I had a chance to visit Kitchen Budapest 1 year anniversary event in Budapest a couple of weeks ago. An amazing amount of work has been produced in at the KIBU lab and many of the projects are becoming commercial products and/or being released as open source projects (for example ZuiPrezi and Animata, more info below). It seems that KIBU is achieving what many similar 'innovative media labs' were striving for about 10 years ago, when they were being set up in various cities around the world.
In my opinion, the key to KIBU's success is the fact that all researchers in the lab have to collaborate with others. And the fact that all the results are published as widely as possible. And last but not least, the lab is lead by people who have an extensive experience in working in this manner (Adam Somlai-Fischer from Aether + others).
One of the presenters in the Möbius Fence discussion at KIBU 1 year event was Arduino developer Massimo Banzi, who spoke about his experience of being a researcher at IVREA interaction design institute. Massimo & co decided to make Arduino an open source project since otherwise it would have been impossible for them to continue working on the project if they had left IVREA or if IVREA had suddenly ceased to exist - which eventually happened. Telecom Italia decided to close the institute after operating for 5 years, just at a time when it was starting to produce great results, and invest the money instead to sponsoring an yacht in an international sailing competition.
In addition to Arduino, a lot of development for Processing happened at IVREA. Both of these projects would have been great opportunities for IVREA / Telecom Italia to benefit from, either in publicity or in some other more innovative ways. I hope things will go better with Kitchen Budapest and their sponsor Magyar Telecom.... at least so far things seem to be going well, based on what I heard from the KIBU people there seems to be a good communication between the lab and the telecom company folks.
Some photos and links to projects, from KIBU lab and from the 1 year anniversary at Millenáris cultural centre:
Yukiko Shikata from ICC / Tokyo opening the event.
One of the most popular items in the exhibition turned out to be this one - a sphere filled with led lights, made a two young kids during the led workshop that took place in the afternoon of the opening day.
Arbour light project.
Arbour light circuit board and cherries at KIBU kitchen.
Another pretty circuit board - Arduino LilyPad.
ZuiPrezi is a far better presentation system than PowerPoint! You can find an evaluation version on the website.
Animata is a live animation software that can be used for VJ performances, interactive installations, etc... The software is available for download on the website, the authors are planning to release this as an open source project.
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Congratulations for the KIBU team and good luck for the future!