Beijing Makerspace is bringing tinkerers together to help make their IoT dreams a reality.
There, not only did he explore the latest and greatest DIY creations, Arts participated in a well-attended press event with a number of journalists, tinkerers and entrepreneurs to discuss Atmel’s place at the heart of the rapidly growing global Maker Movement, and of course, the Internet of Things.
Located on the fourth floor of the International Digital Design Center in Zhongguancun, which has been dubbed China’s Silicon Valley, Beijing Makerspace is a community that gathers China’s Makers. The approximately 10,700-square-foot facility converges several open-source pieces of hardware such as the highly-popular AVR MCU, electronic platforms like Arduino and high-tech devices including 3D printers and robots — all the tools necessary to create next-gen IoT projects.
As we learned last year, Beijing Makerspace’s co-founder Justin Wang Shenglin believes that the community workshop can perhaps best be defined as a social enterprise. The establishing of the DIY hub for Wang wasn’t like starting a normal business. In fact, he tells the Chinese newspaper Global Times that it was more about finding a place where people with a common interest could come play, make and collaborate together. These people come from all walks of life — ranging from IT engineers and programmers, to designers and artists, to students and academics — and shared a common bond: making cool things!
“Having a creative idea about something is far from creating it, since craft is involved in the latter,” Wang told the Global Times in a recent interview. “Many people may start with a splendid idea, but end up finding it too hard to make it into a reality.”
As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Chinese government officials have also taken a keen interest in the Maker Movement in recent months due to its lucrative economic and educational potential.
“There is no other country that can perform better in craft and manufacturing than China,” explained Wang. “With an ever-growing market and firm support from the government, China is gaining its advantage in this new Industrial Revolution.”
China joins other nations, including the United States, in embracing the Maker Movement and its tremendous potential for entrepreneurship, by viewing this grassroots innovation as essential for staying competitive in our modern-day economic climate. As a May 2014 Slate article acknowledged, “The official rhetoric has a sense of urgency: China no longer wants to be seen as the ‘world’s factory,’ manufacturing goods that are designed elsewhere.”
For instance, Shanghai’s municipal government has backed plans to build 100+ Makerspaces throughout the city, with each location is said to be equipped with a 3D printer and will host staff to help visitors with traditional crafts such as woodworking. Meanwhile, last year’s Maker Faire in Shenzhen attracted an estimated 30,000 people.
Wang adds, “China is a Maker’s paradise. All the materials they could want are here and extremely cheap.”