Hackerspaces are community-operated physical places all around the world, where people can meet and have fun while building their projects, in the domains of computer, technology, science, digital, electronic art, etc.
Each hackerspace is an autonomous entity, and is an environment where people can learn and tinker with technology, work in teams, participate in international competitions where many new opportunities can be found and created for all. Hackerspace can be traced back to the original Homebrew Computer Club in 1978 where Steve Jobs and Steven Wozniak first showed the Apple Zero and where later on Bill Gates came to ask for some money from everyone for the conception of Basic. Now there are about 1000 hackerspaces around the world.
Hackspaces in China focus around hardware technologies. XinCheJian is the first among them in China, established in November 2010. It aims to support, create and promote physical computing, open source hardware and Internet of Things. Its current projects cover different domains of electronic device usage, vary from 3D printer, quadcopter (4-airscrew helicopter) to urban farming equipments. They also have projects related to the Internet and Mobile.
The project “Eyes Plan” is working on a phone accessory that can connect to the smart phone by Bluetooth, and react to certain incidents of the phone. For example, it will blink its eyes when a message arrives from a user’s social network (Weibo, the Chinese twitter).
David Li is the founder of XinCheJian. He is a strong supporter of the Open Source Hardware movement. For him, Open Source Hardware and fund raising platforms like KickStarter open a whole new way for Hardware fans to turn their dreams into reality. Contrary to common business models where the device maker needs to reach a certain sales quantity in order for the product to be marketable and profitable, this new scheme allows Hardware fans to start producing their devices with only the initial orders which cover the cost of the first samples. Its recent success stories include Pebble, the E-Paper watch for smart phones. It raised $10M on May 18.
Besides XinCheJian, there are several other hackerspaces in China, including Beijing Maxpace, hackerspaces in Shenzhen and Hangzhou.