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The Maker Movement: Making reuse cool again.....

Posted Sep 13 2008 11:53pm
The Maker Movement is a burgeoning movement by tinkerers, techie-geeks, and "do-it-yourselfers" to take broken items that would normally be thrown away and make them into new functional items, many incorporating both old and new. In many cases manifesting into a brand new invention. The principle of reuse at its finest and most refined.

Mr. Jalopy, the movement's main driver, has made a whole host of items from reused and reclaimed items, the most interesting is where he incorporated a broken iPod with a large Depression-era radio, and a 1970s stereo. Here is what it does - it digitizes his vinyl discs, then plays them through the stereo's speakers using the 1930's radio's controls.
In a world where we all have said at one point - "they don't make them like they used to," the Makers Movement is doing battle against the "throwaway society" we live in, largely orchestrated by manufacturers through the deliberate practice of "Planned Obsolescence."

"Planned Obsolescence" is defined by Wikipedia as: "........the process of aproductbecomingobsoleteand/or non-functional after a certain period or amount of use in a way that is planned or designed by themanufacturer.[1]Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for aproducerbecause the product fails and theconsumeris under pressure to purchase again, whether from the same manufacturer (a replacement part or a newer model), or from acompetitorwhich might also rely on planned obsolescence.[1]The purpose of planned obsolescence is to hide the real cost per use from the consumer, and charge a higher price than they would otherwise be willing to pay.

[Here is the most important part] For an industry, planned obsolescence stimulates demand by encouraging purchasers to buy again sooner if they still want a functioning product."

The Maker Movement highlights the growing need to reexamine reuse as a viable option to meet basic needs - if it can be fixed, should we take the extra time and effort to do so rather than just going out and buying brand new? I'm sure large manufacturers and retailers don't want this said, but with dwindling natural resources, maybe the little effort makes more sense.

For more on the Maker Movement and a picture of Mr. Jalopy's contraption, click here.

Cheers!

Sean

Pictured is the Robotic Chariot at a Maker Faire - flickr - taken bySwansky
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