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Makers of Tomorrow

4/15/2020 | By Kevin Walseth

“Maker” is a term that is all over technology and innovation right now. What is a maker? Everywhere you look you will find a different definition of what a maker is, which is exactly the way it should be because a maker could be anyone and in many cases is everyone. If you like to make things, whether it is out of snow, electronics, food, wood, or anything else; you can be defined as a maker.

“Humans do two things that make us unique from all other animals; we use tools and we tell stories. And when you make something, you’re doing both at once.” Adam Savage

There are two types of makers in the electronics industry today:

  • Makers of Innovation – these are the individuals that have the drive to create cool things for themselves. These individuals typically have full-time jobs and like to tinker and “make” in their basement in the evenings and on the weekends. The beauty of today’s innovation is the minimal barrier to entry. An Arduino platform can get you started at very low cost for the hardware, zero cost for the software/programming UI, and there are plenty of getting started guides covering almost anything you can think of.
  • Maker Pro is a term that also floats around the industry. A Maker Pro is someone who has commercial aspirations to become a startup and create a marketable product. A maker pro will dedicate many weeks/months and even years to perfect their product. It will likely end up on a crowdfunding campaign to raise capital for mass production and ultimately a patent.

If you take a step back 20 years, creating a sellable product around technology was extremely expensive. To program a microcontroller, you would need an IDE, compiler, debugger, and more which could cost tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the task of trying to market these designs without social media and web advertising. Today, you can take a $20 Arduino board and do all the same things, plus push it out on many social media channels to market and even ask for help.

Tomorrow’s makers have the tools to create the most incredible technology, right at their fingertips. If a sixth-grader wants to create a smartwatch, he can. If someone in the healthcare industry wants to add internet capabilities to their coffee pot, they can follow a guide someone else created. Open-source companies help to make all of this happen by releasing source code publicly and creating how-to and getting started guides for all to see. Engineers are extremely important in today’s world, but if you want to be a maker of things, you no longer need that knowledge to create what you want. You just need a little patience and an internet connection.

In case you missed the first of this documentary, check out “The Future of STEAM”

Stay Tuned for the 3rd and final part of the documentary “Powering Startups”

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