Projecting the future of open-source hardware with the Minimax

The Minimax is a handheld interactive projector with spatial and object tracking capabilities. It is designed to explore and showcase the collaborative business potential of open-source hardware. And as such, the Minimax is free to share, produce and improve by anyone in the world.

The future of hardware is connected. We’re rapidly moving into a new age of hardware development. One where global collaboration, rapid prototyping and optimised use of materials can compete with even the heaviest of industries. This is enabled by the open-tech movement. Also traditionally known as 'the maker' movement, the open-tech movement focuses on democratising access to, and the development of, hardware: To freely share methods and tools to let consumers create, innovate, improve and 3D-print the products they need.

It is within this context, that the Minimax was developed. The aim of the project team was to prototype and refine a workflow for tech innovation, which can bridge the gap between design, tinkering and prototyping, and, importantly, leverage the power of the collective open-tech community to foster ideas, share knowledge and remove the siloed walls around classical hardware development. The Minimax is therefore just the first working concept within a wider family and strategic brand concept, which can be developed further by the open-tech community.

The Minimax is the prototype and result of this open-source approach to hardware and business development. A collaborative effort between Manyone and the Open Next! project (part of the Danish Design Centre) to create the entire experience around the handheld augmented reality projector: From branding, business case and code to industrial and ergonomic design.

Throughout the process, every stage of ideation and development has been logged on the open hardware platform Wikifactory to share progress and get input from the global community of makers. The ambition of the project was to show how a high-tech piece of equipment and software could be developed at a surprisingly low-cost and to show that doing this could be available to a global audience. Therefore sharing the results, process and how-to-dos online was an essential part of the project delivery.

The project is a truly cross-disciplinary effort. From the idea's initial inception, a wide variety of skills have been applied. From the traditional disciplines of branding and industrial design to coding and tech-specific knowledge about object recognition, sensor capability, and mobile user interfaces.

CNC milling and 3D printing have also been done at the local Maker-space close to Manyone's Copenhagen office.