In preparing to teach ITMT 492/593 Intro to Smart Technologies again, I began to think about the term prototyping. That is alot of what we do in the class, covering basic technologies that enable small devices to be created using small computers, batteries, solar panels, and wireless communication devices and protocols.

But to what end? Author Felipe Fonseca, in Brazil, had the same concern. He focused beyoind just prototype for commercial work, but into the community and coined a term, Gambiarra or repair culture.

He sought to use smart technology beyond just a means for commercial enterprising, but as a community of hackers and repair people and much more. His article says it much better than me Gambiarra: repair culture and gives us all something to think about.

His final paragraph sums up his conclusions saying:

Perhaps we could start by shifting focus away from “what valuable new thing can I come up with that will make me famous/rich/sexy”. Repairing things as a cultural trend is inextricably related to organic food, natural birthing, cultural diversity, upcycling, sustainable mobility, urban farming, fair trade, culture of peace and digital commons.

“Repair culture, in that sense, is not a mere side effect of the development of industrial societies. On the contrary, it is one of the very few distributed and consistent niches of resistance against the transformation of all human creativity into quantifiable commodity. I reckon it’s not hard to pick a side on this matter.

Now the gentleman’s background is different than mine and some opinions vary but on the whole he brings up a good point.