Custom Circuit Boards, robots, 3D printing. What do these things have in common? The Maker Movement! All over the country, tinkerers, amateur engineers, and tech hobbyists are creating, and what they make is useful. The Maker Movement is gaining momentum because the price for Arduino printed circuit boards, 3D printers, and CNC machining are falling into reach of the typical consumer. Projects that once were out of reach for the garage engineer because of cost have, over the past few years, become accessible. The how-to resources have exploded, too. YouTube videos exist to teach anyone how to solder, 3D print, and even design a simple circuit. That means a mentor is at your fingertips, and they're available 24 hours a day.
Brands are getting involved, too. In November 2015, Barnes and Noble sponsored mini-maker faires inside their stores. Makers were given space and allowed to demonstrate their creations to anyone who happened to drop into the store. Once customers engaged, how-to books were right there, available to buy.
Innovation occurs when makers get their hands on the right tools, and maker faires are where these creations are put into the spotlight. Major tech companies are getting involved because they recognize the innovation happening inside garages and on kitchen tables. Major tech companies like Qualcomm, Atmel, and Intel were among those attending a recent faire in San Mateo, California.
Makers are people who enjoy rolling up their sleeves and diving into a project. There has always been a segment of the population who enjoyed working with their hands. Dad out in the garage working with his scroll saw, an uncle out in the barn rebuilding an engine, or a brother-in-law hooking a television up to an oscilloscope, makers have always been around. It's because accessibility has improved since the turn of the century that the builder movement has really exploded.
It's not just for the techies. People are making jewelry, clothing, and other creative items. Websites like Etsy and Amazon's Maker Marketplace provide a platform where makers can sell their creations. General Electric continues their Garages program, where engineers educate makers on production technology. Michael's craft stores is allowing customers to participate in products and brand.
Corporations in many industries are learning to Participate in the maker movement. That helps the makers by legitimizing their work, but it also helps the corporations as they gain the trust of makers and improve their own product lines. Not all innovation is financed by shareholders. A great deal of creativity is alive and well in the hands of self-financed makers building gadgets and crafts in their garage, and the world is a better place because of it.
Are you putting together a Maker event? Contact us today for more information about hosting your event at our studio!