturing course since its first year. As a manufacturing hub, it's one of the world’s highest concentrations of factories across many industries. This ecosystem gave us access to diverse knowledge, tools, and raw materials. Also, leaving our comfort zones and living in a new country prompted many new perspectives for us on a personal level.