A few summers ago, at a DIY repair-off called Get Yr Fix, I watched as ragtag teams battled each other and the clock to breathe new life into all manner of dead and disused goods gathered from the streets of Brooklyn. The toddler’s three-wheeler was rad and the resurrected baby pen would have fit right into a Tim Burton version of Mad Max.
But there was also a kinda jaw dropping moment: two guys armed with little more than a soldering iron and a mutli-meter turned a couple of busted TVs into one fully fledged boob tube. “Eet’s aliiive!” one of them crowed. They didn’t win — the tricycle did — but they weren’t there to win. The duo, from the group NYC Resistor, took a kind of mad pleasure in making things better, like a cross between Bob Villa and Dr. Frankenstein. On this episode of Motherboard, we pay a visit to their Brooklyn lair.
Founded by a handful of friends who wanted a place to tinker with electronics and meet like-minded hackers for good, NYC Resistor. has blossomed into one of the country’s most influential hackerspaces. On any given Thursday night, their cozy, cluttered loft workshop is crawling with a diverse crowd of hardcore tinkerers and curious newcomers. Throwing some caution and many user warranties to the wind, they’re there to build, refine, break and share everything from toy robots to intricate paper sculpture to open source musical instruments.
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