Ithaca makerspace featured at White House Maker Faire

Keith Kissel/via Flickr
June 19, 2014

Ithaca was one of the cities represented at an event celebrating technology entrepreneurs put on by President Obama. Mayor Svante Myrick was in Washington yesterday for what the White House called a Maker Faire. While there, he featured the Ithaca Generator, a makerspace where tech people can share ideas and work on projects. To find out more about the event and Ithaca Generator, Morning Edition host, Monica Sandreczki, spoke with its president, Mark Zifchock.

Morning Edition : What is a Maker Faire?

Mark Zifchock : Typically, at a Makers’ Faire, you’re going to see a couple things. One is toolmakers, that is 3-D printers and laser cutters and software developers and people with VR headsets. You know, you’ll see the next Connect at a Maker Faire. It’s a place to showcase tools and technologies that empower the individual or small groups to create. Then the next major portion of it is makerspaces proper who share some of the things that they’ve done. Often, really crazy looking things – when possible, incorporating flame. But, this is sort of the essence of the transformative nature of what’s going on with makerspaces and I think why there’s so much interest in it. There’s a belief that there’s a transformation, a revolution in manufacturing that comes back down to a cottage industry model, much more of a small groups creating specialized products or developing and iterating over a product in time to bring it to something that may be mass-manufactured or it may serve a particular niche.

ME : What are some of the projects you’ve featured?

MZ : We have electric bikes from one of the companies that spun off of the Ithaca Generator. It’s a company called Boxy Bikes, so this is a fledgling electric bike company. You know, we wanted people to understand that this is one new innovation that has a chance to revolutionize how urban travel occurs. One of our recent acquisitions is a laser cutter, so we shared some projects including laser cut maps and other high precision objects that we’ve created basically to show off our ability for us to do high quality, precise work for prototyping. We have a physics demonstration with our partners from X-Rays who are an extension from Cornell University. They have wave generators that use this (laughs) tube of flame. It’s really exciting stuff that’s also rooted in physics and of course, part of our mission here is scientific literacy.

ME : Mark Zifchock, it was good to talk to you today.

MZ : Thank you very much, it was a pleasure to talk to you.