I am just beginning to gather my senses from the past roughly 80 hours of sensory overload. In fact, I’m going to spend most of today writing this instead of going on more exploratory and scouting missions, because I can tell that if I let this keep going on, I’m going to have to write a book in one sitting (not that I haven’t before).
For some backstory, I was supposed to visit family in Beijing this month, but decided to take the opportunity of being in the neighborhood (i.e. the same continent) to visit one of the premier locations for manufacturing, hardware, and making – Shenzhen, in southern China. In 2 weeks, I’m also going to be in Tokyo for a few days, which is going to be its own entire set of shenanigans.
Shenzhen is the direct result of a central economic planning bureau deciding that they really liked this small nondescript fishing village and that it should become a world center of manufacturing and industry, so let’s throw money and power at it. It appears to have worked for the most part. For the actual story of SZ, there’s Wikipedia.
Inspired by posts like bunnie huang’s and many others detailing the electronics marketplaces in the city, I decided it was worth my while to check it all out in person. Interestingly enough, I have had past experience with visiting electronics/mechanical parts markets in China. In 2007, I was once again on a family visit, and I ran around a few of the neighborhoods with high concentrations of this kind of industry. Sadly, that was all on a previous version of the site which did not survive a server move a few years ago. Maybe I’ll put those pictures back up when I dig them out of my storage drives later.
Since my interests are primarily in the mechanical/fabrication side and overlapping into electric vehicles as well as pure electronics hardware (boards, fab, enclosures, packaging), one thing I’m trying to do is a bit of scouting for those who want to build more hardware. Needless to say, I’m a little weary of the term “hardware” being co-opted to basically mean stuffing a printed circuit board, but I understand that to what was mostly software people, that’s hardware. My hardware tends to weigh more and have higher tensile strengths.
What I’ve noticed in the past two days of shifting around the market crowds is that the infrastructure of both procurement and mentorship (the hardware startup accelerators, the makerspaces) is well-established for those making electronic hardware. Like in many parts of the world, I suspect the mechanical side is hidden away in dedicated industrial spaces, so part of my own mission in the short time I’m here is to scout those places out a little, and perhaps lay some groundwork for future explorers, a bit of a mechanopunk Roald Amundsen.
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!
Maker Business — Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd raises $45m
Wearables — A straw solution
Electronics — Optimize your op amp
Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: CircuitPython 7.0.0 Released and More! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF
Adafruit IoT Monthly — WFH Stress Monitor, Helping Parkinson's Patients with IoT, and more!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!
EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey
New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 9/22/21 feat. #Adafruit LED Glasses Driver – nRF52840 Sensor Board!
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.