This is something I’ve thought about from time to time the last few years. It’s also something that just keeps getting more and more exciting; amazing if you will! The “Maker culture” has been around for some time, but we’re currently in a renaissance of sorts. It’s really never been easier for DIY’ers / Makers to to take off-the-shelf components and make some amazing projects that just weren’t affordable to do just 10 or 20 years ago.
The maker space that stand out the most to me are the various projects people are making and sharing in Electronics or Computer Engineering. You can get cheap, commodity hardware and make your own computers, robots, Internet of Things sensors, and much, much more. In the past you needed deep understanding of electrical and computer engineering to do this stuff, and today it’s a whole new world.
This Electronics Maker Renaissance is breeding whole new generations of makers for the digital century; the 21st century. People like Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, and companies like Apple and Microsoft were there at the creation of the digital age and the Personal Computer Revolution. Today, we are building on the shoulders of these giants, and your niece, nephew, son, daughter, or neighbor could really be the next Steve Jobs; the next Bill Gates!
Stepping back and thinking about some of my ideas and predictions from a few years ago, I’ve realized how much things have changed and how different the state of maker hardware is today compared to just a few years ago.
2005: I’d like to build a computer for in my car with touch screen; man this stuff is expensive and commodity hardware isn’t well suited for the use case.
2011: Smartphones are really taking off. I wonder if a smartphone could be used to build other “smart” devices or even be used in low power parallel computing clusters? Specifically the ARM processor.
2012: Raspberry Pi is released. Well, I guess I was on to something with the thought about Smartphones and their ARM processors.
2015: Raspberry Pi 2 is released with support for Windows 10 support (intriguing to me as a Microsoft developer in my day job!) It’s been awhile since I looked into building a computer in my car. Wow, there’s a ton of relatively cheap hardware available! It can now be done for a couple hundred dollars or less; instead of $1,000 or more.
P.S. I know I skipped over a tone of detail with the above timeline, but you get the point.
It’s truly an exciting time, and we’re really just in the beginning of it all!
I wonder what 2016 and beyond will bring!