Name: Emily Coker
City: Oakland, California
Makerspace: Her garage/house or work
Day Job: Workshop Technician at Google X
Robotics : Electronics : Machining : Textiles : Jill of All Trades
What’s your maker journey been like? I’ve been in the maker community for over 5 years from curating and running art shows to working at TechShop, Make: and now Google X. I’ve spent most of my time inspiring other makers and teaching new makers through interactive hands-on learning. No two days are alike in my corner of the world. One day I’ll be machining parts and 3D printing, and the next, hand stitching books and building robots. I have a passion and insatiable appetite for learning, especially in all areas of a shop/makerspace. I thrive when challenges arise. That comes with being a generalist — iterating, problem solving, and just getting down and dirty with projects.
What’s your favorite thing to learn about? Studying bionics, robotics, AI, and nanotechnology is a guilty pleasure of mine. I love that “Skynet” stuff even if it scares me in a good way. It’s deeply touching and satisfying to see the latest technology change our lives medically and beyond.
What are some projects you’ve worked on recently? Most of my latest projects have been for Make it Glow, published by Make:, and available by early next month. The book showcases entry level light-up electronic projects that are ultra creative and fun for everyone. I think it’s important to be creative while learning, especially with electronics, since many people seem overwhelmed by it. Anyone can do it! If I can do it, so can you.
Besides writing books, I also handmake journals bound in vinyl records. If you’re in the Bay Area you can pick them up at 1234 Go Records.
Another recent job was with Best Reviews to build a test rig for hair dryers. The challenge was to collect data on each hairdryer’s effectiveness in drying hair with a set time allotted. I came up with a motorized mannequin head with a wig that oscillated while the dryer moves on a vertical slide rail. With extensive testing we were able to collect a massive amount of various data from heat signatures, amperage and of course moisture weight.
Who should we spotlight next? I know so many amazing makers. Lara Edge is the co-owner of Sheet Metal Alchemist and she has really valuable knowledge about the business side of making as well as hands-on, large-scale applications. Also Alex Glow because she is amazing with electronics and is the hacker advocate for Hackster.io. She has experience working with start ups and more.
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