Radar Theme: Make

[This is part of a series of posts that briefly describe the trends that we’re currently tracking here at O’Reilly]

DIY culture is back, from rocket cars to simply tweaking things you already own to make them better. People want control over their devices again, whether access to the internal computer systems of their car or the ability to make a simple flashing LED toy. Physical electronics skills are important but, thanks to the low price of microcontrollers, hardware is becoming software.

Watch List: Limor Fried, Arduino, Tom Igoe, NYU ITP, Make Magazine, Maker Faire.

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  • Nat, the url for Arduino (LadyAda) is broken

    >> htp://www.ladyada.net>Limor%20Fried,%20

  • Kathy Sierra

    Gnat, is DIY really about people “wanting control over their devices again”? I think it’s just as much about the act of building/creating something. CRAFT and Etsy come to mind as examples of DIY driven less by control than creativity. Or maybe it’s all about using real-world senses again… things like touch and smell.

    Regardless, it seems like an unstoppable trend, and one I think is just another example of a “bit backlash”. Atoms are not old-skool ; )

  • I’m with Kathy … but maybe there are two trends here.

    There’s hardware hacking, or regaining control over devices, which is a trend unto itself. You’ve got the homebrew game development scene, which requires hacking PSPs and DSs to remove copy protection just to run. There are hackable platforms (like taking advantage of Linux on DVRs or wifi routers). And the electronics scene is one unto itself.

    The fact is that the Etsy/Craft crowd and the Make/Arduino crowd really don’t overlap that much at the moment, but hanging around with both, I know people want to make these merge. The people doing electronics are really keen to learn how they can build better enclosures, weave sensors into soft electronics and knitting, make their own non-electronic materials. The crafty folks absolutely want to find out how to merge with electronics in new ways.

    My only point of contention with Kathy is that I think you do use lots of real-world senses in building electronics. What you’re talking about there is an interest in the physical, and that can be knitting, soldering, or both at the same time (really). It’s not a bit backlash — the human body can only spend so much time working at a computer, so I know many software people who are remaining committed to code, but are adding to what they do in the studio by building new things.

    I mean … it’s fun.

    Is fun a trend?

    I suppose “radar” can have many bands. :)