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MAKE magazine is excited to announce the first annual MAKE Magazine Industry Maker Awards, AKA “The Makeys.” Over the course of the next 18 weeks, leading up to an award ceremony at Maker Faire New York 2011 (to be webcast live from New York City), MAKE will nominate (and publish online profiles of) 16 companies that have shown outstanding support for independent maker/hacker culture. Four companies/products will be chosen in four categories. The categories are:

  • Most Repair Friendly
  • Most Hackable Gadget
  • Best Product Documentation
  • Best Education/Outreach Program

Winners in each category will be determined by open polling of the MAKE readership at makezine.com.
Each year, the design of the physical award will be selected by open contest. The first year this will be done in collaboration with Thingiverse.com (the 3D object sharing site), and manufactured by MakerBot Industries (3D printer manufactures).

As part of the program launch, the “Mitch Altman Maker Hero” award is also being announced, to be presented to individuals in the “do it yourself” (DIY) and “do it with others” (DIWO) community who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of maker-related education and/or open access to technology. The first award will be presented to Mitch Altman himself for his tireless work in building collaborative “hackerspaces” around the world and in teaching people the joys of hobby electronics and collaborative technologies.

The Makeys will be announced on the Maker Faire Bay Area episode of Make: Live, webcasting from the pre-show kick-off party on Friday, May 20th at 6pm PDT/9pm EDT. Maker Faire, celebrating its tenth event this year, is the world’s largest DIY festival. As the DIY/DIWO movement grows, mainstream companies are starting to take makers more seriously as a market segment. MAKE hopes that profiling and celebrating companies that are “getting it,” and giving four of them awards of appreciation, will help fuel their adoption of more open, accessible, user-friendly, and modifiable technology products.

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