Woman working on robot prototype https://www.garlandmakers.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/GAMblog_HERO_prototype.png

Creating prototypes for new Inventions and getting them to Market is not as difficult as it once was.

Elizabeth Berry

Since the time of Thomas Edison, invention has been as much about manufacturing and marketing inventions successfully as about having great ideas in the first place.

Some of the most famous inventors in history have developed existing ideas and made them successful. Edison didn’t invent electric light, but he did develop the first commercially successful, long-lasting electric light bulb. 

In much the same way, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconican’t really be credited with the invention of the radio. Other people, such as German Heinrich Hertz and Englishman Oliver Lodge, had already successfully demonstrated the science behind radio and sent the first radio messages. What Marconi did was to turn radio into a much more practical technology and sell it to the world through bold and daring demonstrations. 

Successful inventions often have to dislodge existing ones, both from our minds (which often find it hard to imagine new ways of doing things) and from their hold on the marketplace (which they may have dominated for years or decades).

In the past it was difficult and expensive for an individual to create the prototype and then launch a new invention. Thus, such activities remained largely the province of giant corporations with the expensive tools and space to build.  Our modern technology and the Internet today have changed all that.  And now with makerspaces to bring these expensive tools and latest technology together in a collaborative diverse environment we have the potential of a fast track the world has never seen for new inventions and technology.

Makerspaces Do Not Replace Manufacturing Companies

In conclusion, it is important to note that while makerspaces can spawn new inventions and technology, they are not in competition with manufacturing firms.  Makerspaces are not there to mass-produce items.  Makerspace are there to create one-of-kind things—as art or as prototypes to be produced in a manufacturing environment elsewhere.  A makerspace could not afford to allow one or two of its members to tie up use of their shared tools and technology for the ongoing mass production of one product.  If a maker invents something, they must approach a manufacturer to mass-produce it.


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