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.

Why you should listen

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.

What others say

“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"

Catarina Mota’s TED talk

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Tinker, tailor, solderer: Fellows Friday with Catarina Mota

September 21, 2012

Open source hardware advocate, maker, teacher and scholar Catarina Mota (watch her TED talk) has devoted a decade to considering why we need to get our hands back on technology — so we can learn how to shape it before it shapes us. How did you come to be involved in open-source hardware? The way […]

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