Of tinkerers, innovators and creators [The Star]

The Star Online 10th April 2017

The maker movement is slowly but surely growing in Malaysia with more DIY communities coming together.

EGG cartons and ice-cream sticks were just some of the stuff three students from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) needed to make a working drone.

The DIY drone, powered by a motherboard and motor from an unused drone, lifted off the ground to cheers from the crowd.

The students’ nifty creation bagged them the first prize at the Yes@NuSentral Mini Makerthon in Kuala Lumpur.

“The theme of the event was ‘upcycling and reuse’ and we’re encouraged to create new things from materials that otherwise would go to waste. My teammates and I have always been interested in making drones and took on the challenge to create one using recyclable materials,” says oil & gas student Amirul Aizad.

Organised by KakiDIY with the support of National Entrepreneurship Development Office (Nedo) under the Finance Ministry, the mini makerthon is one of the many ­examples of the flourishing maker movement in Malaysia.

Amirul, like the other participants, is a maker who actively creates and innovates, if not for business then simply for pleasure.

According to KakiDIY founder Johnson Lam, 2016 was a great year for the maker movement on the local front. KakiDIY is a place for do-it-yourself enthusiasts, makers and entrepreneurs to share, collaborate and provide services to others. It organised over 60 makers-related events, exhibitions and talks last year.

“There was a great boost in 2016. Mainly because several makerspaces were opened last year and we had more exposure compared to 2015. More universities and even several big tech industry players became part of the movement. In terms of growth, I would say that it is slow but steady. We are far behind countries like the United States or even Singapore, as our maker movement is still at the infancy stage,” he says.

A growing cause

Based on the support and crowd participation at KakiDIY events, Lam says that there is an increasing number of thinkers and tinkerers in the local scene. Some claim that the maker movement bloomed since the 2006 Maker Faire in San Francisco, United States. It was an event targeted at creating and innovating, bringing forward ideas and making the impossible possible.

Lam says what started as a hobby for most tinkerers and designers has now turned into a legitimate source of income, as more ­makers are turning their projects into viable businesses.

There is good news for technopreneurs who have yet to get funding. During the tabling of Budget 2017 in Parliament last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government had allocated RM162mil to implement programmes such as an e- ­commerce ecosystem and the Digital Maker Movement – a private academia initiative to train Malaysian youth in digital economy.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2017/04/10/of-tinkerers-innovators-and-creators/#WRDlAjEgEP5kdtzp.99