Last month, President Obama hosted the first ever White House Maker Faire. The Interwebs received a formal invite from two of the band members from OK Go, who’s newest music video is a testament to Makers everywhere.
OK Go’s newest music video uses optical illusions and a whole lot of ingenuity for its break up song, “The Writings on the Wall.” (Video Credit: OK Go)
The Maker Movement supports and encourages entrepreneurs and students to innovate existing technologies and to create new industries and opportunities. Recently, America has lost much of its manufacturing prowess, deferring to cheap labor and operational investments in other countries. By encouraging people to pick up a hammer or soldering iron in a supportive setting, the President is hoping to create an environment where manufacturing will again flourish in the US, and to mediate the country’s declining role as the leader in science and technology.
The participants in the Maker Faire are diverse in both age and interest. Marc Roth began ‘making’ while he was homeless, after visiting a facility that taught skills like welding, woodworking and laser cutting. After investing what little money he had in taking classes at the school, he stared his own laser-cutting and etching company. He is paying it forward by creating an online program to teach similar skills to those struggling financially.
Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork were inspired by the devastation an earthquake caused in Haiti and the lack of portable lighting for aid workers. They created the LuminAID, a water proof solar-powered LED light that is packed flat and then inflated to diffuse its bright light. They are working to have it included in AID packs that are distributed in emergency situations; and recently partnered with ShelterBox, an organization that provides relief and shelter to victims of natural disaster, to include LuminAID in their packs.
An upwelling of open-source software along with increased accessibility to more affordable 3-D printers, has opened up opportunities for more people to design and fabricate inventions or upgrade old ones. The cost of entering the manufacturing and design field has declined with the spread of technology and accessibility. This allows greater access to new technologies for both students and individuals with limited finances. Makers range from crafters to woodworkers, from educators to students, from tech buffs to knitters. If Making is your new thing or if you want to learn more, you can check out Makezine to get involved, read up and start making.