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The Maker Movement in Taiwan

By Vincent Wang
Published: Nov 12,2015

The Maker Movement is an unmistakable trend all over the world. However, what do you want to do to make our life more convenient? Don’t think to much, because makers always said “Just do it.”

What is Maker Movement

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The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture that intersects with hacker culture which is less concerned with physical objects and the creation of new devices.

Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and, mainly, its predecessor, the traditional arts and crafts.

Taiwan and the Maker

Figure 1 :   The Raspberry Pi is popular among makers
Figure 1 : The Raspberry Pi is popular among makers

During FAN2, the FabLab Asia Network‘s 2nd week-long conference that cumulated in Maker Faire Taipei, Taiwan’s Premier, Mao Chi-ku, announced that the Maker Movement has become an international trend and launched a three-month “vMaker” innovation competition to take place at the Taiwan Air Force (TAF) innovation base in an attempt to encourage the movement.

Xu Nai-wen, who is inspired by Arduino, an open-source electronic prototyping platform allowing to create interactive electronic objects in 2009. Now he has become the official Reseller of Raspberry Pi, he believes that maker is a spirit, a culture.

“Our government has been encouraging the concept of ‘maker’ very much. However, maker is a spirit, a culture. Maker is not something that can be done within a short time, and reap your harvest that quickly.” commented by Xu Nai-wen.

Xu Nai-wen is not only a Reseller of Raspberry Pi, he who also is a maker classes instructor, an maker book club host and a maker workshop organizer. As the old saying goes that it takes ten years to grow a tree, but a hundred years to rear a person. Xu Nai-wen encouraged those who are interested in DIY or want to be a maker to slow down their pace.

“It takes time to be a good maker.” Xu Nai-wen suggested that the familiarity with operating system, the comprehension of electronic communications and circuit theory. “Most important of all, imagination!”

Xu Nai-wen said that makers in Taiwan are good at prototyping and small production. Narrowing the gap between customer needs and mass production is the priority in this field.

What is Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python

What’s more, the Raspberry Pi has the ability to interact with the outside world, and has been used in a wide array of digital maker projects, from music machines and parent detectors to weather stations and tweeting birdhouses with infra-red cameras.

Figure 2 :   Xu Nai-wen says maker is a spirit, a culture
Figure 2 : Xu Nai-wen says maker is a spirit, a culture

Intel’s Maker Workship in Taiwan

Ever worried about your children’s safety at school? Intel held a maker workshop at COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2015 on June 2, which showcased the next wave of computing by using Intel’s Edison, and realized the solution for children’s safety at school.

There were six makers participated and demonstrated their works in a bid to shape our future, especially to realize the Internet of Things (IoT). Therefore, all the makers’ projects were based on the Intel Developer Zone.

Tom Foldesi, Senior Director of Intel New Devices Group, explained that the Intel Developer Zone is where developers are tapping into everything they need to successfully bring their connected ideas to life.

“Innovators/makers push the boundatries of technologies. Intel’s Edison is light and small that is the basis of next computing.” said Tom Foldesi.

MABO to Assist Parents

Huang Hsin-hui, Wang Kuan-sheng and Wang Hsueh-jen are co-workers at M-RED, which created MABO to assist parents. “Parents always want to know about their children’s safety. So we make a smart ID card which have sensors to detect children’s state. Also, we make a humanoid lamp. Children’s state is transmitted to humanoid lamp via the Internet. So parents can know children’s state instantly.”

Furthermore, temperature, activity, GPS, light and touch sensores are embedded in MABO to detect children’s location and mulitiple actions at school. Meanwhile, the humanoid lamp can be the receiver to show children’s timely state like exercise, study, sleep and locate their location by GPS in case of skipping classes.

Lin You-zheng, the Founder of FutureWard, introduced that it has co-working space, maker space and activity space. “Not only providing the hardware, FutureWard will focus more on software and serive. Combining people from all walks of life to think more.”

Lin You-zheng said that Taiwan has its unique plac in the Maker Movement. For instance, Pebble is a renowned smartwatch of Kickstarter, which is made in Taiwan. However, he suggested that buiding a maker ecosystem is important as well as localizing the Maker Movement.

First Makerspace in Taiwan

Cheng Hung-chi is one of the first pioneering makers in Taiwan. As one of the founding memebers of Openlab Taipei, he has made important and urgent contributions to establishing foundations for makers in Taiwan.

Nevertheless, Openlab Taipei is Taiwan’s first makerspace and the smallest in size. Cheng Hung-chi’s dedication and contribution to Taiwan’s maker movement are widely recognized.

Makers never get lonely here in Taiwan, with these nine makerspaces: Openlab Taipei, Fablab Taipei, Taipei Hackerspace, Fablab Dynamic, FabCafe Taipei, Makerbar Taipei, Fablab Tainan, GoodWork Taichung and FutureWard, etc.

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