Everyone loves a field trip, right? Recently, I went to visit the ThingTank lab. It's a community-based place for people to explore and experiment with technology by making things, and in particular, by exploring what the growing world of the Internet of Things might be like. They have all kinds of cool stuff there: 3D printers, a laser cutter, and neat bits of electronics. Matt Ratto is director of the Lab, as well as director of the Critical Making Lab at the University of Toronto, where he's an assistant professor in the Faculty of Information. Matt's research focuses on what he calls "critical making" - the idea that we can't fully understand our technologies, and bring a critical understanding to them, simply by reading or talking about them. We need to, you know, make stuff. I sat down with Matt at the Thingtank to talk about why critical making is important in the era of the Internet of Things.
You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 22:53]
If you're interested in this topic, you might also want to listen to my interview with Limor Fried of Adafruit on open source hardware, or look back at the stories Jon Kalish has done on D-I-Y culture.