Maker Movement Article
Amy Hurst conducts research to solve the Maker-Movement problem of non-accessible tools due to high-costs and technological barriers. She develops tools almost anyone can use and works at the Prototyping and Design Lab. Amy engages individuals with needs in science, tech, engineering and math (STEM). Hurst realized that people with disabilities and impairments couldn't access current DIY tools. She also realized that people would rather repair/customize what they owned rather than create new things. This led her to develop new tools/platforms under "Making for all". The tools developed range from VizTouch to GripFab. VizTouch allows teachers to print 3-D math questions that are tactile for visually-impaired students. GribFab allows disabled individuals to print custom hand grips. The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports Hurst and those similar to her. NSF focuses on the curious, creative and self-driven crowd that engages in making. The role of NSF started in laboratories across the nation such as The University of Texas, Massachusetts institute of Technology and University of Rochester. NSF has committed more than $200 million to manufacturing research and other activities. Today, NASA,NIST and the Dept of Energy are also involved in 3-D printing and manufacturing. Due to the research being federally supported, major tools in DIY activities are possible. Some of these tools include CNC routers, computer aided design and Scratch Programming Lang. Inside Hurst's makerspace, those with intellectual disabilities are able to learn to design/print objects using technological design tools. President Obama hosted the "National Week of Making" in order to lift up creators and builders across the country. The first National Maker Faire was organized on June 12th-13th. NSF helped open the CITRIS Invention Lab in 2012 by providing funds to plan and design the Lab. CITRIS is intended to allow students to change ideas into realities. Skintallates which is an electronic temp tattoo was made in the CITRUS Lab and won "Maker of Merit" at the National Maker's Faire. Ben Shapiro and Brian Gravel from Tuff's University created a makerspace which transformed into Nedlam's Workshop and was funded by NSF. The workshop is largely used by Haitian females. Nedlam's workshop encourages ethnicity and equality. Researchers Erica Halverson and Kimberly Sheridan found that makerspaces share themes. These themes are multidisciplinary fuels engagement and innovation, makerspaces have a marked diversity of learning arrangements and learning is for the making. However, they also observed there is tension in making between open -ended and structured activities inside makerspaces. Research is currently in action to develop a solution to this. Overall the NSF and other government agencies supporting research/development and education that will create a technological break-through.