A Place Where Makers Can Pursue Their Dreams, with TechShop's Mark Hatch
Mark Hatch, a leader of the Maker Movement, is CEO of the DIY workshop TechShop. Hatch explains how TechShop allows makers the opportunity to harness its resources to innovate and create amazing things.
Mark Hatch is widely seen as a leader of the Maker Movement, which is defined by Adweek as "the umbrella term for independent inventors, designers and tinkerers." Hatch is also CEO of TechShop, a do-it-yourself workshop for makers both experienced and new, with locations across the United States. TechShop provides its members with the necessary tools -- woodworking, electronics, textiles, 3D printers, laser cutters, etc. -- so that they can construct prototypes and products. As Hatch tells us in his Big Think interview, TechShop has been the birthplace of numerous and myriad inventions including the world's fastest electric motorcycle, the very first Square devices, and the life-saving Embrace Warmer infant blanket.
Hatch first got involved with TechShop after overhearing founder Jim Newton describing a "Kinko's for geeks" at a tech conference:
"And so he described TechShop, 20,000 square feet, all of these tools. And so I went and visited it and I talked to three different entrepreneurial groups back-to-back. And each one of them told me that they had saved 98 percent or so – it was like 97, 98, 99 percent of their development costs by working out of the TechShop."
Hatch speaks of TechShop success stories like a proud uncle detailing vast family accomplishments. He tells of the one-time roadie who came into TechShop with a vision of an infrared pet warming device. Instead of taking out massive loans to pay an initial $250,000 bid, he invested $2,500 in a TechShop membership. The invention was a hit and the roadie made millions (though I'd guess he's probably not a roadie anymore).
Returning to the Embrace Warmer blanket, Hatch describes how the innovators behind the product sought to invent something that would give premature infants a better chance at survival. A baby born two weeks premature lacks the ability to regulate its own body temperature. The child will likely die if not transferred to an incubator within an hour. With the Embrace Warmer, which is a specially designed polymer blanket, that vital timespan becomes 4 hours. The invention has since saved 87,000 lives and made its maker, Jane Chen, the subject of international acclaim.
Hatch describes the Maker Movement as an emerging force that "captures the dreams and aspirations of a pretty large portion of the United States." He also points to the power of makers to control innovation and harness wealth:
"There are about 40 million of them in the United States. This comes out of Dr. Richard Florida’s work over a decade ago. The book called Rise of the Creative Class. They actually control something like 70 percent of all the disposable income in the U.S. – 470 billion dollars."
And for Hatch, TechShop is a place where both established entrepreneurs and fledgling inventors can innovate and tinker. Some of the results may end up being novel products but others have the potential to make major social impact:
"And so that’s what I like to say. It’s not only do these spaces enable you to pursue your dreams but they can also enable you to change the world in very positive ways."
We all know sleeping with your ex is a bad idea, or is it?
- In the first study of its kind, researchers have found sex with an ex didn't prevent people from getting over their relationship.
- Instead of feeling worse about their breakup after a hookup, the new singles who attempted sexual contact with their ex reported feeling better afterwards.
- The findings suggest that not every piece of relationship advice is to be taken at face value.
Want a happy, satisfying relationship? Psychologists say the best way is to learn to take a joke.
- New research looks at how partners' attitudes toward humor affects the overall quality of a relationship.
- Out of the three basic types of people, people who love to be laughed at made for better partners.
- Fine-tuning your sense of humor might be the secret to a healthy, happy, and committed relationship.
Tiny and efficient, these biodegradable single cells show promise as a way to target hard-to-reach cancers.
- Scientists in Germany have found a potential improvement on the idea of bacteria delivering medicine.
- This kind of microtargeting could be useful in cancer treatments.
- The microswimmers are biodegradable and easy to produce.
Metin Sitti and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute in Germany recently demonstrated that tiny drugs could be attached to individual algae cells and that those algae cells could then be directed through body-like fluid by a magnetic field.
The results were recently published in Advanced Materials, and the paper as a whole offers up a striking portrait of precision and usefulness, perhaps loosely comparable in overall quality to recent work done by The Yale Quantum Institute. It begins by noting that medicine has been attached to bacteria cells before, but bacteria can multiply and end up causing more harm than good.
A potential solution to the problem seems to have been found in an algal cell: the intended object of delivery is given a different electrical charge than the algal cell, which helps attach the object to the cell. The movement of the algae was then tested in 2D and 3D. (The study calls this cell a 'microswimmer.') It would later be found that "3D mean swimming speed of the algal microswimmers increased more than twofold compared to their 2D mean swimming speed." The study continues —
More interestingly, 3D mean swimming speed of the algal microswimmers in the presence of a uniform magnetic field in the x-direction was approximately threefolds higher than their 2D mean swimming speed.
After the 2D and 3D speed of the algal was examined, it was then tested in something made to approximate human fluid, including what they call 'human tubal fluid' (think of the fallopian tubes), plasma, and blood. They then moved to test the compatibility of the microswimmer with cervical cancer cells, ovarian cancer cells, and healthy cells. They found that the microswimmer didn't follow the path of bacteria cells and create something toxic.
The next logical steps from the study include testing this inside a living organism in order to assess the safety of the procedure. Potential future research could include examining how effective this method of drug delivery could be in targeting "diseases in deep body locations," as in, the reproductive and gastrointestinal tracts.
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