As Indiana University pursues its bicentennial goal of instilling “a culture of building and making” throughout the Hoosier State, a pair of IU researchers recently were named co-recipients of a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant to study “making” as a potential driver of the U.S. economy.
Associate professors Shaowen Bardzell and Jeffrey Bardzell of IU Bloomington’s School of Informatics and Computing, along with University of Michigan assistant professor Silvia Lindtner, will focus on “success stories” of makers in China, Taiwan and the Midwest region of the United States.
Although terms such as “hacking,” “crafting,” “making” and “tinkering” have long been associated with hobbyists, these scholars contend that such pursuits are becoming much more — and in fact, are indeed big business.
“In Shenzhen, [China], and Taipei, [Taiwan], making is serious business, with billions of dollars in public and private investment flowing in. It’s seen as an important part of IT startup culture with government policies, local businesses, global businesses, universities and other collaborators working to support makers in their transition from the workshop to the marketplace.”
— Shaowen Bardzell, associate professor, IU School of Informatics and Computing
In fact, many academic and industry experts believe that making is a harbinger of a new era of computing, said Jeffrey Bardzell.
“Using terms such as ‘ubiquitous computing’ and ‘the Internet of Things,’ they see computing as increasingly distributed across networks of everyday objects, not gathered together in a single box, like a desktop computer.”
— Jeffrey Bardzell, associate professor, IU School of Informatics and Computing
Read more about the Bardzells’ research into the maker movement and its economic potential here: