President Barack Obama, in case you missed it, last Wednesday declared June 18 a “National Day of Making” as tech enthusiasts, educators, crafters and tinkerers streamed to the White House for the inaugural White House Maker Faire.
The World’s Fair-type event was the latest in a slew of science fair/county fair hybrid Faires created by Maker Media’s Make magazine to celebrate the craft of making and the ‘do-it-yourself’ and ‘do-it-with-others’ mindset.
The president met with students, entrepreneurs, authors and even rapper will.i.am to bear witness to the tools, techniques, businesses and skill that are beginning to coalesce to launch the grassroots renaissance in American manufacturing. Exhibitions included a 3D pancake printer, a giant red weather balloon and a 17-foot robotic giraffe among other inventions.
“Your projects are examples of a revolution that’s taking place in American manufacturing — a revolution that can help us create new jobs and industries for decades to come,” the president told Maker Faire attendees last week.
Adrian Niles, an 18 year old from Brockton, Ma., was one such tinkerer the Maker Faire invited to the president’s house. Niles showcased a “Self-Balancing People Mover” designed to help the elderly and disabled move around more easily.
“Meeting Will.I.Am yesterday at the white house was an amazing experience,” Niles said. “He inspires me as much as I inspire him. I am just glad that some one like Will.I.Am sees my ability to create.”
Obama Wednesday also discussed a host of efforts that are in the works to stimulate innovation, manufacturing and entrepreneurship.
Efforts aimed at acquainting innovators with tools, capital and techniques for bringing their ideas to fruition included: support for startups intending to file for patent, private-sector commitments from businesses and companies and helping school transform the idea of shop class into a course with a 21st century curriculum.
“Our parents and our grandparents created the world’s largest economy and strongest middle class not by buying stuff, but by building stuff — by making stuff, by tinkering and inventing and building; by making and selling things first in a growing national market and then in an international market — stuff “Made in America,” Obama said.
Read about the White House efforts to support Maker-led startups here.