MakerCon Recap: There's a revolution going on

Inventables' Zach Kaplan and Michael Una were out in the Bay Area recently for MakerCon, a conference "providing new insights into local and global manufacturing, design, workforce development, education and even creative culture", organized by the fine folks at Make Magazine. 

We learned a lot and had the opportunity to share some of our own experiences, and also got to make one big announcement.

In case you missed it, Zach gave a talk in which he announced that we're giving away a Shapeoko 3D Carving Machine to a public maker space in all 50 states (plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico).

If you're interested in applying, or know someone who might be, the application form and all the pertinent information is available here.

Zach gave a brief talk as part of a panel with Bunnie Huang and others on the process of going from idea to a finished product. He discussed some of the issues we've encountered as Shapeoko has grown and walked the audience through some of the processes we use to keep ourselves organized and efficient.

We saw a few great talks, most notable Kevin Kelly of Wired Magazine and Cool Tools fame, who discussed the history and evolution of the Maker Movement and where he sees it going. One quote that stuck with us:

"Tools underpin revolutions that occur in culture"

We were also impressed by Jay Silver of MaKey MaKey who gave an audiovisual tour-de-force that asked the question "What does it mean to be an undomesticated human?" This guys knows what's up. He has a lot of radical ideas about how humans learn, what it takes to be creative and happy, and how to retain childlike curiosity every step of that journey. He also advanced his powerpoint presentation by squishing his finger into a piece of fruit. He then set his computer to automatically take a picture when he and Dale Dougherty high-fived. Really inspiring stuff.

We also got to see a talk by our friend and awesome guy Massimo Banzi, who revealed some of the new plans for the next Arduino boards. A big focus for the Arduino team is making the user interface design as simple as possible, and to optimize for people who've never worked with electronics or programming before.

He told a pretty funny story about getting into a cab in Spain, and the driver kept staring at him in the rearview mirror. He then pulled over and whipped out his copy of "Getting Started with Arduino" and showed Massimo a video of himself that he had just been watching on his phone, waiting for a fare to get in. The cab driver was working on a hardware startup company and was just learning how to use Arduino. 

Overall, we loved getting to meet so many of the movers and shakers of the Maker movement in person and got a very good sense of the issues facing the maker community, as well as the prevailing ideas and trends that are going to shape the world for the next little while. It's an exciting time to be part of this burgeoning movement!

-Michael Una


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