We looked at the big picture and distilled the 2016 Exponential Manufacturing conference into the four big themes we saw emerge during the event.

Dale Doughtry, CEO and founder of Maker Media

Crowdfunding platforms are fueling the entry of these low-cost machines, like the Makerarm, which raised nearly half a million dollars on Kickstarter, and is the first complete digital fabrication robotic arm that mounts to a desktop.

Robotics expert and director of Columbia University s Creative Machine Labs, Hod Lipson, projected how these advances in AI and robotics will converge to create fully resilient and adaptive cloud-connected factories in the future.

Shree Bose took this route with Piper, a computer kit for kids to learn engineering through the game Minecraft and the grand prize winner of Google s Global Science Fair.

Bose said she only built one scrappy prototype of Piper before beginning the Kickstarter campaign.

Hagel said the economy is splitting into two parts—products and services are fragmenting into smaller and smaller pieces, while the platforms knitting them together are getting bigger.

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