The Next Industrial Revolution

A thought-provoking article from Wired and a project from one of our own!

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Wired Magazine Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson wrote a pretty interesting article entitled "In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms are the New Bits." He actually mentions SparkFun a few times, but that's not really the point. The article is a nice look at the maker revolution and shows how the projects you are working on in your tinkering room can actually be pretty darn important. Worth a read for sure!

We also have a pretty fun project coming from SparkFun tech support guru Tim. If you're anything like other guys around my age (20-somethings) NERF guns were very much a part of your adolescence. They were simply awesome toys, at least for the first day you used them and then lost every dart.

Well, Tim took a fairly standard (read: ultra rad) NERF gun and outfitted it with a proximity sensor, an Xbee, and some clever mechanical engineering bits to unleash a flurry of foam darts of unsuspecting victims. Perfect for sneak attacks on your friends, your dog, or your girl/boyfriend (maybe not the best idea though). We'll get some video of this up shortly. Read more about Tim and his project on his website. Good work, Tim!

Comments 9 comments

  • Calif / about 12 years ago / 2

    Well, in economic systems that don't work it's up to the hobbyists to drive innovation. As soon as you have to make money, your level of innovation has to go down. Can't qualify for $30,000 toaster oven loans selling Ardublinkers.

  • Schomethemoney / about 12 years ago / 2

    This WIRED article was simply the best article out of any magazine I have every read. I couldn't put it down when I started. It's definately worth buying this issue just for the "Atoms Are The New Bits" Article (it also has a lot of other great articles too).

  • DMAC / about 12 years ago / 1

    I have the magazine but have yet to read the article, I'll have to check it out.
    Regarding this project, well done! Very cool man!!! Can't wait to see some action video on this.

  • I think that the Wired article is good, but overstates things a bit much. The TRUE revolution (in my opinion) is the ability of companies to crank out niche items (Andersons autopilot designs being a good example) at a low cost. I also think the nomenclature is getting a bit foggy: these enterprises arent really much different from most small businesses. I think the Gizmodo reply was a bit short sighted as well, and was a little uncalled for in how critical it was.

  • 77521 / about 12 years ago / 1

    Regarding the Wired article: I owe Sparkfun a lot of gratitude for the inspiration and accessibility they've provided for creating projects, but, just how much of Sparkfun stuff is made in China?
    After enjoying the Wired article, I read the response from Gizmodo. The vicious tone of the Gizmodo reply turned me off, but they did have some good points worth pondering before getting too carried away with the enthusiam of the Wired article.
    giraffe, giant, gem, genes, ginger, gizmodo???

    • trevor / about 12 years ago / 1

      but, just how much of Sparkfun stuff is made in China?
      Our products that are SparkFun exclusive boards are all completely built, tested, packaged, and shipped from right here in Boulder, Colorado in the US. Components are sourced from around the world, though--for example the bare circuit boards are purchased from a Chinese PCB manufacturer.
      Products that we sell but are made by someone else are from a variety of sources. For example, Olimex boards are from Bulgaria.

  • Zarkoth / about 12 years ago / 1

    I've always loved Wired, and this article has easily been one of my favorites. It's an amazing turn for the industry, and it certainly makes me feel a little better about striking out on my own!

  • LOL. That's really funny. He'll never know what hit him. This thing has a wireless trip sensor. I have been booby trapping the door way to our IT room. Fun stuff.

  • ArtSimMagic / about 12 years ago / 1

    My 8yo son's been sneak-attacking me with the NERF revolver he got for Christmas... Oh, it's so on now.

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