On September 20, Atmel kicked off the 2013 World Maker Faire with a star-studded analyst panel moderated by Windell Oskay, the co-founder of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.
Participants included Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi; Dr. Reza Kazerounian, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Atmel’s Microcontroller Business Unit; Suzanne Deffree of EDN; Brian Jepson, an editor with Maker Media (publisher of MAKE Magazine); Annmarie P. Thomas, an associate professor at the University of St. Thomas; Bob Martin from Atmel’s MCU applications team and Quin Etnyre, a 12-year-old Maker who loves to teach Arduino classes.
The panel received coverage from a number of prominent publications, including MAKE Magazine. In fact, as noted above, Brian Jepson of MAKE was a member of the analyst lineup.
When someone asked about makers in education, Brian Jepson said: “A Maker will teach you how to pick locks, but they won’t teach you how to break into a bank.”
Meanwhile, Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi said that he was more proud that he’d got the Arduino into Radio Shack, than he was about the board itself.
“The Radio Shack deal was an achievement, not the product. The Maker Movement is changing the way people teach, learn and think. It allows you to have access to certain tech at a lower price,” Massimo told panel attendees. “[Remember], many closed source [hardware devices] aren’t as reliable and easy as the [Atmel-powered] Arduino. The value of open source is that you can really look at code, build upon what others have done. We don’t think the Maker Movement is about the future, it’s about the present.”
Indeed, as Atmel’s Reza Kazerounian noted, bringing businesses closer to the open source community will help empower both Makers and the industry.
“The open source community could be the start of the next big commercial engineering project,” he added.
Meanwhile, Annmarie P. Thomas said she had observed that Makers often spend time creating things they are passionate about.
“The Maker Movement redefines the classroom, it makes us want to celebrate curiosity and inventiveness, returning us to a time where people still understand how things work even if they aren’t engineers. Obviously, the Maker Movement isn’t really new, and the cool thing about design and making, there’s no right answer. It’s [definitely difficult] to engineer something without being a Maker first,” she explained.
“One of the really exciting things about the Maker Movement is that it’s more about the making, less about the tools. Whatever you can obtain, you start with. The Maker Movement is about lowering cost of hardware, yes, but even more about the community pitching in. [Plus], more schools are now adopting Arduino and many university programs want to see students come in with a portfolio.”
Atmel’s Bob Martin expressed similar sentiments.
“The Maker Movement makes learning more fun, exciting and practical, allowing brilliant individuals such as Quin Etnyre to move forward and succeed. Personally, I’m trying to encourage my daughters to take their toys apart and build things. I was always a big fan of LEGO, which is probably why I’m a Maker.”
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