First stop in our tour of (bio)hackerspaces in North America: the well-known hackerspace Noisebridge, San Francisco, California. Mitch Altman, co-founder of this exciting place, answered a few questions for us about him, hacking and hackerspaces!
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Mitch Altman, probably best known for inventing, manufacturing and selling TV-B-Gone universal remote control keychains that turn off TVs in public places. I also am a co-founder of Noisebridge, one of the early US hackerspaces. I travel the world, giving talks and workshops, teaching anyone and everyone of any age how to solder, and how to make cool things with electronics and microcontrollers. I also love helping people start hackerspaces, and keep them going all over the planet.
What does hacking represent for you?
Hacking is a way of life. It makes life wonderful. To me, hacking is taking what is, improving upon it (even in ways originally unintended), and sharing it. I do that with electronics. I also do it with my life. I do this with community, society, and everything that needs improving (and no matter how cool it may already be, everything can be improved). It feels great to help people – why would I not do it?
What do you expect from a hackerspace?
Hackerspaces are very diverse places with supportive communities for people explore and do what they love. People teach and learn and share all sorts of wonderful things. They have lots of interesting tools, classes, workshops. They have lots of art, and often really good food. Hackerspaces are fantastic ressources. I have used them to work on all of my projects.
For my most recent project, NeuroDreamer sleep mask, I needed lots of volunteers to try it out, and tell me how well it helped them sleep. I got as many people as I needed (and more)! But as well as being places where anyone can explore their creativity, hackerspaces have community that works. And we all need community.`
>> Picture: Dailylaurel (CC)