Open source proponent Andrew “Bunnie” Huang recently discussed the Maker Movement with the China-based Programmer Magazine (CSDN.net). Humans, says Huang, feel differently toward “real” items as opposed to “virtual” things.
“As wonderful as apps are, a human home consists of more than a smartphone, a food tray [and] a bed. We still surround ourselves with knick-knacks, photos of friends, physical gifts we give each other on special occasions. I don’t think we will ever get to the point where getting a ‘virtual’ teddy bear app will be as valued as getting a ‘real’ teddy bear,” Huang told the publication.
“As a result, there will always be a place for people to make hardware that fills this need for tangible goods. This hardware will merge more technology and run more software, but in the end, there is a space for Makers and hardware startups, and that space is just getting bigger now that hardware technology is stabilizing.”
According to Huang, Arduino’s key contribution to the Maker Movement is the reduction of computation to a easy-to-use physical form.
“It was made first and foremost by designers and artists, and less so by technologists. This unique perspective on technology turned out to be very powerful: it turns out people who aren’t programmers or hardware designers also want to access hardware technology,” he explained.
“Some very moving and deep interactive art pieces have been made using the Arduino, allowing hardware to transcend menial control applications into something that changes your mood or makes you think about life differently.”
Huang also noted that design will ultimately become more feasible for products at lower volumes.
“[Sure], there will still be the million-unit blockbusters for things like smartphones and coffee makers, but there will also be a new market for 1k-10k of something, but with a much higher margin,” he opined.
“These small run products will be developed and sold by teams of just one or two people, so that the profit on such a small run of product is still a good living for the individuals. The key to the success of these products is that they are highly customized and help solve the exact problem a small group of users have, and because of this the users are willing to pay more for it.”
Interested in reading more? A full transcript of Huang’s remarks can be found here.