It was 1974 when tech pioneer Ted Nelson first asked a nascent industry to hand over “computer power to the people.” A few years later, Commodore founder Jack Tramiel expressed similar sentiments, proclaiming that “we need to build computers for the masses, not the classes.”
As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, empowering individuals and communities is a core value of the international Maker Movement. Makers, with an open source philosophy, affordable technology and “can do” attitude, are truly helping to make the world a better place.
Indeed, medical implants designed with 3D printers (long championed by Makers) are saving lives, while 3D printed prosthetics allow physicians to restore physical capabilities lost in accidents or at birth.
Makers are also active in agriculture to ensure an organic, green and sustainable food supply for us all. To be sure, Atmel-based Arduino boards are currently being used to facilitate a plethora of open source platforms tasked with regulating everything from urban-based aquaponics to rural greenhouses constructed out of recyclable materials.
In addition, Makers are at the forefront of reversing bee colony collapse disorder, with the Atmel-powered (ATmega32U4 MCU) Smart Citizen Kit (SCK) currently monitoring 3D-printed hives around the world.
Unsurprisingly, Makers looking to the future are designing open source home automation platforms to help individuals conserve water and reduce energy consumption by linking various “smart” appliances to the rapidly evolving Internet of Things.
Last, but certainly not least, open source Arduino boards used by Makers across the globe are an important tool for the STEM community (science, technology, education and mathematics), with science and computing teachers in secondary schools and universities choosing the popular platform to teach students the basic principles of programming and computational thinking.
We at Atmel are proud to be at the very heart of the Maker Movement, with microcontrollers that power a wide range of open source platforms and devices, from 3D printers to Arduino boards. For us, Maker Faire is one of the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, resourcefulness and a celebration of DIY culture. Simply put, it’s a place where people of all ages and backgrounds gather together to show what they are making and share what they are learning.
So be sure to drop by the Atmel booth (#205) at Maker Faire Bay Area on May 17th and 18th to meet our star-studded lineup of Makers and presenters, including Mel Li, Trevor Zylstra, Quin Etnyre, Pamungkas Prawisuda Sumasta, Super Awesome Sylvia, Matt Johnson, Bob Martin and Dan Ujvari.
Can’t make it to the Faire? You can follow @Atmel live on Twitter for event updates, or join the conversation by tweeting #AtmelMakes.