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Could Maker Culture Spark the Next Industrial Revolution?
A 3D As tools like 3D printers (pictured) drop in price, they increasingly fuel a maker culture, according to UT engineer Scott Allen.

Everyone has ideas. Machines, inventions, and improvements to everyday products: things that bounce around in everyone's mind. But unless that someone is an engineer, inventor, or tinkerer, those ideas stay just that … ideas.

Until now that is.  

A new, emerging "maker" culture encourages innovators to create as they wish with the help of 3D printers, laser cutters, and many other tools. The Obama Administration even recently hosted a nationwide "Day of Making" for these creators. 

Is America at a tipping point for transitioning from a consumer culture to a maker culture? Yes, according to UT engineer Scott Allen, who spoke with The Texas Standard's David Brown about maker culture. “Anybody. Anybody can make” Allen reiterates.

Price drops for tools like 3D printers are increasing their availability. There is even the new arrival of maker-spaces where "you pay a membership fee, kind of like a gym membership," Allen says. "You learn how to use the tools, they train you, they teach you, and away you go." Allen says the coworking concept allows fellow makers to meet up, enabling them to “collaborate, make things simple and complex – and what comes out are businesses.” Allen also notes the power of Kickstarter, an online company crowdsourcing funding for many maker projects.

Allen speculates maker culture could spark a new age of production – one where makers and engineers can rush prototypes into the marketplace without the aid of a middleman. And as maker technology grows and gains ground, Allen says, the very act and definition of production in America could change forever. 

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
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