Our friends at MAKE recently introduced something new: the Maker Pro Newsletter. Their stated goal is to bridge the gap between makers and tinkerers and the greater production market.
The mission of the Maker Pro Newsletter is to inform, analyze, educate, and catalyze as we explore emerging business opportunities for makers. We’re thrilled at what’s happening in this area and want to share the good news as we find it, as well as pointing out any bumps we see in the road. We will digest and share what we learn. And, through vehicles like our Hardware Innovation Workshop (mark your calendars for May 14, 15!), we will be focusing on issues facing the maker market and working to addressed them.
Price points for industrial robots continue to fall. At the recent Automate conference in Chicago, crowds gathered around a one-armed robot from Universal Robots, selling for $34,000, according to a report in the Everything-Robotic blog. A two-armed robot from Rodney Brooks’ Rethink Robotics was priced even lower: $22,000. Both products are targeted at small- and medium-sized businesses. What’s stopping makers from bringing the costs down below $10K?
Indie hardware projects were the story at another recent conference, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where tech blog The Verge reported that Kickstarter-funded hardware projects “stole the show” from the corporate giants. The tech blog highlighted three watches, including Kickstarter hero Pebble, to make the case that indies were “the most interesting and innovative products at this year’s CES.” Independent hardware makers can press their advantage, according to The Verge, by focusing on markets that are too small for major corporations. “If Sony sold 85,000 watches, we’d call it a failure,” the blog concluded. “When Pebble does it, it’s a rousing success.”
Meanwhile over at Kickstarter, the watchapalooza continues. Leading the list of most recently kickstarted hardware projects as we go to press: a GPS sports watch, followed by an open source gaming handheld and an iPad/iPhone power adapter, for those stuck with the old 30-pin connectors.
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.