William Owen

Hardware Is Hard to Do

Hardware is hard. William Owen talks about the evolution of Hackaball from an intern project to in 2012 to - four years later - a finely tuned connected product now being manufactured in factories in Shenzen China. It took four years, one Kickstarter campaign, two agencies, at least 20 designers, engineers and product managers and dozens of children, their parents and teachers to get Hackaball to market. As a combination of iphone application, physical casing, sensors and displays, electronics and firmware Hackaball has a level of complexity exponentially greater than software. Hardware is indeed hard to do, but not impossible. Soon we’ll find out if the rewards for both users and makers will make the effort worthwhile.

William Owen, founding partner and strategy director of Made by Many, is a former journalist, author, and contributing editor of the editorial team at Eye, the international graphic design journal. He's led education initiatives at Made by Many including Skype in the Classroom and TED-prize winning School in the Cloud with Sugata Mitra. Most recently, William's been directing Made by Many's self-funded product Hackaball, which teaches kids the principles programming through active play.

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