Making your inter-network, of things – MakerSpaces and the future of innovation. #51 #cong16

By Will Knott.

Our past experiences always influence us…

It actually sounds like a story from my grandparent’s time. In order to get a new table they walked down the road, spoke to an expert about the table options and it’s constructed in the workshop at the back.

And it is happening now, in this case its “Unto This Last” in London’s Brick Lane. This is not your grandparents table. This is actually a layered, laser and robot CNC router cut and assembled piece of furniture, custom made to order. Also, as the construction is optional, you could leave with the plans for construction elsewhere. Even the other side of the world. Or instruction on setting up your own digital furniture construction workshop.

True, this is an extreme version of a MakerSpace, but the extremes show where the edges of the future can be.

Our past experiences always influence us. School does things to us. It makes you think a certain way. “What is the fastest way to solve this problem?”

It may even be a gendered thing. The catch is we often solve the wrong problem….

In general, a Makerspace is usually a community operated workspaces where people with common interests, often in software, machining, engineering, technology, education, science, art, electronics, fabrication or craft can socialise and collaborate.

It’s sort of a combination of a Men’s Shed and a co-working space. Usually with someone who is tinkering with the coffee formula again.

  • You need a room.
  • Some tools.
  • A group of people.
  • And passion.

Community is also a stretched thing. It could be the village (for all of you telecommuters), the apartment building residents, the college student body, or the office staff. It’s the cross over point for ideas.

It is also where businesses ideas can begin to take form.

Our past experiences always influence us. School does things to us. Our wider community changes that mind-set. 

The community is an important aspect. If the only people making things are twenty something male students, you get solutions to their problems. Essentially an outsourced Mom while they play their games.

We, as a country need to shift the thinking from “how do I solve my problem” to first asking “What problem is worth solving? How do I find that problem?”

Collaboration is important. Community matters. Not just a virtual one, but a physical get together one.

A lot of us in the technology field may be introverted, which may explain all those online delivery services which means you can’t accidentally meet people. So plan it. Make it a regular event. Teach others the skills what matter to you, and you might find something to care about.

  • Make contacts.
  • Make friends.
  • Make yourself aware of new areas.
  • Make skills.
  • Make.

Our past experiences always influence us. Habits form. Get others to help you make problems so you can find new solutions. 

Sometimes exploitable ones.

Makerspace members encourage each other to pursue individual interests but often collaborate together where they encounter something new or unexpected. In these devils lie our spaces of uncertainty. Our problems made. Sometimes it’s a simple solutions, sometimes it’s a breakthrough.

Having someone talk to you about an issue with their project can yield unexpected results.

One of the most valuable lessons to be learned in physics applies to Makerspaces, and life in general. Carrying over concepts from one discipline to another is an art worth trying. By creating analogies in one known area to another unresolved area in a different field can illuminate a path to discovery.

In physics the fact that the Ising model of ferromagnetism is analogous with the Hopfield model of computational neuroscience opens solutions in neural circuitry. In Makerspaces the 3d modelling skills of one member and the Arduino programming skills of another enables wiring pathways to motors for an interactive humanoid display.

MakerSpaces allow a safe location to enable cross talk among those using or creating Key Enabling Technologies. Where else would Microelectronics, lasers and advanced manufacturing technologies be discussed in creating a drivable robotic duck?

Usually it’s fun. Serious fun at times, but fun.

Our past experiences always influence us. Sometimes the things in the past we abandoned turn out to be useful. 

  • Like tinkering.
  • Like playing.
  • Like trying things out in a low risk environment.
  • Like making.

Our past experiences always influence us. Make new experiences.

Make.


© Eoin Kennedy 2017 eoin at congregation dot ie