Hackerspaces and Garage Science

This is the first in a series of posts about the inspirations for Garage Science, and what we can learn from them to make Garage Science awesome.

If you never heard of hackerspaces before, and you are interested in Garage Science, then you are seriously missing out!

Hackerspaces are locations, out there in the real world, where like-minded people come together to work on projects and socialize. There can be many different projects running simultaneously in a hackerspace. A few examples:

  • developing open source projects
  • testing the security of various IT setups (hacking into machines)
  • building robots
  • crafting tools
  • picking locks
  • making electronics circuits

At the moment there are 440 hackerspaces worldwide, as listed on hackerspaces.org, which is a must-visit portal for all things hackerspace (and they even have a blog). In the UK, the Hackspace Foundation coordinates many of the activities of hackerspaces. It is also the parent organization of the highly successful London Hackspace, which runs (among other things) Arduino workshops, lockpicking sessions and biohacking meetups.

How is a Science Garage like a Hackerspace? It has:

  • A physical space
  • Highly motivated people
  • Great social atmosphere
  • Strong technological orientation
  • Extensive use of the internet for everyday activities, communication and outreach
  • A non-profit nature

How is a Science Garage different from a Hackerspace?

  • In a hackerspace you mostly work on your own project, with a little help from other expert hackers. In a Science Garage we all work on a few joint projects.
  • Ideas for projects in hackerspaces come from the hackers themselves, and are chosen for their inherent appeal (to hackers). In a Science Garage we create  projects out of academic papers.
  • Because projects are communal, and the equipment is highly specialized, a Science Garage places much more emphasis on training than a hackerspace does.
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