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.
“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.”