Maker movement currently alive and well in Asia

Maker Faire Robots

The South China Morning Post published an interesting article today on the burgeoning maker movement in Hong Kong. In it, author Charley Lanyon writes about HackJam, a weekly do-it-yourselfer meetup in Hong Kong that got its start two years ago when its founder noticed a dearth of communal workspaces compared to the West. It’s one signal that the movement, whose rise can be tracked by the rapid spread of hackerspaces like HackJam, has extended its global influence to Asia.

Later this summer, Hong Kong will host its second “Mini Maker Faire,” one of many independently produced spin-offs of the larger Maker Faire gatherings hosted by Make magazine. (The above photo comes from last month’s 8th Annual Maker Faire Bay Area, the original event, which reported more than 120,000 attendees this year.) These events celebrate the idea of making things yourself and are designed to be forward-looking, but they aren’t limited to displays of robotics — arts, crafts, science and engineering co-mingle freely at the festivals. However, robotics has become one of the most exciting aspects of every Maker Faire, especially in an age when a good prototype can quickly become a real product with the help of crowdfunding.

Asia boasts Mini Maker Faires in Shenzhen, Taiwan and Seoul as well as a larger Tokyo event produced in coordination with the official Maker Faire organization. Shenzhen in particular has become something of a hotbed for makers, the Morning Post notes, thanks to the local electronics markets. It was also the site of China’s first Maker Faire back in April 2012.

Make magazine maintains a list of active maker groups and Maker Faire publishes a map of Maker Faires around the world, which together give a pretty good sense of the increasingly global nature of the maker ethos. They’re also a good resource to track the growth of the movement, which looks poised to expand further in the coming months and years.

Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired and perhaps the most visible evangelist for DIY culture, subtitled his recent book on makers “The New Industrial Revolution.” If that turns out to be accurate, early signs are that robotics will be at the center of this disruptive new approach to manufacturing and design.

UPDATE: Sabrina Merlo points out at blog.makezine.com that Singapore will also host a Mini Maker Faire on July 27-28. No doubt the list of Asian cities hosting similar events will only continue to grow.

[ photo courtesy of Maker Faire ]

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