I’ve been doing a few small hardware projects lately and they have re-kindled my interest in building things for software to run on. I don’t really keep up with advancements in the hardware space, but I have a guy from Texas Instruments on my hockey team this season so maybe I’ll do a bit of reading.
Last Sunday night Kip and I were talking about the sheer number of new chips that TI is turning out every year. It’s interesting to see that chip vendors are continuing to innovate and it’s a bit sad that the industry that used to consume those parts has all but evaporated.
I have already blogged about the lack of funding for new tech ventures, so I won’t dwell on that. I do encourage you however, to browse sights like kick starter and to invest in unique ideas. Many of us who work in the software industry have roots in the hardware space, so checkout the new devices from people like TI and let your creative juices flow.
A recent article that I read in MacLeans Magazine, suggested that the next generation of graduates will forget about trying to find a job and start creating jobs by boot strapping new companies. If that is so, those graduates will be looking for innovative ideas and people with experience to help them get started.
I would suggest to you that the baby boomers have one more contribution to make to society. Lets help our kids and grand kids launch a new wave of innovation. It’s way better than sitting around waiting for life to happen when all too often something other than life happens instead [grin].
There is a wonderful rebirth of the electronics industry. Many years ago, there was a company called Heathkit that would see you a kit that you would assemble and debug yourself. Many people’s electronics/electrical careers began from those roots.
At some point in the 90’s the chips that were being manufactured were too small to hand assemble and the DIY electronics community was effectively shut out.
Fast forward to today. The chips now are SOC’s – full function such as processor, sensor, display unit with drivers, etc and an emerging set of companies (adafruit, arduino, sparkfun) have arisen to make the pins on these small devices accessible for prototyping and experimenting. DIYers are not building circuits anymore, but assembling systems and mashing up ideas and software from other designs. Add to this 3D printing to enable mechanical support and we’re staging to bring on a whole new generation of creators, inventor and hackers.