The Current

Alarm over Ahmed Mohamed's clock reveals tinkering tension

Arrested, for tinkering. Young Ahmed Mohammed likes to take things apart, cross wires, experiment... and put things back together again. It's the kind of hobby that once led to companies like.... say, Apple and Microsoft. But is a security-centric culture interfering with the freedom to tinker?
Ahmed Mohamed, 14, was arrested and interrogated by police officers after bringing a homemade clock to school. Police don't believe the device is dangerous, but say it could be mistaken for a fake explosive. (AP/Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning)
Listen16:33

14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed is something of a tinkerer.  He built the clock himself, and brought it to school to show his teachers. But when they looked at the metal briefcase with an LED display, they didn't see a clock... They saw a bomb.

This photo provided by the Irving Police Department shows the homemade clock that Ahmed Mohamed brought to school, Wednesday, Sept.16, 2015, in Irving. (Irving Police/AP)


Police were called in, and Ahmed was arrested. 
It didn't take long for the story to explode online. And soon Ahmed was receiving messages of support from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, even  U.S. President Barack Obama. 

It's a story that's struck a special chord with the science and technology community... and those who believe in the right to tinker, a right some fear is under threat in our security-obsessed world.
 

A panel of guests joined us to talk about the "right to tinker":

Do you think that tinkerers and inventors are supported in school?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins, Gord Wesmacott and Julian Uzielli.