India’s Maker Movement Honors the Sweet Spot Where Tradition and Technology Intersect

Maker News
India’s Maker Movement Honors the Sweet Spot Where Tradition and Technology Intersect

Sometime around 4,000 BCE, humans settled the area that is now the sprawling metropolis of Bangalore, India, officially known as Bengaluru. It’s safe to say that people have been making things—tools, furniture, art, architecture, jewelry, temples, wares, and so on—since they first set foot on Bengaluru soil. The city and metropolitan area are now home to roughly 17 million people and a burgeoning community of makers seamlessly blending the ancient and the futuristic. And for the third year in a row, the community converges at Maker Faire Bengaluru, taking place this year on November 17 and 18 at the Bengaluru Palace.

The event is organized by makerspace and maker facilitator Workbench Projects, and for 2017, the organizing team has upscaled to a full-sized featured Faire with state support and co-located it with the annual Bangalore Technology Summit, presented by the Government of Karnataka’s Departments of Information Technology and Biotechnology.

Maker Faire Bengaluru producer and Workbench Projects cofounder offers insight into the growth of the Faire and what to expect this year:

The last two editions in Bangalore were produced with limited bandwidth as an independent organization gathering the community to support the Movement. However, the editions have shown incremental growth. This year, the state government of Karnataka  coming in to support with infrastructure cost in the most prestigious site (Bangalore Palace) was an offer that one could not have turned down. Of course, the Faire has a more concerted effort to reach remote parts of the state to ensure hidden makers and talents are brought to light. Hence, leveling up was the next logical step.

The number of maker exhibitors this year has increased twofold (100+). Secondly, its a two-day spread of programming different kinds of engagements. The variety in the workshops is what I would say is most different.

We see that from Arduino and breadboard-based projects, people have moved to showcasing more mechanically enabled projects. Independent science-based educational organizations are promising early learner engagements. there is also more participation from senior citizens by way of project submission, which indicates more skill-based projects.

There’s a great description of India’s Maker Movement on the Maker Faire Bengaluru site:

India has, over the last decade, seen a phenomenal outburst of makers mushrooming across the country. The community has been growing as a “voluntary movement,” however it has garnered support from institutions, independent organizations, corporates, and the government, who understand the value and help build a strong ecosystem for its sustenance.

One that started out as love for exploring varied topics of interest, materials, learning new skills, “making became the quintessential trait for progressive and disruptive innovators. This has been the global trend. However, India is paving its own way and pace given the challenges and scale.

The bright side of it all is that maker patrons understand that “making” in the past was the order of the day in India, where a strong history of artisans to scientists have been contributing to the maker culture. It is now that we have woken up to these terminologies and evolving with trending technologies to innovate for the future. It is becoming more and more important and relevant for agencies such as makerspaces and alike to play interlocutors to advocate a hybrid model in mind, combining traditional techniques and modern making. This way the movement is encouraged to stay grounded and sustainable.

Projects and Workshops of Bengaluru

Maker Faire Bengaluru is free to attend, and you can register online in advance for a ticket. There’s an impressive lineup of workshops scheduled and a diverse array of exhibiting makers. Please note that because most of the makers are coming from modest rural backgrounds, they don’t all necessary have an online presence we can point to. In addition to the projects and makers called out below, here are a few that offer interesting solutions to real-world problems:

Bamboo Spotter Bicycles from Belgavi: Every product is handcrafted and meticulously designed to make it as efficient and stylish as any other similar products made of steel. Bamboo absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, helping you minimize carbon footprint and reduce the threat of global warming. Selected species of bamboo are used, so bikes are sturdy, termite-resistant, waterproof, and long-lasting.

Autonomous Fire Extinguisher: With this ball-shaped fire extinguisher, you simply throw it into a fire, and it will activate within 3 seconds and effectively disperse extinguishing chemicals. When a fire occurs and no one is present, Fire Extinguishing Ball will self-activate when it comes into contact with fire and give a loud noise as a fire alarm.

Remote-Controlled Pesticide Sprayer and Drone Sprayer: With both a drone model and a push-cart-type chassis model, students from the College of Agricultural Engineering, University of Agricultural Sciences in Raichur have devised these so that farmers can avoid exposure to the harmful effects of pesticides.

Here is a sampling of the many projects and workshops you can interact with this weekend at Maker Faire Bengaluru.

Digital Twins: Virtual Mechatronics with Modelica

This project demonstrates the applications of digital twins — virtual representations of physical systems — using Modelica for a six-axis pick-and-place robot and a self-balancing Lego bot.

Portable Biosphere

This installation serves as a temporary biology museum that demonstrates biohacking, biotechnologies, technobiology, and biomimicry in its portable lab for conducting biological experiments.

7-String Laser Guitar

The 7-string laser guitar was built using LDR modules and keys and a laser module, which generates musical tones  tuned and obtained using a 8051 microcontroller.

Nature Toys Made of Coconut Leaves

Fr. Mathews, now 80 years old, grew up in rural Keral in an extended family with many kids. The kids didn’t have readymade toys, and so they invented toys with what they found around them, coconut leaves being one of the main design materials.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

This autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) travels underwater without any input from the operator and can go down to a 50-meter depth and run continuously for an hour in water. If the UAV experiences any malfunction, it’ll float back up automatically.

Space Sand Art

Space Sand Art is an abstract project that was conceptualized at the Sparth Hackathon by Pranjal Jain and Gautham Nayak. The goal is to try to project the different moods of the astronauts while they’re in space. Astronauts can play around and see the different pattern being formed.

Banaao Workshop: Tinkering with Paper Circuits

At the intersection of art and technology is paper circuits, which enable us to embed electronics into simple things around us and make them interactive. Learn how!

GenWise Workshop: Unusual Balancing

This activity is about designing and making models or toys that balance in an unusual way on the edge of a table, on a small platform, or on a length of short tightrope. Raw materials used will be duplex boards, cardboard, paper, plasticine clay, and glue.

Tinkerama Workshop: Make an Arduino Theremin


Make a fun musical instrument with an Arduino in Tinkerama‘s exciting beginner workshop. Learn about electronics and programming by making!

Sculpt Monkey Design Studio Workshop: Miniature Clay Face Masks

Sculpt Monkey Design Studio will teach you how to make your own miniature face mask in earthenware clay using a mold and basic sculpting. What character will you make? Come and explore your creative side!

Plus: Hyperloop India Team



Founded in 2015 by a small group of students from BITS Pilani, Team Hyperloop India is a unique multi-disciplinary multi-university think tank consisting of 60+ motivated student volunteers in the fields of engineering and business, interested in reinventing transportation in India. As a primarily student collaboration, their plan is to leverage their performance in global incentive prize competitions to leapfrog transportation in India.

Having been one of the 24 teams shortlisted among 1,200 applications worldwide to build a scaled-down version of the pod to be tested at SpaceX facility in Hawthorne, LA, their pod was recognized for its compact electronics, scalability, and feasibility in design. This pod was built over three months at Workbench Projects with support from the extended community (from skilled artists to industrial manufacturers). Today, Virgin Hyperloop One is in conversation with the team and state to formalize the pre-feasibility study at the Bengaluru Technology Summit.

For all the information you need to attend, check out the Maker Faire Bengaluru site! 






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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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