What is it?
The opening lines of the Wikipedia article about ‘Maker Culture’ (at the time of writing of course) are a pretty good description of the ‘Maker Movement’. They say:
“The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses new and unique applications of technologies, and encourages invention and prototyping. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them creatively.”
How did it start?
Maker Faire describe the early days in an article about the movement in which they suggest that the launch in 2005 of Make Magazine “provided the catalyst for a tech-influenced DIY community that has come to be identified as the Maker Movement.”
On the electronics and computing side of the movement there is no doubt that both the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi have given it a massive shot in the arm. Making sophisticated open source embedded computing platforms easily available with pricing that anyone can afford and massive community support is surely the most likely way to enthuse both young and old alike about the endless and fascinating possibilities for such devices. The number of well documented fun projects available for the technical tinkerer are endless. For me these particular bits of open hardware and software have been key to rekindling my own passion for making things.
Is there a Maker Faire in the UK?
Yup. Actually there is one in Brighton on 7th and 8th September!