There seems to be a bit of confusion lately about the Maker Movement. As with reporting on any popular phenomena (like pop stars or smart phones), once there’s been coverage of the next big thing, the media inevitably moves on to covering how the next big thing is already doomed to die. And even while our own Maker Faire Bay Area recently enjoyed yet another blockbuster year, and crowdfunded endeavors by aspiring innovators continue to break records, we start to see headlines like this:
To be fair, the piece doesn’t make any predictions of doom-and-gloom. Rather, it contrasts the perceived popularity of the Maker Movement right now with the fact that one company, Sparkfun, which makes and sells breakout boards and electronic kits, saw only 9% growth last year after previous years of significant double-digit growth. I’d suggest that it’s unreasonable to try to find a trend in one data point from one still robustly-healthy company (let’s not fall into the trap of assuming anomalous short-term growth is realistically sustainable – I’m looking at you, Apple stock speculators) in one still wide-open and still-growing product category (1 million Raspberry Pis sold, Arduino kits showing up in Radio Shack stores around the country, and other companies in the space – like Adafruit Industries – tripling year-over-year).
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.
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