Tag Archives: Dale Dougherty

Is Maker Faire the new World’s Fair?

The New York Times has a regularly occurring section entitled “Room For Debate,” where they bring in knowledgeable people to discuss timely topics and events. Last week, the newspaper posed the question, “Reinventing the World’s Fair, or not. Is there a way to give the fairs of the past new life? And if so, what would they look like?”


Dale Dougherty, Founder of MAKE Magazine and creator of Maker Faire, chimed in with the following response:

A World’s Fair offered the promise of what the future would bring, and its standard bearers were large companies who built elaborate pavilions that helped to make a vision of the future seem real. At the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens, Westinghouse introduced Elektro, a 7-foot tall robot that could speak with a vocabulary of 700 words, smoke cigarettes and blow up balloons. The voice box for this electro-mechanical robot was a 78-r.p.m. record player.

Today, we have lots of people building robots that are much more sophisticated than Elektro, and easier and cheaper to construct; indeed you can see some of them at this year’s Maker Faire in Queens. As the founder of Maker Faire, where individuals and groups of tinkerers, hackers, artists, inventors and builders come together to demonstrate how technology and talent can change our lives and the world around us, I think of the Maker Faire as the new World’s Fair: the people’s fair.

It is important for us as a society to imagine the future, and the World’s Fair provided a context for doing so. But it is also vital that we see ourselves participating actively in creating or making that future, and that’s what we believe Maker Faire is doing. Oh, and Mr. Greenhalgh, we just had one in Detroit — for the fifth year in a row!

For those unfamiliar with the event, we hope to see each and every one of you next month at the 5th Annual World Maker Faire, held September 20-21st at the New York Hall of Science. If this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area was any preview of what is to come in Queens, we are certainly in for a treat. With an anticipated 750+ Makers and 85,000+ attendees, there should be enough to inspire, inform and entertain the thousands of attendees. This family-friendly event that celebrates technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability and much more will once again have Atmel as a Silversmith Sponsor.

Only days until we enter through the doors of the New York Hall of Science, here’s a look back at last year’s event in photos.

Don’t forget to join the Atmel team in Queens for the 5th Annual World Maker Faire! Undoubtedly, this year will be amazing as an expected 750+ Makers and 85,000+ attendees head to the New York Hall of Science to see the latest DIY gizmos and gadgets, as well as a number of the Makers mentioned above. Once again a Silversmith Sponsor of the event, Atmel will put the spotlight on everything from Arduino to Arduino-related projects

Why educators can learn a lot from Makers

Writing for KQED, Katrina Schwartz asks Dale Dougherty, editor of Make Magazine, if the notion of DIY and hands-on learning will ultimately make its way into mainstream classrooms.

Image Credit: New York Hall of Science/Maker Faire

“Most of the people that I know who got into science and technology benefited from a set of informal experiences before they had much formal training,” Dougherty replied.

“And I mean, like building rockets in the backyard, tinkering, playing with things. And that created the interest and motivation to pursue science.”

According to Dougherty, the spirit of play and discovery of knowledge is missing from much of formal education, with students lacking access to appropriate DIY tools and strategies.

“Schools haven’t changed, but the students have. They don’t come with these experiences,” he explained.

“Even at the university level we’re choosing talent based on math scores, not on capabilities and demonstrated abilities.”

However, Dougherty says he is hopeful that events like the recent White House Maker Faire will help accelerate a movement that accepts maker-style self-directed learning in schools.

“I think kids are going to be the drivers of change in this. They’re going to be the ones asking for this, and asking if their parents can support them in this,” he concluded.

“The key idea here that I’ve promoted is I want people to see themselves as producers, not just consumers. I’d like to see it become a capability that we use in home life and at work and that we’re proud of it, where we see ourselves as having these powers to do stuff.”

The full text of “Can the Maker Movement Infiltrate Mainstream Classrooms?” is available here on KQED.

Why Shenzhen is the factory of the world for Makers

Writing for the UK-based Guardian, Georgina Voss notes that hosting a Maker Faire in Shenzhen, which some describe as the “factory of the world,” makes quite a lot of sense.

Indeed, Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE Magazine and creator of Maker Faire, recently confirmed that the first official Maker Faire held in Shenzhen earlier this month successfully celebrated the emergence of the Maker Movement in China, while recognizing the significance of the city as a global capital for DIY culture.

“The city’s history rippled into Maker Faire Shenzhen, which sat in the shadow of high-rises. As expected, many of the classic Maker Faire features were in place: soldering workshops, talks by ‘Makers’, people looking awkward in Google Glass,” Voss explains.

“Yet Maker Faires are often characterized by lots of DIY projects and arts-tech mash-ups and these were conspicuously lacking. Instead, most stalls were occupied by fully realized electronics products – brainwave-controlled drones, robots, lots and lots of 3D printers – either ready for market, or in their beta stage and shipping later in the year.”

According to Voss, the region’s strengths in consumer electronics may also be particularly well-suited to the potential outputs of ‘Maker to Market’ outputs, starting with simplified prototypes built on open hardware technologies such as Arduino boards.

“Several hardware start-up accelerators have also set up shop in the city, including Haxlr8r and PCH’s Highway 1, and they acknowledge that […] regional innovation systems exist: participants spend time in Shenzhen to learn about the manufacturing and supply chain networks in the city, before being returned to the Bay Area to pitch for funding,” says Voss.

“The easy-to-use, flexible and low-cost technologies which underpin [accelerators] – open hardware microcontrollers and 3D printers, for example – have their own materiality and their own geography.”

Voss also points out that all of the factors which define Shenzhen as a competitive industry hub make it particularly attractive to Makers, including cheap and available raw materials, manufacturing skills and facilities, as well as clear entry points into supply chains.

“The ‘Maker’ identity can be framed by flattened shared qualities and values, working with technologies whose provenance is not always transparent. But nothing in technology is so simple or so isolated,” she concluded.

“Maker Faire Shenzhen shines a light on the externalities and ecosystems of making itself: the political regimes which regulate; the infrastructures which support it; the forms of work that drive it; and the culture and history that shape it.”

The full text of “Making in China: Maker Faire Shenzhen Highlights the Global Politics of the Maker Movement,” written by Georgina Voss is available on The Guardian here. Readers may also want to check out “Atmel looks back at Maker Faire Shenzhen” which can be read here.

Atmel looks back at Maker Faire Shenzhen

Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE Magazine and creator of Maker Faire, notes that Maker Faire Shenzhen, held the first weekend of April 2014, celebrated the emergence of the Maker Movement in China and recognized the significance of Shenzhen as a global capital for DIY culture.

“Maker Faire Shenzhen was the first full-scale Maker Faire in China. An estimated 30,000 people walked the tree-lined streets to interact with makers, participate in workshops and listen to presentations,” Dougherty explained in a recent Makezine article.

“[The event] was a showcase for 300 makers who manned 120 exhibits. Organized by Eric Pan and his team at Seeed Studio, Maker Faire Shenzhen was a public demonstration of the robust productivity of China’s makers. The Maker Movement could play a major role in China in transforming both China’s view of itself and the world’s view of China as a center of innovation.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel attended the Faire from April 6-7. Our booth – #4 – was located right next to Center Stage.

In addition, Sander Arts (@Sander1Arts), VP of Corporate Marketing at Atmel, gave a detailed presentation about Atmel microcontrollers, the IoT and Makers.

Sander’s well-attended presentation garnered a significant amount of attention in the local press from a number of journalists, including those writing for CNET, Ifanr, LeiPhone, PowerSystemsDesign (China) and 01EA.

“Various Maker teams demonstrated their projects, ranging from 3D printers to open-source vehicles, VR and wearable devices at Maker Faire 2014 in Shenzhen, highlighting the extensive possibilities of the Internet of Things,” wrote Cui Qiwen, Ifanr.com.

“As the robust brain behind all these maker projects, Atmel was also present at the convention.”

Xia Hang of LeiPhone, expressed similar sentiments.

“… Atmel accounts [for a] significant role that drives and inspires various projects in different categories such as LED, 3D printing and Arduino. Atmel’s MCU-based Arduino development platform enables more entry-level [projects],” Hang explained.

“Through Maker communities, Atmel has constructed close relationships with Makers in mainland China, not only by providing technology support, but also offering opportunities to present their maker projects through holding AVR Hero Contests. [As Sander says], ‘we are the Makers’ enablers, but the power is with you.'”

Meanwhile, CNET’s Tao Jingjie confirmed that Atmel maintains a close relationship with Makers via its AVR-based 8-bit MCUs and ARM-based 32-bit MCUs/MPUs.

“Atmel powers Makers to convert innovative ideas into actually commercialization-possible products, including LED projects, 3D printing projects, Arduino projects, and so on,” said Jingjie.

“It also held the global AVR Hero design contest, in which the products [that won] the award will achieve funding from Atmel [along with help] to enter the market in the future.”

Interested in learning more about the Maker Movement in China? You can check out our article archive on the subject here.

MIT wants to see your Maker portfolio

MIT’s Admissions Department wants young Makers to share their projects as part of the school’s official application process. According to Dr. Dawn Wendell, Assistant Director of Admissions at MIT, a new Maker Portfolio supplement on the MIT Admissions web site is designed to provide a structured way for students to submit information about their participation in a diverse set of projects.

“As we see students getting more involved in the Maker Movement, we wanted to give them a more formalized opportunity to tell us about that part of their life and why it’s important to them, ” Dr. Wendell told the Makezine blog. “[We want to attract students who] are already solving problems and building, playing and creating, engaging in projects that they love doing. [Although] not all successful students at MIT are makers, MIT is a welcoming place for Makers, or students who want to become Makers.”

As Makezine’s Dale Dougherty notes, MIT’s Maker Portfolio is “big news” for the Maker movement and young makers, in particular.

“It’s a signal that the kinds of learning experiences that are gained through making can be recognized and valued in education, as they should be,” he explained. “It also serves as a reminder that the kind of informal learning that happens outside of school is important, and should be considered alongside achievements in formal education.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the growing Maker Movement can best be described as a “contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture.” Typical interests pursued by Maker culture include engineering-oriented projects such as electronics, Arduino-based robotics, 3D printing with Atmel-powered printers like the MakerBotor, RepRap and the use of CNC tools.

Recently, Will.i.am, the technophile founder of The Black Eyed Peas, offered a ringing endorsement of the Maker Movement and related culture on Facebook.

“Every young person is going to be inspired to be a maker from now on,” said Will.i.am. “It’s like how everyone used to want to be a musician, an actor, an athlete — but a maker is what people are going to want to be.”

Maker camp kicks off on Google+

Dale Dougherty, founder and publisher of MAKE magazine and Maker Faire, officially kicked off Maker Camp 2013 yesterday. The free summer camp for teens – hosted on Google+ – runs for the next six weeks.

Maker Camp is a whole new kind of camp: an online summer camp that is completely free and open to everyone. Maker Camp takes place wherever you are, by letting you do fun activities and share them with others through the Google+ platform. You’ll make cool projects, go on epic virtual ‘field trips’ and meet awesome makers,” Dougherty explained in a blog post.

“This is Maker Camp’s second summer, and the format is similar: Each weekday morning, we’ll post a new project or activity on our Google+ page—30 things to make over six weeks. Each weekday afternoon, tune in to a live Google+ Hangout On Air to meet expert makers who create amazing things. And like last year, our Field Trip Friday Hangouts will take you to new places that few of us get to see.”

According to Dougherty, Maker Camp has added a few items to make this year’s version even better. For example, there’s a new Google+ Community for Maker Camp, along with a network of affiliate camps so Makers can create together in a local library, youth club or designated Maker-space.

“If there’s a campsite near you, you’ll find it on this map,” he continued. “We’ve worked with Google to supply many of these campsites with maker equipment like soldering kits, LEDs and [Atmel-powered] Arduino microcontrollers (good for making robots and other gadgets).”

Most importantly, says Dougherty, Maker Camp hopes to foster the DIY (do-it-yourself) spirit in young people.

“We want each camper to see how much there is that you can do and how much there is to explore all around you. Once you begin doing things, you’ll meet others who share your interests, and you can collaborate to work on projects together,” he added.

“We call that DIT (do-it-together). Google+ is a platform for that kind of collaboration, and it extends to any location and any time zone. And when Maker Camp comes to an end, you’ll have friendships that last beyond summer. What each of us can do is pretty amazing, yet what we can do together is even more amazing. In that spirit, I invite you all to join us at Maker Camp, starting today.”

Interested? You can follow Maker Camp on Google+ here.