Since 2005, we have seen the development of a new movement that unites people with different backgrounds who share the interest in learning technical skills and their creative application in order to create objects or invent innovative solutions to make better everyday life .
This is a cultural phenomenon that has spread throughout the last decade for a natural evolution of media (such as the Internet) where the experimentation and resolution of problems it is no more a personal matter, but something extended to a collaborating community, in order to find the best solution to adopt.
Information travels fast and technologies are developing more and more, changing the rules, in fact, open-source, crowdsourcing and big data are tools that twist how a product is processed, designed and monitored; If we think of what is happening for quick prototyping and intelligent production with 3D printers, we can have a clear idea of this change that is “slowly” involving everyone.
To all of this, we also have to add the spread of projects and technologies such as Arduino, open hardware and FabLab (or digital manufacturing workshops), one of the most common types of space devoted to “doing” together (next to hackerspace and Techshop in America).
There are many FabLabs in the world, from America to South Africa, from Afghanistan to India, to New Zealand.
The first FabLab was installed ten years ago at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) but we had to wait almost a decade to see the first Italian FabLab, FabLab Italia in Turin.
Now our scenario is interesting and growing, just think of free clothing brands such as OpenWear and PlayWood with its open-design furniture, high-end wearable high performance Plugandwear technologies and D-Shape‘s concrete printing experiments.
Thanks to the World Wide Rome event, which took place at the beginning of March, finally the existence of a maker’s movement has been recognized on Italian soil, but it is still too early to make the hypothesis about the support that the movement will really get.
What has actually happened in the last two years, however, is that projects like the ones mentioned above have begun to connect and discover each other, forming a true community, united and linked with particular attention to the use of digital productive technologies, work method, and shared design.
PlayWood, for example, produce modular furniture through a growing network of maker all over the Europe, these makers have numerical calculating machines to cut panels of any material, which will be used to make finished furniture. Open-source design projects, allow anyone in the world to make their own furniture locally without any shipping costs.
Digital, by now everyone understandings, is not just about the real digital world, that is, the sites and applications for example; But it has also entered the world of physical objects and in a sense it guides it, making us understand that today we do not need to ask anyone permission to invent something new.
Makers are people who hack hardware, business-models, and living arrangements to discover ways of staying alive and happy even when the economy is falling down the toilet.