Driving the Maker Movement for Long-lasting Innovation [ TechShop, Inc. ]
TechShop provides spaces and resources for makers. Together with Fujitsu, they have created 'TechShop Inside! – Powered by FUJITSU', a new initiative for students of all ages to experience 'making'. For school age children, TechShop is enabling their creativity by allowing them to safely engage with the tools they need to realize their ideas. TechShop and Fujitsu hope these children will be inspired by making and will turn into lifelong innovators.
"It's hard to top the satisfaction people get as they see their ideas take form. We want to help people see that we live in an age in which anyone, kids and adults alike, can enjoy making things and innovate in our open workshops."
Mark Hatch, CEO
Open making workshops close the gap between ideas and innovation
TechShop is a pioneer. They are a leader in the Maker Movement, inspiring innovation through making. TechShop offers the general public unlimited use of any of their eight workshops across the U.S. for $125 per month.
One of the greatest values of TechShop is their ability to attract people from various backgrounds. Each location is equipped with a full suite of tools needed for making, from traditional machine tools like lathes to 3D printers and the latest in digital design software and machine tools. By providing access to factory-grade facilities at such a low cost, TechShop attracts entrepreneurs, engineers, artists, designers, hobbyists and students, all under the same roof.
Not only does TechShop lower the barriers to making, it is a place where ideas can come together and fuse with expert knowledge. At these DIY work shops, ideas materialize right before your eyes in tangible form, one after another. Many successful innovations started in TechShop.
One example is Square, a card reader attachment for making mobile credit payments using smartphones and tablets. In its fledgling phases, Square hit a wall in raising funds that threatened to keep it from reaching commercialization. After the makers of Square had completed a prototype at TechShop and investors could see the real thing in action, Square secured the financing it needed and is now thriving.
Another successful product developed on the TechShop floor is the Embrace Infant Warmer, a portable incubator. Developed by Embrace, it was designed to save the lives of premature infants born in developing countries who did not have access to desperately needed incubators within their first hour after birth. Five years after its inception in a TechShop workshop, the Embrace Warmer has saved the lives of more than 100,000 children.
There are countless innovations that remain unrealized because there has been no way to give shape to people's visions. TechShop runs the prototyping studios where people can fully exploit their potential, break down barriers to innovation, and build their dreams.
Making opportunities for children with the first portable mobile open makerspace
Provided with the right environment, we all have the power to innovate. Children are no exception. In fact, they often see problems differently and have ideas that would not occur to an adult. We need our children to experience the wonders of making in order to fuel their innovative spirit. With this thought in mind, TechShop announced that they would launch TechShop Inside! - Powered by FUJITSU. The initiative is the world's first mobile open makerspace, housed within a seven-meter long trailer. This space is loaded with much of the same equipment as other TechShops, including hand tools, 3D printers and laser cutters alongside Fujitsu laptops and tablets.
The mobile makerspace itself is the culmination of many unique TechShop ideas. From the beginning, TechShop Inside! - Powered by FUJITSU was developed in collaboration with staff deeply experienced in teaching the workshop's target audience of 8-17 year-olds. The trailer was designed with the specific intent of introducing children to the joy of making, providing selected machining tools that can be safely and easily used even by young first-timers.
In addition, all the equipment in the TechShop Inside! - Powered by FUJITSU trailer is modular, allowing it to be brought outside the trailer into a wider space, to enable more children to use the equipment.
Becoming lifelong makers
The children who have had the opportunity to use TechShop Inside! - Powered by FUJITSU have been thrilled with the experience. But, this excitement has not been limited to children. The 100 teachers, researchers and administrators invited to the unveiling of TechShop Inside! – Powered by FUJITSU also found it hard to put down tools and leave the TechShop trailer. They took so long, in fact, that the start time of the next session of the event had to be pushed back a full hour from its original schedule. It appears that when faced with the latest in digital machine tools, the instinct to make things takes over.
TechShop has given children and adults alike a forum for experiencing innovation through making. It is enriching the creativity of our children so that when they grow up, they have a sense of personal empowerment and are inspired to make great contributions to society – in any form. No doubt that children will find the experience of learning by making at TechShop Inside! – Powered by FUJITSU very exciting. Some will continue on their path and become lifelong makers.
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