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“Most people, and most makers, want to solve a problem.” – Alasdair Allan

Maker Pro Stories: Rock Band Edition

We’re constantly amazed by the variety of maker pros who use their craftsmanship and ingenuity to build or further their careers.

For evidence of that diversity, look no further than Make: contributor Lisa Martin’s terrific profile of psychedelic rock band The Lights Out (@thelightsout). The band’s drummer, Jesse James Salucci (@creativeoutlaw), is a talented maker who uses his fabrication skills to create lush, multi-sensory performance displays for the band that range from outrageous DIY light shows to music video graphics and even a beer made in collaboration with Aeronaut Brewing (@AeronautBrewing).

“We saw indie bands putting significant thought into their music, but not as much into visually engaging their audience,” Salucci said. “People at shows were staring at their cell phones.”

Speaking of maker stories, Make: launched a new community this week called Maker Share (@MakerShare_) — a “show and tell” hub for makers of all stripes who want to network and share their projects. One of the most exciting things about the maker pro scene is the way that a just-for-fun project can mutate into a thriving business, and we’re excited to see that dynamic play out on this new platform. Check out Maker Share and join the community gathering there.

Maker-Share

Industry Insights

Earlier this month, Clear Design Lab (@ClearDesignLab) co-founder Andrew Edman (@Andrew_Edman) attended MIT’s The Digital Factory event, which spotlighted trends and technologies with the potential to disrupt the manufacturing industry. This week, he followed up with a thoughtful reflection on what those changes could mean for the future of manufacturing — and why many factories have been slow to implement them.

Storied tech accelerator Y Combinator (@ycombinator) continues to support hardware startups and this week, it hired Pebble (@Pebble) founder Eric Migicovsky (@ericmigi) as a visiting partner who will help support the company’s hardware lineup.

Accelerator HAX (@hax_co), which has played a foundational role in connecting hardware startups with advanced manufacturing resources in China, delivered its annual report last week. It presented buoyant future for the incubator, with an annual revenue of nearly $500 million and a roster including the breakout smartwatch maker Joy (@JOYfamilytech).

Dev Boards Are in Flux

In another terrific item from Make: Volume 57, Alasdair Allan (@aallan) examines the past and future of development boards and finds a market in transition as the price of new boards continues to fall to previously inconceivable lows. There’s a tension, he argues, between providing cheap computing power and attempting to differentiate by offering bloated suites of functionality.

A helping hands holding a Raspberry Pi, a CHIP, and a magnifier on an ESP8266

“Most people, and most makers, want to solve a problem,” Allan wrote. “While, for some, the specifications of the board really matter, those people are by far the minority.”

How can a company selling a new dev board stand out in the crowd? We love reader mail, so email us at [email protected].

Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web

Self-driving tech startup Drive.ai (@driveai_) snagged $50 million in funding this week to continue development on its retrofit kit that aims to turn older cars into autonomous vehicles.

Registrations are now open for Tormach Tech Days, a two-day extravaganza of CNC mills and lathes on August 4–5 that’s slated to feature talent including The Hacksmith (@the_hacksmith) and Battlebots (@BattleBots) contender Ray Billings.

Electronics designer Jonathan Foote (@rrmutt) visited SupplyFrame’s (@Supplyframe) San Francisco offices to deliver a wide-ranging presentation that touched on everything from a robot that operates on swollen prostates to kinetic sculptures to other projects he’s dealt with during his eclectic career. You can watch the full presentation here.

Make: Senior Editor Caleb Kraft (@calebkraft) published a paean this week to Circuito.io (@circuitoio), an online drag-and-drop interface for designing and organizing electronics projects.

Chiara Cecchini (@ClaireCecchini) profiled two new food startups this week on the Make: blog: Green Pea Cookie (@greenpeacookie), a crunchy snack made from roasted peas, and Secret Scoop (@SecretScoopSF), which is using food science to create healthier gelatos and sorbets.