Inventors and entrepreneurs across the country, including students and regular citizens, are using technology such as 3D printers, desktop tools, and design software to come up with innovative ideas. More than 100 of these "makers" from more than 25 states gathered at the White House on June 18 to showcase their ingenuity in the first-ever White House Maker Faire.
"I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that encourage a new generation of makers and manufacturers to share their talents and hone their skills," President Obama said in a proclamation issued prior to the Maker Faire. "This event celebrates every maker -- from students learning STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills to entrepreneurs launching new businesses to innovators powering the renaissance in American manufacturing."
A more detailed view of the participants is available on this story map created by Esri, a provider of geographic information systems mapping software. The map is split into four categories: exhibitors and honored makers, participating universities, participating libraries, and maker mayors.
In addition to spotlighting various exhibits, the president used the Maker Faire as an opportunity to launch new efforts aimed at creating businesses and jobs. More than 13 federal agencies and companies such as Etsy, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo made commitments to provide inventors and entrepreneurs with support services, such as startup grants and business mentoring. For example, Etsy and Fuze Hub, which was launched with a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership, will conduct a pilot to help small designers get access to local manufacturers.
The president also announced that the Small Business Administration, through its $2.5 million Accelerator competition, is calling upon communities to support startup accelerators and "maker spaces" for entrepreneurs. The SBA will work with the Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to raise awareness and cultivate a new generation of inventors.
Separately, the USPTO plans to open outreach spaces that will host programming for inventors in the agency's four new regional offices in Detroit, Denver, Silicon Valley, and Dallas. Additionally, the USPTO will release a how-to guide on patenting and IP issues for entrepreneurs, and it will host a series of roadshows across the country.
The Maker Faire showcased how people of all ages are using technology in creative ways, and why it's important for the Obama administration to support such efforts. Explore our slideshow to see some of the event's fascinating inventions and their creators.
Image source: White HouseElena Malykhina began her career at The Wall Street Journal, and her writing has appeared in various news media outlets, including Scientific American, Newsday, and the Associated Press. For several years, she was the online editor at Brandweek and later Adweek, where she ... View Full Bio