By Doug Wallack
On June 18, 2014, President Barack Obama hosted the first White House Maker Faire. Part science fair, part cultural showcase, that day’s event bore witness to a 17-foot-tall robotic giraffe ambling around the grounds, a working piano keyboard made from touch-sensitive bananas, a wealth of 3D-printed objects—including pancakes in the shape of president’s face—and more. In his remarks on the day’s proceedings, Obama hailed the ingenuity of ordinary citizens made possible by increasingly accessible technology.
Obama located the inventors gathered there at the vanguard of the grand sweep of American innovation: Americans had realized dreams of a transcontinental railroad, networks of telegraph lines, the lightbulb, the Internet. What would come of this current frenzy of discovery and invention was anyone’s guess. “It gives you a sense that we are at the dawn of something big,” he said. more