At last year's Toorcon Seattle I gave a lightening talk about a book I was writing about hackers and makers and disruptive technologies. During those few minutes I asked the Toorcon community for help -- ideas on people to meet, projects to learn about, places to visit -- as I tried to articulate what makes hackers innovators who help change the world. I got some amazing ideas, and I dived into that project. But a couple months in I realized that rather than just studying and writing about innovation, I'd really rather just *do* it. So with the encouragement of some key folks, I teamed up with an amazing group of hackers, and we have a company called Shift Labs. In this talk we'll tell you about some of the awesome stuff we are doing to make low cost technologies that can help save lives worldwide -- all fueled by hacker ways of knowing/doing/creating.
Beth Kolko is a Professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA. She is also a Founder and CEO of Shift Labs, an engineering and manufacturing company designing low cost health technologies for low resource communities.
As an academic, Beth began researching the Internet in the days of newsgroups and Lynx, and today runs the Design for Digital Inclusion (DDI) lab at UW which works on technology development for resource-constrained environments. Somewhere in the past several years she started spending time in hackerspaces, attending hacker cons, and diving into DIY and Maker culture. After a few years of that, she started Hackademia in an attempt to bring the habits of mind of hackers and makers into the university setting. Then she teamed up with some hackers to start a company.