Makers and open hardware for innovation

Just like the garage computer explosion of the 70’s through the 80’s, which brought us such things as Apple, pong, Bill Gate’s hair, and the proliferation of personal computers, the maker movement is the new garage hardware explosion. Today, 135 million adults in the United States alone are involved in the maker movement.

Enthusiasts who want to build the products they want, from shortwave radios to personal computers, and to tweak products they’ve bought to make them even better, have long been a part of the electronics industry. By all measures, garage-style innovation remains alive and well today, as “makers” as they are called continue to turn out contemporary gadgets, including 3D printers, drones, and embedded electronics devices.

Making is about individual Do-It-Yourselfers being able to design and create with tools that were, as of a decade or two ago, only available to large, cash-rich corporations: CAD tools, CNC mills, 3D printers, low-quantity PCB manufacturing, open hardware such as Arduinos and similar inexpensive development boards – all items that have made it easier and relatively cheap to make whatever we imagine. For individuals, maker tools can change how someone views their home or their hobbies. The world is ours to make. Humans are genetically wired to be makers. The maker movement is simply the result of making powerful building and communication tools accessible to the masses. There are plenty of projects from makers that show good engineering: Take this Arduino board with tremendous potential, developed by a young maker, as example.

The maker movement is a catalyst to democratize entrepreneurship as these do-it-yourself electronics are proving to be hot sellers: In the past year, unit sales for 3D printing related products; Arduino units, parts and supplies; Raspberry Pi boards; drones and quadcopters; and robotics goods are all on a growth curve in terms of eBay sales. There are many Kickstarter maker projects going on. The Pebble E-Paper Watch raises $10 million. The LIFX smartphone-controlled LED bulb raises $1.3 million. What do these products have in common? They both secured funding through Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website that is changing the game for entrepreneurs. Both products were created by makers who seek to commercialize their inventions. These “startup makers” iterate on prototypes with high-end tools at professional makerspaces.

For companies to remain competitive, they need to embrace the maker movement or leave themselves open for disruption. Researchers found that 96 percent of business leaders believe new technologies have forever changed the rules of business by democratizing information and rewiring customer expectations. - You’ve got to figure out agile innovation. Maybe history is repeating itself as the types of products being sold reminded us of the computer tinkering that used to be happening in the 1970s to 1990ssimilar in terms of demographics, tending to be young people, and low budget. Now the do-it-yourself category is deeply intertwined with the electronics industry. Open hardware is in the center in maker movement – we need open hardware designs! How can you publish your designs and still do business with it? Open source ecosystem markets behave differently and therefore require a very different playbook than traditional tech company: the differentiation is not in the technology you build; it is in the process and expertise that you slowly amass over an extended period of time.

By democratizing the product development process, helping these developments get to market, and transforming the way we educate the next generation of innovators, we will usher in the next industrial revolution. The world is ours to make. Earlier the PC created a new generation of software developers who could innovate in the digital world without the limitations of the physical world (virtually no marginal cost, software has become the great equalizer for innovation. Now advances in 3D printing and low-cost microcontrollers as well as the ubiquity of advanced sensors are enabling makers to bridge software with the physical world. Furthermore, the proliferation of wireless connectivity and cloud computing is helping makers contribute to the Internet of Things (IoT). We’re even beginning to see maker designs and devices entering those markets once thought to be off-limits, like medical.

Historically, the education system has produced graduates that went on to work for companies where new products were invented, then pushed to consumers. Today, consumers are driving the innovation process and demanding education, business and invention to meet their requests. Makers are at the center of this innovation transformation.

Image source: The world is ours to make: The impact of the maker movement – EDN Magazine

In fact, many parents have engaged in the maker movement with their kids because they know that the education system is not adequately preparing their children for the 21st century. There is a strong movement to spread this DIY idea widely. The Maker Faire, which launched in the Bay Area in California in 2006, underlined the popularity of the movement by drawing a record 215,000 people combined in the Bay Area and New York events in 2014. There’s Maker Media, MakerCon, MakerShed, Make: magazine and 131 Maker Faire events that take place throughout the world. Now the founders of all these Makers want a way to connect what they refer to as the “maker movement” online. So Maker Media created a social network called MakerSpace, a Facebook-like social network that connects participants of Maker Faire in one online community. The new site will allow participants of the event to display their work online. There are many other similar sites that allow yout to present yout work fron Hackaday to your own blog. Today, 135 million adults in the United States alone are involved in the maker movement—although makers can be found everywhere in the world.

 

1,722 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    https://hackaday.io/project/160437-noise-nugget
    Noise Nugget is a compact digital synthesizer based on an 180MHz Cortex-M4 and quality audio DAC with headphone amplifier.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Spectra: Open Biomedical Imaging
    https://hackaday.io/project/159737-spectra-open-biomedical-imaging

    Biomedical Imaging project using AC currents to do image reconstruction of conductive bodies.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hacking The ZH03B Laser Particle Sensor
    https://hackaday.com/2018/10/09/hacking-the-zh03b-laser-particle-sensor/

    Laser particle detectors are a high-tech way for quantifying whats floating around in the air. With a fan, a laser, and a sensitive photodetector, they can measure smoke and other particulates in real-time. Surprisingly, they are also fairly cheap, going for less than $20 USD on some import sites. They just need a bit of encouragement to do our bidding.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Is 2018 Finally the Year of Windows on the Robot?
    https://hackaday.com/2018/10/09/is-2018-finally-the-year-of-windows-on-the-robot/

    Microsoft is bringing ROS to Window 10. ROS stands for Robot Operating System, a software framework and large collection of libraries for developing robots which we recently wrote an introductory article about, It’s long been primarily supported under Linux and Mac OS X, and even then, best under Ubuntu. My own efforts to get it working under the Raspbian distribution on the Raspberry Pi led me to instead download a Pi Ubuntu image. So having it running with the support of Microsoft on Windows will add some welcome variety.

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Another Drawbot Uses A Pi And Web Sockets
    https://hackaday.com/2018/10/08/another-drawbot-uses-a-pi-and-web-sockets/

    There’s something about art. Cavemen drew on walls. People keep programming drawing robots. One we’ve seen recently is [Andy’s] Drawbot that uses WiFi and WebSockets to draw on just about any flat surface. What’s more, the Johnson County Library has a great write-up about how they built one and if you want a go at it, you’ll find their instructions very helpful. The video below is pretty inspirational, too.

    https://www.instructables.com/id/Drawbot/

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hacking the Meccano M.A.X.
    https://hackaday.io/project/160606-hacking-the-meccano-max

    Meccano M.A.X. is a 30cm tall toy robot that is fun to build. This project aims to convert it into a machine vision robot.

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    1-Square-Inch 20Msps Oscilloscope Designed Around a PIC32MZ MCU
    https://blog.hackster.io/1-square-inch-20msps-oscilloscope-designed-around-pic32mz-microcontroller-b22cb9c00e2d

    Oscilloscope, which he designed around a Microchip PIC32MZ EF microcontroller that uses internal ADCs in an interleaved mode to gain a 20Msps sampling rate. Mark found he was able to achieve a bandwidth of 1MHz in his setup.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Bolt-On Peristaltic Pump
    https://hackaday.com/2018/10/27/the-bolt-on-peristaltic-pump/

    With the proliferation of 3D printing in the new millennium, stepper motors are no longer those idle junkbox inhabitants you pulled out of a dot matrix in 1994 and forgot about ever since. NEMA standard parts are readily available and knocking about just about everywhere. Now, you can readily turn a stepper motor into a peristaltic pump with just a few simple 3D printed parts.

    https://dptechnology.jimdo.com/projects/3d-printed-peristaltic-pump/

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Barb Makes Things
    https://hackaday.io/project/8882-barb-makes-things

    Custom DIY projects in high speed, every Tuesday.

    This is a series of videos showing my process of making a new project every week, using a wide variety of media, including electronics, 3d printing, wood, concrete, shrink plastic, gingerbread, etc.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tom Simonite / Wired:
    As AI-building frameworks get open-sourced, DIY tinkerers use them for tasks like identifying plant diseases, automating dry-cleaning, making art, and more

    The DIY Tinkerers Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence
    https://www.wired.com/story/diy-tinkerers-artificial-intelligence-smart-tech/

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    8BitRobots Module
    https://hackaday.io/project/152729-8bitrobots-module

    A common hardware, software and 3D printed module to enable fun, educational robots anyone can print and program.

    I started to build robots for fun at the end of 2015 when I built an underwater robot (https://hackaday.io/project/8343-borgcube-rov). In the last few years I’ve built a few more, including a car, another ROV, a rabbit, a rolling ball, and a robot arm. Some of these have used custom hardware, some just assembled Adafruit and Sparkfun boards, some Raspberry Pies(?!), and some Beaglebones. Through this process I’ve built and rebuilt the software to control these things until I have a common, Javascript platform running on everything. In parallel I’ve refined what hardware the robot use until I have a common hardware platform with all the essentials they share. Together this makes the 8BitRobots module.

    Reply

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