The maker movement is going mainstream, and like the early champions of Linux, frontrunners can be thought of as pioneers, to be ignored and dismissed at corporate peril, and frontrunners increasingly create for themselves a legitimate business advantage.

Conservative estimates peg the economic impact of the maker movement’s shift away from Chinese imports alone at $20 billion - $55 billion annually, citing that much of the imports in transport, computers, fabricated metals and machinery could be made locally by 2020.

Unsurprisingly, many tech companies are also eying the maker movement as a possible development community for the internet of things, tapping into the passion and creativity of hobbyist engineers to revitalize their own research and development efforts.

Cheap, open source hardware like Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Beagle Bone have made hardware development accessible to a whole host of people, from children to professionals, and is driving adoption in the education market as a catalyst for making computer programming ubiquitous. While it may be tempting to sneer at the idea that hobbyists with 3D printers and open source electronic hardware can change the world, it’s worth noting that the original industrial revolution grew out of piecework done at home, and the personal computer also emerged from an amateur garage project. We strongly believe the maker movement, and open hardware in general, is worth watching.

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