If two companies, one developing software and the other designing physical objects, were to set up a room at Maker Faire, what do you think it would look like? Would you envision a display of all the products their companies have produced. Or would you envision a setup involving a battery and a vibrator glued on top of a toothbrush head? Or could you picture a tall popcorn machine that would drop kernels onto a hot pan based on event outcomes of a video game? If you guessed the last two you truly understand Maker Faire philosophy. And so did the companies Macadamian and Design1st. They wanted to convey in a fun way the path taken to design a product; Imagine, Create, Collaborate. It started with the simple and then showed how an idea (even crazy ones) can eventually become product.
The video above gives you a snapshot of The Tinker Room, part of the very successful Ottawa Mini Maker Faire that happened on Aug 16-17, 2014. We hear the perspective and expectations of both Fred Boulanger; CEO of Macadamian and Kevin Bailey; President of Design 1st. After my interview Kevin told me more about their company. I came to realize that one of the secrets to their success is that they are involved in many different types of products. Through the years they have drawn on these experiences to apply to new projects that could be in different markets. This makes a lot of sense as there are a finite number of scientific laws; gravity, the flow of fluids and air, electronic components, characteristics of solid and liquid matter, etc. Once you understand the physical world you can shift more easily project to project. This makes a strong case for courses and activities for children to develop their inner maker. And in my opinion the strongest characteristic you develop with early industrial arts or maker style education is confidence. Look into the eyes of the kids featured in this video and you will see what I mean.