Kids are quick learners and have great imaginations. When pursuing an electronic or hardware project with a kid, the most important thing to keep in mind is: keep things playful. As long as their hands are in gunk and they are taking things apart, or there’s the possibility of blowing something up, kids will stay interested. As soon as the activity starts to seem like work, they switch off.
At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we again had the opportunity to witness how much the ideas behind open source are changing industries outside of software. I say this because open source hardware was much in evidence at this year’s event.
“If you can’t hack it, you don’t own it”
I was surprised to find the laptop was well-received by hackers, given its homebrew appearance, relatively meager specs and high price. The positive response has encouraged us to plan a crowd funding campaign around a substantially simplified (think “all in one PC” with a battery) case design. We think it may be reasonable to kick off the campaign shortly after Chinese New Year, maybe late February or March.
The amount of robotics inventions is steadily on the rise, and the U.S. military is already in on the action. A few years ago, Air Force drones surpassed 1 million combat hours. Hobbyists are using platforms like Arduino to build their own robots, and they’re building them by the thousands. Tesla recently announced its intention to develop and market driverless cars by 2018. Last year, Chris Anderson quit his job as the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine to found and run a robotics company.
Open hardware is gaining speed. The appetite for open source vehicles is growing. And while we may not have flying cars yet, we do have Tabby—an open source car design released by Open Source Vehicle this October.
So I was extremely pleased to be introduced to Jack the (DVD) Ripper, a 3d printed, Raspberry Pi-powered device that pulls a DVD from a stack, drops it into a drive, and, when the drive opens after ripping is finished, picks it up again and puts it in another pile.
Until now, 3D printing has been a polymer affair, with most people in the maker community using the machines to make all manner of plastic consumer goods, from tent stakes to chess sets. A new low-cost 3D printer developed by Joshua Pearce and his team could add hammers to that list.
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