It is that time of the year again. Many big maker events all happened during the last few months, and the vMaker editor has been busy non-stop for sure. All makers seem to be quite busy as vMaker editor as well. They work during the week, and go to events, join shows, and hold workshops during weekends and nights. However, whenever everyone shows up, she or he would still be energized, and talk about what projects they have been working on. In the second half of 2016, there has been more maker events and maker spaces ever. And one team in particular kept showing up everywhere, even in the Million-Dollar Maker Competition Final. Nope, they did not apply for the competition, but they showed up at the final in the maker faire to show one of their projects. Makee.io, a team of 6 answered that, they were a bit busy with a complicated project, and had to miss the opportunity. But, even at the Final of the Competition, Makee.io did not let the opportunity go, and went up to all finalists to know them and their works. During the interview, they analyzed each project in some fine details, and were impressed about their break-through.
The team scheduled the interview in the evening, and only 4 of the team members showed up. They claimed most their background was on software engineering, but since in school and later at work, they found that making hardware to work was more interesting for them. “To solve those visible problems on things” they recalled, fascinated them. Some of them teared computers apart and put it back together since little; another one was interested in math and science, and knew that solving problems with technology was his natural call. When they realized that work in big companies do not really solve life problems they encounter, they decided to put more effort to solve real problems like makers. During the background sharing, one of their member, Polo told his shocking story. In college, Polo was a communication media major, and after graduation, he went into car stereo business because his love in cars. After in car stereo job for a while, he realized that he wants to know more tools to solve his curiosity, and went to take computer programming and app writing courses. Now, he has been able to combine all his background to put into maker projects development.
The Office Plants Kept Dying, So, They Became Makers?
Each project of Makee.io came from real issues they encounter themselves. When they recalled their first project, a smart plant watering system, the reason was simply that the plants in their office kept drying up due to lack of water. Yes, they were too busy to remember to water the plants. When they realized the problem, a dialogue found that a humidity sensor only costs less than NTD10, why not just make the sensor to warm people when the plants need water. In 2016 Million-Dollar Maker Competition Final Maker Faire, they presented a motorized skateboard as their show-and-tell project. Most of team members are skaters. Few months ago, one member broke his leg, but was not content that everyone else was skating. He decided that the team should build a motorized skateboard. They explained how they tried different remote device in order to find the best way to control the board, and most fittingly for the injured member to stand on it. The detail shows how serious they were about solving problems.
Hosting Workshop Was the Most Stressed Moment for Them
On the website of Makee.io, one may see different workshops they have held. The beginning was the smart plant watering device. An administrator in MakerPro saw their project, and invited them to teach how to make the device. It opened their workshop path. One time, they took a gig to teach how to make lightsaber in Southern Taiwan Science Park. They did not realize that a full class would bring them such stress. With 70 people signed up with different level of knowledge of tools and safety guard, they realized that to have everyone walked out of the workshop with a usable lightsaber could be such a difficult task without anyone getting hurt. The good news is that they did it, and they also learned how to run a successful workshop for the future.
They also commented that the identity of “maker” should not be limited only related to computer and technology, but anyone who is able to solve met problems. This is the real maker spirit. Although most of their workshops are about technology, but they emphasis on how to deal with problems, and how to come up the ways to solve them. They also believe that in the maker community, everyone should be able to share different professions and knowledge so everyone can grow and learn together.