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“If you wait, and you wake up, and you’re a 1,500-person company, and you look around, and you’re like ‘Whoa, we don’t have any women,’ it’s very hard to fix it now.” – Diversity Consultant Judith Williams
Open Explorer Re-Launches
David Lang (@davidtlang), the co-founder of OpenROV (@OpenROV) and author of Make:’s “Zero to Maker,” has re-launched his Open Explorer project in collaboration with National Geographic. The goal: to do for science what the internet did for movies, music, and journalism by opening up access, creating new collaborative tools and fostering a new sense of inclusion and wonder around the scientific process.
It’s an ambitious project that’s shot through with maker pro values of democratization, bootstrapping, and collaboration. In practice, Open Explorer will take the form of a “digital field journal” — a site for citizen scientists to start projects, learn, and work with others.
“There’s a hard line around good science — peer reviewed, hypothesis-driven, well-documented,” Lang wrote with Open Explorer manager Madeleine Foote. “Exploration can serve as a wider rallying cry — celebrating curiosity in all its forms and building a wider on-ramp. The goal is not to lower the bar of scientific contribution, but to lower the barriers.”
You can access the new Open Explorer project here.
New Dev Boards at World Maker Faire
Development boards are a backbone of hardware prototyping — and many are built on the open source hardware and software movements as well. Make: Senior Editor Caleb Kraft (@calebkraft) has a sneak preview of the dev boards you’ll be able to see at Maker Faire Bay Area (@makerfaire).
A talk by BeagleBoard (@beagleboardorg) will delve into the capabilities of Revolve, a 3D printer controller built on the group’s eponymous board that enthusiasts believe has great potential. Ichigo Jam will be there as well, showing off their kids-oriented game-making system. Carloop (@carloopio) will bring back its system which lets you connect a Particle (@particle) board to your automobile’s internal diagnostics system. And MOVI will show off its open source voice recognition system for makers who want to hack together a DIY smart home.
(If you don’t have tickets to Maker Faire yet, you can get them here.)
India: A Hardware Ecosystem in Flux
A new feature by NDTV looks at the startups navigating India’s rapidly growing hardware ecosystem, where large players including Intel (@intel) and Amazon (@amazon) are working with local entrepreneurs to foster the type of dynamic interplay between entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and distribution platforms that’s turned China into a global hardware powerhouse.
A consistent theme: ecommerce platforms that make it easy for entrepreneurs to onboard new products and connect with potential customers removes an enormous logistical headache for early-stage companies.
“A big company already has their distribution channels, their marketing plans, all of that in place, but for a small company like ours, you have to focus on getting the product right,” said Bharath Mohan (@bharath_mohan), the CEO of smart home startup Sensara. “We’re trying to make something new that hasn’t been done before and all our resources are focused on making the best possible product.”
The Maker Pros of Sachsen
Make: correspondent Goli Mohammadi (@snowgoli) reported on the wide variety of participants at last weekend’s Maker Faire Sachsen (@makerfairesax) — as well as a grab bag of entrepreneurs who showcased a buzzing German-speaking maker pro community.
There was educational programming blocks system Brick’R’Knowledge (@BrickRknowledge), as well as visual artist Roswitha Peterson, who uses old circuit boards to create resplendent jewelry under the moniker Circuit Accessories. Also on site was ultra-simple robotics kit Variobot (@VARIOBOT) and bespoke lighting outfit CoBo Lights.
Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web
A detailed and sympathetic feature story explores why One Laptop Per Child (@OLPC), the hand-cranked open source computing system that was supposed to revolutionize education around the world a decade ago, never really took off.
A new roundup by Built in Los Angeles (@BuiltInLA) looks at the city’s vibrant hardware ecosystem, from Flo Technologies, which builds tools to monitor water usage, to Local Roots Farms (@LocalRootsFarms), which is working on a software and hardware system to greatly increase the productivity of agricultural projects.
A worthwhile essay by Make: correspondent Liam Grace-Flood explores the broad range of motivations for making — and whether there’s any one idea common to all makers.
It’s never too early for a startup to start working on diversity, according to experts. “If you wait, and you wake up, and you’re a 1,500-person company, and you look around, and you’re like ‘Whoa, we don’t have any women,’ it’s very hard to fix it now,” said Judith Williams, a diversity consultant.
3D printing trailblazer MakerBot (@makerbot) has launched a new educator certification program aimed at teachers who want to integrate fabrication technologies into their classrooms. Make: Digital Fabrication Editor Matt Stultz (@MattStultz) reports.