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.

 

1,927 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Know Your Fits And Tolerances
    https://hackaday.com/2019/02/25/know-your-fits-and-tolerances/

    When designing parts on a screen, it’s very easy to type in a bunch of nice round numbers and watch everything slot together in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, the real world is not so kind. A 10mm shaft will not readily fit in a 10mm hole, and producing parts to perfect dimensions simply isn’t possible. This is where fits and tolerances come in, and [tarkka] have created a practical demonstration of this on Youtube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2429BVMrZ4A

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Chameleon System
    https://hackaday.io/project/160884-the-chameleon-system

    A Eurorack hardware module with digital flexibility.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Design and Build a Companion Robot for MS Care
    https://hackaday.io/project/164052-design-and-build-a-companion-robot-for-ms-care

    The project aims to design and build a companion robot for aid in primary and secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis care.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Inside the Secret World of Crimping
    https://hackaday.com/2019/02/28/inside-the-secret-world-of-crimping/

    Fortunately, [Matt Millman] has a great guide on wire-to-board connectors. This guide will explain why you should never solder crimp terminals and then get into working with some of the most common wire-to-board connector families.

    http://tech.mattmillman.com/info/crimpconnectors/

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    3D Print Your Own Electric Screwdriver
    https://hackaday.com/2019/03/05/3d-print-your-own-electric-screwdriver/

    For the odd job every now and then, a regular screwdriver does the job. However, in situations like a small production operation, it can quickly become uncomfortable to use. In these situations, an electric screwdriver is incredibly useful. There’s no need to rush out to the store, however – you can build one yourself, and [Electronoobs] did just that.

    https://www.electronoobs.com/eng_circuitos_tut29.php

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Paper Cup Mic Is Fun And Functional
    https://hackaday.com/2019/03/02/paper-cup-mic-is-fun-and-functional/

    SM57s to cover guitar cabs, fancy gilded ribbon mics for vocal takes, and a variety of condensers to round out the selection. That’s all well and good for high-fidelity recording, but what if you want to go the other way? [LeoMakes] has just the thing, with his sub-$10 paper cup mic.

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

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

    Custom DIY projects in high speed, every Tuesday.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Make Your Own Quantum Dots
    https://hackaday.com/2019/03/21/make-your-own-quantum-dots/

    Quantum dots certainly sound as if they should be something cool, but carry the hazardous baggage of being sometimes made from cadmium which can be dangerous. What are they? In essence, they are nanometer-scale particles, so small that when high energy light hits them, the photons will be absorbed and re-emitted at a lower energy state. You can easily make non-toxic quantum dots in your kitchen. Apart from the cool factor, they can be used as fluorescent dyes, inks, and possibly paints.

    DIY Quantum Dots(Nanotech in Your Kitchen)
    https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Quantum-DotsNanotech-in-Your-Kitchen/

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Multichannel Field Recorder You Can Build Right Now
    https://hackaday.com/2019/03/22/the-multichannel-field-recorder-you-can-build-right-now/

    Field recorders, or backpackable audio recorders with a few XLR jacks and an SD card slot, are a niche device, and no matter what commercial field recorder you choose you’ll always compromise on what features you want versus what features you’ll get. [Ben Biles] didn’t feel like compromising so he built his own multichannel audio DSP field recorder. It has a four channel balanced master outputs, with two stereo headphone outputs, eight or more inputs, digital I/O, and enough routing for multitrack recording.

    Multichannel Audio DSP Field Mixer Recorder
    https://hackaday.io/project/7041-multichannel-audio-dsp-field-mixer-recorder

    USBmidi, bluetooth app controll 8 chan portable DSP mixer.balanced audio IO,phantom power,flexible routing,ISO recording. networked

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    WOPR: Building Hardware Worth Sharing
    https://hackaday.com/2019/04/04/wopr-building-hardware-worth-sharing/

    It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to assume that anyone reading Hackaday regularly has at least progressed to the point where they can connect an LED to a microcontroller and get it to blink without setting anything on fire. We won’t even chastise you for not doing it with a 555 timer. It’s also not a stretch to say if you can successfully put together the “Hello World” of modern electronics on a breadboard, you’re well on the way to adding a few more LEDs, some sensors, and a couple buttons to that microcontroller and producing something that might come dangerously close to a useful gadget. Hardware hacking sneaks up on you like that.

    Here’s where it gets tricky: how many of us are still stuck at that point? Don’t be shy, there’s no shame in it. A large chunk of the “completed” projects that grace these pages are still on breadboards, and if we had to pass on every project that still had a full-on development board like the Arduino or Wemos D1 at its heart…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty.

    Of course, if you’re just building something as a personal project, there’s often little advantage to having a PCB spun up or building a custom enclosure. But what happens when you want to build more than one? If you’ve got an idea worth putting into production, you’ve got to approach the problem with a bit more finesse. Especially if you’re looking to turn a profit on the venture.

    At the recent WOPR Summit in Atlantic City, there were a pair of presentations which dealt specifically with taking your hardware designs to the next level.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*