A new tech trend is emerging as information technology is becoming increasingly prevalent within today’s society. More consumers are starting to go independent and make their own tech equipment. ‘How to’ videos have been available for years on video sharing websites such as Youtube, but this influx in self-made gadgets is now challenging corporations and the traditional methods of marketing and manufacturing.
With jobs in the technology industry in such demand, Google is helping to encourage the next tech generation by supplying schools in the UK with 15,000 free Raspberry Pi microcomputers. By giving away these microcomputers, the Raspberry Pi Foundation hopes to familiarise children with the technology in the hopes that they will inspire them to start coding at a young age. In a recent statement, Eric Schmidt who is the chairman of Google said that the investment was made with Raspberry Pi because of its “very clever design”.
Cases of young tech entrepreneurs include a 15 year old student who created a pancreatic cancer test simply by using Google as an online research tool. Many large companies have also been famously built up by a single driven individual. The large tech corporation HP was initially founded in a garage.
This self-made revolution has increased alongside the explosion of social media in recent years. Coupled with the availability of cheap components and incentives of more tech jobs on the market in an unstable economy, the online sharing culture means that information for putting together these components in order to create a tech object is now more accessible than ever. Etsy, an online marketplace specifically for hand designed products (tech and non-tech) highlights the scale of DIY ventures with sales surpassing $500 million in 2012.
Users can now access hundreds of free tutorials on anything tech related from basic html web development to complicated modifications and software. There are also products designed for building and modifying tech gadgets such as B-Squares. These computer chip blocks each have its own function, which when put together; create a customised gadget ready for use, from LED lights to energy saving solar squares.
Another resource which is available is iFixit, a company that is well known for taking apart products from top tech corporations, working out how they are made and sub sequentially creating online tutorials on how to build your own. This resource is particularly good for those looking to fix their own product rather than paying for someone else to do it.
There are now even publications specifically for a new DIY audience such as Make Magazine. The start-up which was founded in San Francisco in 2006 includes its own Maker Faire to its roster. The fair now travels to 60 events around the world. The events showcase the latest homemade makes and offer a meeting point for like minded DIYers looking for new projects and helpful advice.
Some argue that this is just the next step in the digital era. As phones and laptops have become smaller and more functional over the years, the education of such a dominating industry has steeply increased. The tradition of tech makers has been around for some time now, but in the early days where there was less communications available, these skilled individuals didn’t make a dent on the mainstream. However, with the huge technological advancements that we see today, makers now have communities to share, update, and build upon the next stage of the self-made digital world.