17 October 2013

"Making It in Memphis" my 3rd Flyer cover story: Local emergence of the DIY/tech/inventors Maker Movement

Making It in Memphis
Claudio and his quadcopter, built from parts
he made on a 3D printer, which was made from
parts printed on yet another 3D printer.
The would-be burglar counts himself lucky that he saw an interior light switch on and immediately spotted your shadow moving across the window curtain, giving him time to flee.

... not that anyone was home.
The burglar is frightened away by a cheap motion-detector you plugged into a hobby microcontroller that turned on the electric motor that slowly waved a plastic fin in front of a lamp.

No, it's not that scene from Home Alone but a practical example of the many kinds of devices people can hack together with like-minded tinkerers thanks to the "maker movement" — inventors, hackers, and artists forming local groups around the world — that is now also emerging in Memphis.

"It's a gym for geeks," said Brett Henley of the +MidsouthMakers [their site], describing the three-year-old group's community workshop (or "maker space") tucked away in the light-industrial south end of Bartlett's historic district. The facility is bristling with tools and technology ranging from a glass kiln to a sandblasting booth to cutting-edge 3D printers that Henley's colleagues built from parts they made on other 3D printers. more

UPDATE: The week after this was published, the national Hacker Scouts organization announced that its new name is "Curiosity Hacked." The group yielded to cease and desist orders from the Boy Scouts of America, which even fought the Girl Scouts over the use of the S-word back in the 1920s.

Groups or sites mentioned in this article:

My second Flyer cover story, "Up on a Crippled Creek: A firsthand look at Memphis’ most ravaged urban waterway — Nonconnah Creek." April 21, 2011.
PDF of my first Flyer cover story: "River Rat: John Ruskey brings adventure tourism to the Mississippi River" December 7, 2000. (It's no longer on the Flyer site.)

1 comment:

  1. You can learn a lot more about the radio-controlled quadcopters the Midsouth Makers have built, using 3D printers here: http://www.midsouthmakers.org/2013/04/building-3d-printed-quadcopters-for-fun-and-chaos/