Now, as never before, DIYers are empowered to design, manufacture, and market their creations. Call it the maker movement, a fresh industrial revolution, or the new innovation economy. By any name, it’s a great time to be an innovator. And these visionaries are leading the way.
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While working on her master’s degree at MIT, Limor Fried used to relax at night by building synthesizers and other DIY electronics projects, then posting the instructions online. After fans started asking for help locating parts, she launched Adafruit. The company now sells electronics kits with open-source licenses, encouraging would-be inventors to experiment and have fun. The popular MintyBoost, for example, is a mobile-device charger housed in an Altoids-size tin. Fried’s site includes vibrant forums and video tutorials, and she awards badges for coding and welding. Her work is clearly making an impact: After watching the pink-haired engineer’s webcasts, one girl asked her father, “Are there any boy engineers?”
Mission statement: Fried calls Adafruit “an educational company that just happens to have a gift shop at the end.”
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