New Makerspace Seeks Crossover Appeal
Ypsilanti, Michigan, April 20 – TinkerTech, an electronics-oriented makerspace is holding its grand opening event from 6pm-9pm on May 4th, coinciding with Ypsilanti’s May First Fridays event. Located at 216 West Michigan Avenue, in the heart of downtown Ypsilanti, the shop will offer a makerspace geared toward electronics projects, a retail selection reminiscent of RadioShack in its earlier days, as well as workshops and camps on programming, electronics, and other STEAM topics.
In addition to appealing to existing businesses and hobbyists, TinkerTech seeks to increase diversity in the local tech scene through collaborations with Ypsilanti schools and other community organizations.
“The lack of diversity in the world of technology is appalling, both demographically and experientially,” says owner, Michael Ploof. “The stereotypical image of a technology startup denizen is a white guy who is drawn to technology for its own sake and is left hunting for problems to fit his solution. That’s one path, but we also need women, people of color, community activists, creatives, and others with different life experiences to bring technological solutions to the problems they already have a better handle on.”
The makerspace, made possible in part by funding from Ann Arbor SPARK, includes high-end soldering equipment, oscilloscopes, 3D printer, and a 100W laser cutter. To those unsure whether electronics are their thing, Ploof says, “It’s not about ‘being a techie,’ it’s about using technology as a tool to pursue your passions. In terms of skill, the barrier to entry in this realm has fallen dramatically in the last 10 years. Someone with no programming experience can start using a microcontroller to blink lights and move motors in under half an hour. After that, one person might build a robot, while another might create an interactive art installation.”
Emphasizing the crossover nature of the space, musical applications of technology will be on display at TinkerTech’s opening event. Several members of the North Coast Modular Collective, a local group of electronic musical instrument builders, will be performing synthesized music and DJ sets. Laser cutter and 3D printer demonstrations will also take place.
To learn more about TinkerTech or to book an interview, contact Michael Ploof at 734-707-8019 or firstname.lastname@example.org.