CC photo by ASMO23

Digital Crafting

September 1, 2011

Today I came across the (provocatively named) group Technology Will Save Us. They’re launching a physical space in East London designed to allow people to connect to technology as something they can be designed and shaped by ordinary people. In their own words:

Bethany says: ‘I believe technology plays a huge role in all of our lives and we know so little about how to fix it, how to make things with it and how to be more creative with it’. Daniel further explains, ‘We see a more creative world where people can get the skills and support to be more resourceful with technology and begin to solve their own problems and invent new uses – become producers not just consumers of technology’.

This is an idea I’m super-excited about. Much of my professional life is made possible because of an incredible upheaval in technology. This upheaval has seen really powerful technologies becoming accessible to hobbyists and enthusiasts where they used to be exclusively the domain of boffins with huge budgets. Think of laser cutting, microcontrollers, 3D printing, mobile computing, wearable electronics… The list continues on and on and on and we’re only seeing the first steps in experimentation that become possible in this world.

On the same theme I’m reminded of a great Ignite presentation by Mark Argo from Aesthetec in Toronto. He talks about the possibility for a near future world where you can visit a local craftsperson who customises gadgets to you personal, one-off requirements. I highly recommend the video, it’s just 6 minutes long and a fun watch.

Ignite Toronto: Mark Argo – Adapting With Technology from Ignite Toronto on Vimeo.

There’s a fascinating thread here, of taking the newly affordable and accessible technology and placing it in a storefront  where all kinds of people can approach and understand the exciting stuff that’s possible. Turning the tech that’s now the domain of nerds into a solution for real people’s needs. This reminds me also of the great 826 Valencia in San Francisco where a pirate supply store (no kidding) fronts an exciting (and free) creative literacy tutoring space for kids.

So, if anyone’s got a storefront open in Toronto and wondering what to do with it…

cc licensed photo by asmo23