I was asked to write a little something about “makers” and how they are relevant to what we do here. A what? The first step was to ask Google “What is a maker” and find out what I had just volunteered for.
A maker, as I quickly found out, is someone who just isn’t happy going to Costco , Walmart, or Target to buy what they need. They seem to have this insatiable need to play with, build, and sometimes invent things. While some can be found peddling their wares on Etsy.com or at bazaars and others happily cooking a new creation in their kitchen, the people more interesting to companies like ours love electronics. Some are technicians, some are engineers, but many are people who want to learn or invent something new.
Have you ever had an idea and thought, “I don’t have the education for that!” or “I can’t afford to do that”? The solution for those problems (and many other) can be found on Amazon.com and similar sites. The electronics makers buy little circuit board computers for as little as $30 (Raspberry PI and Arduino) and can also buy devices that attach to them. These devices can include sensors, cameras, LCDs, and more. There are also open source (free) information and programs that teach people how to write code for these boards. 3-D printers are now also available at a price point that many people can afford. Quick creation of a new little device and something to put it in!
Now, why would Milwaukee Electronics and Screaming Circuits have any interest in people like this? They certainly aren’t likely to spend $5,000 for a bunch of circuit boards. Whether they are students or people with forty years in the electronics industry, they are inventors with ideas. Some companies and universities have great enough interest that they set up what are called “maker spaces”. They provide a place to work with benches and some equipment. Carnegie-Mellon University, Intel, and GE are three of these entities – and all three of them are our customers. They thrive on innovation and new ideas.
The next step beyond the Arduino and Raspberry PI boards are prototype boards we assemble. Did I mention NASA? NASA loves new ideas and we speak to them frequently. The service we provide to customers aids students and inventors to move their projects from an idea to something they can present to professors and companies. We can also move the first prototype into later prototypes and even into production.
CSR – Screaming Circuits