Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Zero to Maker": David Lang & the Maker Culture

OpenROV Open-Source Underwater Robot
David Lang's life was upended when he lost his office job in 2011. In his telling, he felt that he'd lost not just a job, but his future with it, and consequently had to "rethink his entire entire career trajectory." He realized that by skipping high school shop classes, he'd never learned the fundamental, hands-on skills needed to make or repair useful things. His response was to learn those skills by plunging headlong into the maker culture. Within a few months he'd taken every class he could get into at the Tech Shop in San Francisco: wood working, laser cutting, CNC machining, and so on.

Within in a year of that intense learning experience, he became a partner in OpenROV, a business that has designed and developed and open-source underwater exploration robot. A successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the OpenROV robot project raised over $111.6K. Now David and his partner, Eric Stackpole, are busy keeping up with the orders for OpenROV kits that are pouring in from around the world.

David and Eric have started a blog at the OpenROV website to chronicle how and where OpenROV customers are using the robot around the world. It also serves as a place to exchange ideas about applications for the robot. The OpenROV is an open-source hardware project, so many users are already modifying the basic robot with new features, such as grappling arms and additional cameras.

David was also invited by the crew at MAKE magazine to blog about his experiences and other maker topics at the MAKE website under the moniker "Zerotomaker."  Now he's come back to Kickstarter to raise funds for a book about his transition from laid-off office drone to entrepreneur titled Zero to Maker. His Kickstarter campaign closed a week ago with a total of $49.5K, many times the target of $2,500.

We've embedded a video of the OpenROV robot in action below, check it out.

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