Inventing the Future at Hackaday Projects

A project log for h4d-zine

an unofficial hackaday zine

aleksandar-bradicAleksandar Bradic 03/30/2014 at 23:290 Comments

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay

It used to be all about the future. Then it was not. "Software was eating the world" and we became focused on the present, felt proud that we're growing up, learning how to make money and 'disrupt' real industries.  We became boring. But we thought that having handlebar moustache will somehow make all the difference. That we're really geniuses because, you know, building that photo sharing website using Bootstrap requires one. 

Then, ten years in, the same geniuses started to complain - "what kind of future is this?" .... "where is my jetpack"? What in the world are all these scientists doing? 

What they have forgotten is - that it was our job, not someone else's. And we have failed at it.

Now, it's not like everyone went crazy chasing the Web mammon. Some people just couldn't resist the urge to build things. They needed creative outlets, wanted to reach through the computer screen or simply had to see that LED blink. It was great! But before they got the chance to change the world, the whole thing became mainstream. 

Facebook bought Oculus, Google bought Nest and everyone is trying to figure out what comes next. People are wallowing in self-righteousness about how they didn't back Oculus so that they could sell to Facebook before even launching, that Nest didn't really invent anything new and Google is either crazy or has some devious reasons for buying them.  The more exits happen, the more will we troll because, you know; we were the first ones here. We were building hardware before it was cool. We blinked LEDs, read accelerometers, stepped these motors and printed 3d printer parts again & again deep into the night. And now some good looking dude with a SparkCore and a billion-dollar idea will get to say he's 'hardware engineer' too?

Sorry to break it to you, but it will happen. We can choose to sit on the sidelines and complain, or we can jump in and actually try to invent the future, before it happens.

That's what Hackaday Projects is all about.

As a matter of fact, it's already happening. Just take a look at all the projects.  If you want to see where this whole "Internet of Things" buzz is going, just browse around and add a little bit of commercial twist. A rubik's snake-like robot that senses different kinds of touch and responds in kind? Add a wifi module and service that synchronizes these gizmos between two people online. Perhaps to play a game or communicate in a more "immersive" way. Sold! Look at the Sci-Fi Contest Entries. Imagine simple forks of these and what happens when they're mass produced... 

It could be all here, ideas, people, support. At this point in time, nobody is more qualified to do this than us.

But it probably won't happen. We have learned from Open Software that we can get together to solve problem, re-implement something that already exists or fight an evil corporation. But getting together to do something creative and actually build what never existed before, seems out of reach.

Still, we at least have to try. That's what Hackaday Projects is here for. To bring together creative people from all sides - hardware and software engineers, industrial designers, product guys, supporters, backers that "get it"... anyone that can help in turning our one-man-show toy projects into something that could change people's lives.

Bruce Sterling once said, "when a child writes a story, he does not do it because he wants to be a professional writer, but because he wants other kids to hang out with him". 

It's time to grow up.