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What Intel Learned from its New Reality Show for Makers

What Intel Learned from its New Reality Show for Makers
Photo: Intel

Over the past couple of years, Intel has been making itself known in the Maker community, releasing products like the Edison single-board computer, and contests aimed at the DIY electronics market. During his keynote at the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced a new TV show, America’s Greatest Makers, produced by Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, Survivor, The Apprentice). The show will air in the spring of 2016, but first, 20 Makers will be selected to compete for fame and a $1 million prize.

After last year’s successful “Make It Wearable” competition, you must have decided to go bigger. Why?

Actually, the idea for a TV show was spawned by my wife and daughters. One of their favorite shows to watch is Shark Tank. When I came home from last year’s competition, they said our wearables event was as interesting as Shark Tank. “Why don’t you see if you could take the competition to TV,” they suggested.

It started a yearlong effort for us. We wanted everybody to see how the whole making process works, how to build something that becomes a real product. This isn’t something to be afraid of. We hope to get people from all different backgrounds, all different levels of capability, and show that they are all able to come together and build a product.

Curie is Intel’s new button-sized compute module with the Quark System-on-Chip, Bluetooth radio, and a six-axis sensor.

What did you learn from last year’s competition?

We learned a lot on the product side. It was a bit more difficult than we wanted for people to build with Edison. We are targeting Curie [Intel’s new button-sized compute module with the Quark System-on-Chip, Bluetooth radio, and a six-axis sensor] for this competition, and we’re really making sure all the software is ready. This platform will be much more robust.

We’ve improved Edison quite a bit between when it first came out and now. We’ve tried to take all that learning and carry it forward into Curie.

Intel curie front and back

Makers won’t know much about Curie before submitting their concepts.

I don’t think in six weeks anybody could build something for the competition. We’ve asked people to submit a concept in written form, along with a video. That concept could be mocked up in paper or cardboard or whatever. The whole idea is to describe what they want to build and bring to market. Then we’ll pick the 20 best.

This program looks to showcase innovation, and Makers as creators of innovation. How can we get more innovators to take advantage of the opportunities that technology is giving us?

Part of what we want to show is how the process works. This isn’t something to be afraid of. We hope to get people from all different backgrounds, all different levels of capability and show that they are all able to come together and build a product.

Are there things that you learned from Mark Burnett in talking over this project?

What I’ve learned is that putting out a TV show is not that much different than building a product. It’s going to be a mixture of linear TV and digital episodes that update how the team is progressing in between the broadcasts.

You yourself are a Maker. People who work with you tell me that you talk about more than electronics, that you enjoy woodworking and welding. But this isn’t just about your own interest. There’s got to be a good strategic fit for Intel.

Well, there is. We want Intel to be an invention hub, whether you’re building a server to power a big data application or the most low-end device with Curie. However, if we were to try to predict what people would do with new technology, we’d miss out on maybe half, or more, of the best ideas. So this kind of competition can help us see where things could go and what people want to have made. We can learn a lot. It pushes us into new areas and gets us into new partnerships.

For example, we originally built the RealSense camera so that you could step away from your PC and control the screen. Nobody who created RealSense thought we’d be using it on the top of drones to fly them autonomously through a forest. It wasn’t until a bunch of people were goofing off, and they started saying, “I’d sure like to be able to fly this drone in follow-me mode and not have to worry about all the trees while I mountain bike.” So it’s not until you create things and unleash them do you see what the possibilities are.

[Editor’s note: A version of this article was published in Make: Volume 47 which states that 32 Maker teams would compete. That number has been corrected above.]

4 thoughts on “What Intel Learned from its New Reality Show for Makers

  1. Wolf Richter says:

    This is INTEL’s second “cry-for-help”! After Brian Krzanich’s 2014 CES keynote, INTEL’s share value got skyrocket – now it’s almost “back to normal”. Instead of focusing on new “generic IoT” devices, which would bring INTEL clear in front of ARM and the MIPS leftovers, Brian declared “me-too” to INTEL’s public answer – and want to bring America’s “Shark-Tank” lovers on his side. The microprocessor was the thing that made America superior, and it was INTEL’s microprocessor. INTEL is still 10 times bigger than the next competitor, but surely not when it comes to IoT. I don’t see a future for INTEL in smart watches or “shakers” (those little WiFi-MEMS-buttons, one can apply on any item). The future are battery-free co-processors on nano scale. Go ahead Brian, go in the tank yourself!

    1. Wendy Smith says:

      WORK AT HOME::Eran$97/HOUR…I just purchased themselves a McLaren F1 when I got my check for $19993 this past 4 weeks and just over 17 thousand lass month . this is really the nicest-work Ive had . I began this 10-months ago and straight away started making more than $97… p/h .learn the facts here now .
      ➤➤➤➤ http://GoogleCyberTechHomeJobsEmploymentDaily/get/chance/top…. ✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱

    2. Robert Hill says:

      Battery-free coprocessors on nanoscale. What does this even mean? The transistors? The whole chip is nanoscale? As in 100 nm? At a 1/10th the diameter of a human hair does it really matter if it is nanoscale or microscale? Either way, your going to need *much larger* electrical leads if you are going to let Maker’s use it. Does 1/10 the size mean with equal processing power? Or efficiency? Or reliability? Or capability?
      As to energy, you need energy from somewhere. Collecting it from Wi-Fi, thermal gradients, or mechanically. There is no free lunch; energy has to come from somewhere. Until proven technology is in place to make them battery free, one needs an intermediate solution. The apple watches don’t run on love and I am sure Elon Musk would love battery free-cars, but he is going to do his best to produce something useful in interim. I would expect Intel, ARM, or MIPS to be no different. If you want to comment on stock price that is fine, but if you want to comment on technology, you should be more precise-especially if you are going to be critical.

      1. Wolf Richter says:

        Thank you for the kind advise, Robert. Just watch the short clip, and your questions are answered: <– a tiny intro into
        battery-free sensing

        Have an epic Thanksgiving!

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

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