It reminds me a little of 20-25 years ago, when first personal computing with Macintosh, Microsoft and Lotus and then indie rock with Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr broke through from the margins into the mainstream.
Microchip designer ARM’s mbed project offers users an inexpensive microcontroller and a drag-and-drop compiler for simple hardware computing. It isn’t open-source, but like the new generation of Arduino boards, it’s comparatively easy for novices to use.
MakerBot’s new Thing-O-Matic (launched in September 2010) makes desktop 3D printing easier and cheaper. In June 2011, MakerBot’s Bre Pettis appears on The Colbert Report.
Amir Abo-Shaeer, a Santa Barbara high school teacher, wins a MacArthur Fellowship for his work in robotics and engineering education. Abo-Shaeer’s just one part of an increased emphasis on DIY education in K-12, partly centered around the FIRST Robotics international high school competition. Kids, teens, parents and young women are increasingly among the most numerous and enthusiastic makers.
When Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor for Xbox goes on sale, the hardware hacking community almost immediately develops open-source drivers for the device. Microsoft initially appears to take a hard line against Open Kinect, then embraces it, eventually launching an official development kit for Windows. Users increasingly want to know how their commercial devices work and modify them for their own ends.
Wired’s April 2011 “How to Make Stuff” issue features 25 DIY projects and Adafruit’s Fried on the cover. Bruce Sterling half-jokingly refers to the “maker superstar personality cult.” Nerds are cool, and nothing is nerdier or cooler than building and maintaining your own stuff.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.