OHM2013 (www.ohm2012.org) was just as cool as I hoped. There was a tremendous amount of volunteer effort in setting up the event, with not only food, showers, security, talks, workshops, etc. but additional things like programmable color LED streetlights (you could submit your own program!), giant laser shows, and a great diversity of talks and workshops. You could learn lockpicking, make your own titanium spork, learn the details of mate drinking and much more. Two groups brought mobile maker spaces, one in a truck and one in a shipping container. There was even a booth giving out free watermelon and meatloaf and your own web domain where you could monitor your consumption of watermelon and meatloaf online?!
I gave a talk titled ‘Hacking Atoms” about making your own superhydrophobic surface which was well attended and well received. Of course, I also took part in the Innovation 5 team’s webinar for the REI network from the site, and spent a fair amount of time volunteering, including quite a while digging up fiber optic cables after the event. OHM actually had more bandwidth available than the entire continent of Africa – which points up just one element of the digital divide.
I had the opportunity to talk to the head of the Netherland’s highly active maker network about Innovation 5 and he was very supportive and confirmed that to his knowledge there were no community-based maker spaces housed in hands-on science museums in Europe.
The take home message from the meeting is that the maker movement is a lively, growing and dedicated group of folks and provides further confirmation that the maker movement is here to stay.