In the title of his latest book, Wired Editor Chris Anderson is clear that he thinks the maker movement will change the world. Enabled by a swath of new technologies, the hacker culture known for tinkering with computer software is moving into the physical world, giving rise to new forms of art, manufacturing, and industrial design. And as Anderson explains in “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution,” this union of Web culture and the real world could change everything from American manufacturing to business creation to primary and secondary education.
Anderson sat down with Slate editor David Plotz Thursday evening at a Future Tense happy hour at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, DC, to discuss the power of the maker movement and celebrate the release of his new book.
Of all the technologies driving the maker movement, few get more attention than the 3-D printer. Cheap computers, feature-rich smartphones, thriving online communities, and physical hacker spaces have all bolstered the Do It Yourself mentality, so what makes the 3-D printer so revolutionary? Makers cherish machines like MakerBot, but at the end of the day, as Plotz put it, they’re just “extruding some plastic doodad.”
“Let us not discount that extruding a plastic doodad is kind of amazing just by itself,” Anderson said. The 3-D printer follows a trend of new technology empowering individuals to create in ways they haven’t been able to before. Personal computers and desktop printers gave rise to desktop publishing in the 1980s, when anyone could write, design, and publish whatever they wanted from their home office. Then publishing moved to the Web, where centuries of printing technologies fused into a single “publish” button on a Web page.
As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email email@example.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.
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, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, 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.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
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