In Maker Spaces across the Country: People are Gathering to Create or Take Things Apart as they try their Hand at Building Everything from Diagnostic Devices to Marine Drones

Hi Everyone Today We Will Talk About How Startups are Blooming in Maker Spaces

Maker Spaces are the Collaborative Work Spaces Open to anyone from Kids to Entrepreneurs and Provide a Variety of Equipment from 3D Printers to Soldering Irons so that anyone with an Idea can bring a Dream Project to Life, whether it is Building a Bamboo Bicycle or a Marine Drone. The 2 Year Old Trend has Inspired Entrepreneurs with a Yen for tinkering to Set-up Maker Spaces in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai. From Robots to Autonomous Vehicles that Collect Garbage, All Sorts of Innovations have Started Coming out of India’s Maker Spaces. It’s the Old World Workshop of Traditional Artisans that’s converged with New Age tools that Computer Hackers Use.

Makers Space is A Place to Break Old & Make New Ideas

When Vaibhav Chhabra Set-up “Maker’s Asylum” in Delhi in 2014, it was to Bring People together to Share Tools and Knowledge, or as He Likes to put it, Set Up “A Place to Break and Make”. At its Work Benches, Everyone from PhD Scholars and Designers to Working Professionals and Hobbyists Make Products as Varied as Leather Bags and Satellite Ground Stations.

It may be Behind a Cluster of Storefronts and Buildings, but it’s Hard to Miss the Crazy, Coloured Lines on a White Wall that Mark the Entrance to Maker’s Asylum in Delhi’s Hauz Rani. Inside, is a High Ceilinged, Bright 2,000sqft ‘Maker Space’ with Tools and Tech Ranging from an Old Fashioned Drill to a Laser Cutter.

Maker’s Asylum has a 6,000sqft Space in Mumbai’s Andheri industrial District, while in Delhi Space is in the Heart of the Commercial Hauz Rani Village.

Maker Spaces or Hacker Spaces are a Haven for Do-it-Yourself Enthusiasts.

Beneath Bengaluru’s Halasuru Metro Station is Pavan Kumar and Anupama Gowda’s Workbench Projects, which Grew from their Own Need for a Collaborative Workspace. They were working on an Education Startup but it took them a year to Build a Prototype Without any Tools or Machines. “We Realized we Couldn’t Work in Isolation. One Needs Peers to Review and Improve Upon Ideas and Products,” says Gowda. They Set Up in a Garage On Kanakapura Road and Were Soon Flooded with Requests from People Wanting to Use their Space.

Initially Startups Need Peers to Review and Improve Upon Ideas and Products

Workbench Projects has Grown from a Tinkering Garage to a Maker Space, a Co-Working Space and a Public Laboratory that has Drawn Makers as varied as a Septuagenarian Turning Old Wine Bottles into Gift Items to a Social Entrepreneur Building a Tidal Wave Energy Harvester for Value Based Housing in Puducherry. It Charges a Membership Fee of Rs 3,000 a Month, and also Offers Daily Passes to those who want to use the Lab and its Facilities.

Re-Thinking Education

For Today’s Youth to be Ready for Future Jobs, they Need to be Innovative

Balaji Viswanathan Visited Multiple Maker Spaces Across the Globe and Penned his Thoughts in a Maker’s Manifesto this June. The Present System of Education Focuses on Theoretical and Rote Learning with Little Practical Applicability. There is More Pride in What is Bought, Not What is Built, Viswanathan, who Set Up Invento Maker Space this year as an Effort to Drive a Change in Mindset.

When a Student Sits for Placement, the Fact that He Got his Hands Dirty Building Something will Definitely Make Him Stand Out.

Invento has 30 Projects In-Line for those Who are Not Sure What they Want to Build but are Keen on Being Part of the Movement. Viswanathan’s Team Recently Built a Vehicle that Collects Waste from the Street Autonomously. And this is just the Tip of the Iceberg, Viswanathan says.

Corporates Also Trying Their Hands

It’s not just Hobbyists, Designers and Entrepreneurs who are Heading to Maker Spaces. Corporates are Getting Involved, Sponsoring High-End Tools like 3D Printers and Residence Programmes, and Providing Much-Needed Financial Assistance. Companies such as Google, Autodesk and Intel are Patrons of the Maker Movement. At Google’s Garage, Housed within its Headquarters at Mountain View, California, Employees try Stitching Trousers and Building Robots.

Intel, which has Invested more than $3 Billion in its India R&D Operations, is Now Betting Heavily on Indian Hardware Startups. “Startups Typically Struggle to Cover the Expenses of Building their Product. We Started Our Maker Lab Last Year and Selected 17 Startups. Now, 14 Startups have their Products in the Market,” says Nivruti Rai, General Manager, Intel India. Intel Showcased its Maker Lab in Collaboration with the Centre’s Department of Science and Technology in its Bengaluru Campus this week.

What Started as a Platform for Startups is Now Used Regularly by Intel’s Employees. “We Invite Employees to See the Maker Labs. Matching Startups with Our Technology Gives Everyone Great Exposure to what is Happening,” says Rai.

Bulk of Innovation Will Likely Happen in Hardware.

There are Quite a few Software Related Startups, but the Bulk of Innovation will Likely Happen in Hardware. “India Should Create an Industrial Revolution with the Internet- of-Things (IOT),” says Rai.

Govt Provides A Helping Hand

The Government is also Showing Keen Interest in Promoting the Movement. Niti Aayog said it Would Set-up 500 Much Awaited Atal Tinkering Labs under the Atal Innovation Mission.

IT Product think tank iSPIRT is also working to Build a Strong Hardware and Manufacturing Base in the Country. Last year, it Conducted Innofest, an Event to Attract Hardware Product Makers from Across the Country, and Supported an Innovation Yatra that took the Idea to 17 Cities in 18 Days.

“These are Still Early Days. In Hardware and Manufacturing, you Need to have a Product Ready Before Thinking about a Business Venture. It usually Starts as a Hobby and Increasingly, Involves Crowd Funding. With Innofest, we are Building a Community Around this. The Innovation Community is Building Up Well. It will take a Few More Years for this to Go Mainstream,” says Sharad Sharma, Co-founder, iSPIRT.

Invento’s Viswanathan Wants Maker Spaces to be as Ubiquitous as Cafes. “A Family Should be Inspired to Walk into a Maker Space and Spend an Evening Building Interesting Things,” he says.


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