Brian Jepson says the Maker movement is a lot about reclaiming and repurposing existing technology. “If there’s a technological revolution happening, and if you’re not in control of it — then you’re just a customer,” he says.
But the Maker movement also places a priority on education. Locals can get training and find lots of Maker-level equipment at AS220’s Labs, the mission of which is partly, “to provide democratic access to the tools of technology, through open hardware and software.” Shawn Wallace, the industries director at AS220 partnering with Jepson to run the Faire, will be demo-ing some of the Lab’s equipment, including a laser cutter, a milling machine for putting together circuit boards, and something called a vacuum former, which creates masks in plastic using a vacuum.
Spend enough time talking with these folks, and you get the sense that, for all its focus on new technology, the Maker movement is as much about the sharing of ideas as it is about the ideas themselves. Ware notes that there’s much more crossover between technological disciplines than there was when he was younger, when kids were interested in, say, ham radio or woodworking, with no desire to overlap.
Now, he says, Makers are much more likely to try their hand at something with which they’re not familiar. And as a result, their ranks seem to be growing — there were more than 100 Maker Faires worldwide, last year.
The RI Mini Maker Faire will be take place Saturday, October 11 from 11 am-6 pm at the Hasbro Building (1 Hasbro Place), Adrian Hall Way (between Fountain and Washington streets, behind Trinity Rep), and AS220 (115 Empire Street) in downtown Providence. Tickets are $7 for adults ($9 on the day of the Faire), $3 for youth 15 and under, and $16.68 for a family pass. More info at makerfaireri.com.