Let's create a "Maker Corps"! In the altruistic spirit of the Peace Corps, let's create socially relevant solutions at the grass roots level. But rather than one expert, remotely located for long periods, dispensing expertise to the unaware, let's do it in the Maker spirit of local, collaborative, interdisciplinary teams, co-discovering disruptive technology solutions and high social value propositions with our peers, who just happen to have some special needs, with everyone involved having lots of fun along the way.
Using social networking, wikis, and online forums, we can create an incubator for matching critical needs with ad hoc project teams, openly sharing and celebrating our successes (and failures). In keeping with the Maker Creed, these teams can include a cross-section of skill levels and mentoring opportunities. Would your child benefit in both empathy and motivation toward a satisfying career of social significance by participating in a project to help another child? Would you? Lord Baden-Powell figured out how to get little old ladies across the street. Let's figure out how to instrument and automate a paraplegic's house.
Mike Wirth holds a PhD in Applied Science and is a Hertz Fellow, computational physicist, computer scientist, developer, researcher and manager of software teams at Apple, IBM and Adobe Systems, COO of a computer graphics/special effects startup, and a usability researcher (especially for disability solutions).
Additionally Wirth is a woodworker, home shop machinist, toolmaker, and embedded system engineer. He restored a Clausing 8520 vertical mill and South Bend 10K lathe, teaches an occasional class at the TechShop (e.g., threading on the lathe), and is currently designing and building DRO and a CNC conversion for his mill. He is researching plastic extrusion theory and experimenting with plastic extruders for RepRap, a scanner.