The maker movement surrounds one thing and one thing only and that is the desire to make things. From different skill sets and all different backgrounds, the maker movement is becoming ever more popular across all art forms but in particular, engineering. The want and need to create designs and products has increased with makers turning away from 'the right way' of doing things and instead looking at things in their own different ways.
The Apple Computer 1 was released by Apple in 1976 and was designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak, one of the three godfathers of the Apple empire. After attending a computer club in 1975, Wozniak was so inspired he immediately set out to work on what would follow on to be the first Apple computer. The distinctive computer went on sale the following July for $666.66. Just because Wozniak liked repeating numbers - apparently not the reason we're all thinking of.
But it's this back story that really matters here. Steve Wozniak was so inspired from a computer club that he left and immediately started to make his own product. That leads us up to today. The maker movement has become more popular than ever before, giving people more of a chance to get involved in technology and making things themselves. Whether it's a leading innovation within a robot or a simple tweak to a kitchen appliance, the idea is that we can all make whatever we really like.
Dale Dougherty penned the term 'maker movement' in 2005 as he launched his quarterly journal about DIY projects surrounding everything and anything. Then a year later in 2006, the Maker Faire was born. These were pivotal moments for the movement as these conventions became the first showcases for the movement. The Maker Faire is designed to be a celebration of making in society.
The word 'maker' literally means someone who is the creator, source or cause of something. When it comes to technology, to be a maker, its not necessary that you are a fully trained engineer. The power of the internet is what really distinguishes this movement from anything else similar that we've seen in any other era. The exchange on information via the internet gives makers access to the most refined parts and specific materials they could desire. CADs (Computer Aided Design) allow makers to design and model their desired creations. Not to mention forums, social media platforms and other communities that now allow makers to collaborate, share results and ask questions. In turn continually supporting each other and improve their designs. The internet has revolutionised the way that makers, well... make.
Alongside the maker movement, the makerspace was also born. These places allowed people to enter with an idea and with a project whether it be part finished or completed. Full of tools, components and expertise, the goal is to work together to learn from each other. More importantly, to collaborate with one another and share ideas. These places can be found with high tech to no tech tools. From 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, soldering irons down to screwdrivers and hammers. However, a makerspace does not have to include all of these to be considered that. It's the freedom and collaboration that count.
These safe havens for makers are making even more of a difference in that are helping to prepare young and older people alike to develop the new fundamental 21st century skills that are associated with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
STEM is based around the idea of teaching around the four subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths with an integrated approach rather than teaching them as four separate subjects. Even President Barack Obama has shown support for STEM when he launched the 'Educate to Innovate' campaign with the aim to inspire and push students to excel in STEM subjects.
MATE II (Inspiration for Innovation) is one of the giants in support STEM education and makers with their annual International ROV competition. The MATE International ROV competition is based around remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) inspiring and challenging students to learn and apply STEM. Organisers want students to use STEM to solve real world problems using critical thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Bulgin is a continued supporter of the MATE International ROV competition, this year, offering samples and free engineering support to students that compete in the competition.
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