In bedrooms, sheds and garages across the land there's a revolution under way.
Empowered by a new generation of low-cost, easy-to-use tools, hobbyists are now able to invent – and produce – their own toys, gadgets and gizmos without recourse to a traditional manufacturer.
Two parallel movements are making this possible. First, on the hardware side, new sub-£1000 machines such as the MakerBot Replicator and the Roland iModela allow owners to design intricate objects on-screen and then produce them as high-quality products in wood, foam, wax or plastic. Secondly, and more affordably, a tiny Italian computer called the Arduino Uno (around £25) is allowing hobbyists to create their own little electronic marvels. Easily customised with a range of cheap, plug-in sensors, the Arduino can be tweaked to turn on the house lights, play a grand piano or even make a child's doll speak Gaelic.
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