Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gadget Maker's Shed in Canberra

Recently I attended the monthly show and tell at Make Hack Void. This is a non profit Canberra based group which make gadgets, out of old bits and pieces. If you have seen the TV show "Mythbusters", then you get the idea. The group has a "shed" at Downer to work in and a set of tools (plus strict safety rules).

On display during my visit was a talking household interface, a laser cut case for a tiny computer and a robot aircraft for finding people lost in the outback.

The shed looks like a backyard inventor's dream, with neatly arranged steel shelves full of cataloged bits and pieces for making gadgets. There are electronics assembly areas, machinery areas, a 3D printer, computer controlled lathe and other equipment. Mostly importantly there is a kettle, bar fridge and a large table for discussions and getting advice from others.

Such "mens sheds" have been promoted in Australia for keeping older people active, but the MakeHackVoid welcomes any age or gender. In the USA, the Defense Department is promoting such "Do It With Others" (DIWO) activities in schools, as a way to encourage a technologically trained workforce. This has been popularized though Make magazine from O'Reilly Media Media.

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