Last week the editor of WIRED USA, Chris Anderson, spoke at an IntelligenceSquared event in London. Chris has been writing influential books about internet communities and making for a while now, and we went along to hear what he had to say about the Maker revolution so we could share it with you :)
Chris told a story about his grandfather that shows how quickly manufacturing has changed. Back in 1940, his grandfather invented a timed lawn sprinkler to suit the Californian climate. He filed a patent for it in 1943; it then took 7 years for it to reach market.
Move forward two generations, and things are different - thanks to open source software, 3D print prototyping and Kickstarter, Chris was able to reinvent the sprinkler, add in greater user control and a weather gauge system, and launch it - all within a few months and a budget of a few thousand dollars.
It's great to see the kind of story that is familiar to makers being shared with a more mainstream audience, and we love the sense of possibility that is growing around the movement as a result. According to Chris, the 'killer apps' for many new technologies, such as 3D printing, have yet to be discovered. Luckily, the power of crowdsourcing lies in numbers - so bringing niche concepts to wider communities will only amplify what makes making great :)
There's a killer app out there, waiting to be discovered - so let's spread the word!