A TEDGlobal Fellow, Catarina Mota plays with "smart materials" -- like shape-memory alloys and piezoelectric structures that react to voltage -- and encourages others to do so too.
A maker of things and open-source advocate, Catarina Mota is co-founder of openMaterials.org, a collaborative project dedicated to do-it-yourself experimentation with smart materials. This is a new class of materials that change in response to stimuli: conductive ink, shape-memory plastics, etc. Her goal is to encourage the making of things; to that end, she teaches hands-on workshops on high-tech materials and simple circuitry for both young people and adults--with a side benefit of encouraging interest in science, technology and knowledge-sharing. She's working on her PhD researching the social impact of open and collaborative practices for the development of technologies. In other words: Do we make better stuff when we work together? She is also a co-founder of Lisbon's hackerspace altLab.
"Probably the most disruptive element of this technology is not the tools themselves, but the maker culture—the community of people who sell, use, and adapt the tools of digital fabrication."from "R&D: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Fabrication"
“Acquiring preemptive knowledge about emerging technologies is the best way to ensure that we have a say in the making of our future.”
“We can't shape what we don't understand, and what we don't understand and use ends up shaping us.”