Yesterday President Obama hosted the first ever Maker Faire at the White House. The event featured more than 30 DIY inventions, including a robotic giraffe and a low-cost newborn incubator. The President announced several initiatives during the event intended to help support and educate American makers. He also named July 18th a National Day of Making.
###“Our parents and our grandparents created the world’s largest economy and strongest middle class not by buying stuff, but by building stuff — by making stuff, by tinkering and inventing and building; by making and selling things first in a growing national market and then in an international market — stuff “Made in America.” — President Barack Obama
Considered to be the nation’s biggest show and tell, the White House Maker Faire is bringing together everyone from elementary and high school students to Etsy superstars to successful startup owners. The faire isn’t just about having a creative business plan. It’s more about encouraging the act of making things yourself, whether as a part time hobby or as a professional career.
“When we Make things, we learn to gain control over tools and materials,” said Maker Media CEO Dale Dougherty in a interview with the White House. “Makers are using new tools and technologies that are democratizing production. With better tools, more people can make things because it is easier to take an idea and develop it into a physical thing.”
The White House Maker Faire is essentially the national realization of the “Makers Movement” which started with the launch of Make Magazine in 2005, followed by the first ever Maker Faire in the Bay Area in 2006.
While the makers attending the White House event come from all over the country, there are some local stars who are being honored at the event. Darrell Hunt, a structural biologist at the National Institutes of Health here in Washington, has been using 3D printing technology to make models of molecular structures, creating the NIH 3D Print Exchange project, which allows anyone to create, share and download 3D models of biological structures. The project makes is easier for educators and physicians to build models to explain biological principles to students and patients.
Darius McCoy, a 16-year-old from Baltimore is another local innovator being recognized for his use of 3D printing technology. Not only has McCoy built several 3D printers himself, but has co-founded a company called Custom Lava, which makes customized iPhone cases with a 3D printer.
The White House is asking that Americans inspired by these makers get involved in the movement themselves, by sharing photos of their own creative projects on social media, and joining local makers groups to share their ideas with other community innovators. You can join the day long dialogue on Twitter using the hashtag #NationofMakers.
*Also see https://vine.co/v/MTBKA2eEWYL