Home-made devices and digital cottage industries driving the economy of the New World? It’s not such a crazy idea. Just think of how the industrial revolution started.
The ‘Maker’ movement – brought to life in futurist Cory Doctorow’s 2009 novel ‘Makers’ – has moved from the hobbyist realm to become a full-stream economic activity, with millions of devotees all over the world creating remarkable new products.
Much of it is driven by the dramatic advances in 3D printing, which, coupled with open-source digital design, has spawned radical new innovations in everything from home appliances to medical equipment to industrial machinery.
In just a few years, the Maker movement has moved from the kitchen and the garage to become mainstream.
Mass customization is the new name of the game, with products being eagerly snapped up by everyone from individuals to large corporations. Now you can have the device you wanted, exactly to your specifications – right down to colour and shape!
Maker Fairs began as hobbyist events where devotees could share ideas and products. Then the business world started paying serious attention to the new streams of product and design. Now thousands of outlets are offering customized Maker products, completely changing the world of manufacture.
Said Wolfgang Grulke, founder of FutureWorld: “I noted in my 2007 keynote ‘Life 2.0’ that we were moving from the Big and the Simple to the Small and Complex; I was talking about bio- and nanotech, but this is the same thing happening in a different format. The future always finds us, even if it’s not precisely how we expect it!”