President Barack Obama visits TechShop Pittsburgh in Bakery Square today, where he will discuss new “Make It In America Initiatives” in the administration’s bottom-up approach to strengthening the economy. Last year, the Obama Administration allocated $40 million in community grants to start-up business initiatives. This year. it is believed, he will discuss a new “Makers’ Faire Initiative” that will provide more funding.
The president’s visit is a prelude to the first White House Makers Faire in Washington on June 18, where another TechShop will open its doors in Arlington, VA. The idea of the Pittsburgh visit “is to encourage the invention of more American-made products, starting at places like TechShop in community efforts like those here in Pittsburgh,” said the White House staff. AlphaLab Gear, a hardware and robotics start-up accelerator located near Baker Square, intends to enjoin the Obama Initiative with its own event on June 18.
TechShop Pittsburgh is a 16,000 sf. creative fabrication and prototyping studio that serves as a DIY “maker” hacker space and learning center where members can write software code or build robots, while socializing and sharing their expertise. TechShop provides access to over $1 million worth of professional equipment and software that includes laser cutters, plastics and electronics labs, a machine shop, a wood shop, a metal working shop, a textiles lab, welding stations and a waterjet cutter.
Tech Shop Pittsburgh is part of an eight city chain that was founded in Menlo Park, CA in 2005 by Jim Newton, former science adviser to the Mythbusters television series. He founded TechShop after getting hooked on building BattleBots, the warrior robots that fight each other.