Culture News

HeatSync Labs: A Nonprofit Hackerspace Looking for a New Home

All of the paperwork's been filed and HeatSync Labs, Chandler's collaborative hackerspace, has officially gained nonprofit status this week ... now all they need is a new lab.

The brain trust has outgrown Gangplank (the Chandler-based co-op space), which has been their home for the last year. And the group's been lobbied to move to downtown Phoenix, Mesa, and even spots in Chandler. Still, the group remains undecided. After all, HeatSync has to make sure it has the cash to afford the move.

Three years ago, HeatSync started as Arizona's first hackerspace, and joined the growing number of similar groups popping up around the country -- mostly as a way for post-graduate students to continue researching and working with sophisticated machines, computers and equipment that might be hard purchase and maintain as individuals.

Their mission is to "provide a physical environment for the discussion, planning and construction of collaborative endeavors in the application of technology as well as technological expressions of artwork."

David Huerta, and editor at HeatSync, translates: "We intentionally define 'endeavors' broadly to be a more inclusive community with a good mix of various disciplines and interests."

HeatSync holds regular meetings, open to the public, to provide workspace, equipment and resources, as well as technological tutorials. During these meetings, group members can show off projects, but Huerta says that as the group grows, new developments and projects arise, so a lot of its activity is unscheduled.

And by projects, Huerta means building cool stuff, including this nearspace balloon:

SyncFleet Nearspace Balloon Descent to Earth from Billy Mays on Vimeo.

"The DIY scanning electron microscope that's currently making progress might eclipse it [the balloon], though," Huerta says. "The prospect of building powerful scientific equipment at 5 percent of the cost opens up some pretty substantial long-term possibilities for schools and universities who might not want to spend $80,000 on a perfect scope."

In the future, Huerta says he hopes that HeatSync can rival the research branches of other institutions. "Innovation has previously been tied to schools, governments and companies, and I'd like to see a fourth column rise from citizen-scientists in a more broadly accessible environment."

For more information, visit the HeatSync Labs website

Note: this post has been updated to specify HeatSync Labs as a hackerspace, not a hackspace.

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Megan Dobransky
Contact: Megan Dobransky