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The Langan LaunchBox (now Berks LaunchBox) held a Meetup at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts on Tuesday, September 25th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The event, featuring Balasios (Saki) Lahaniatis, Bruce Schreiner, and Seth Roberts, focused on the Maker Movement and makerspaces. Makerspaces help people with ideas connect to people with similar interests where they can share and expand their ideas and technology. These DIY spaces come in all shapes and sizes. Some focus exclusively on technology, others combine technology with the arts. They typically have 3D printers, laser cutters , software, electronics and tools.

The speakers each described their makerspace and proved that each is truly unique in its own way.

Lahaniatis is the founder of Berks Games. He works to develop video games especially for children and to help others learn these skills by hosting classes. The challenge he shared was that it requires many pre-requisites so is not a technology that you can just jump into and start building a game. His goal is to prepare others to be able to develop their own games. A self-taught expert on gaming and bitcoin, he is also working to create more affordable/accessible digital signage (using cloud-based systems) for small businesses. Due to his various ventures he formed an ‘umbrella’ company, “America Mines Management Group,” as the parent. He shared one of his visions with us during the meetup, which is to see Reading, PA become a national hub for game development.

Schreiner is a cofounder of make717 Innovation Center in Lancaster. He is also a professor in the Electronic Engineering Technology department at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Lancaster. He explained that every makerspace is different based on the goals and resources of the makerspace. Make 717 is more technology based and has 3D printers, CNC cutting and carving machines, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and electronics. One of the things that makes his space unique is that he has some portable machines. This enables make717 to work with seventeen libraries in the Lancaster area. The make717 makerspace has been in existence for 3 years and is run completely by volunteers and is a non-profit operation. This fact showed how interested and supportive people are to have a facility like that in their community.

Roberts founded PA Makerspace. He believes that we are all created to create something. He hosts between seven and fifteen classes a month that encompass the arts and technology.  He believes that creating is a great de-stressor. PA Makerspace is a for-profit company with goals focused on space, members, and education.  He is always looking for new ideas for classes and will be having a DIY day featuring a handyman to teach clients how to solve around the house problems. Members have unlimited access to the facility, its equipment and classes. It is open to the community to learn and to build.

View our meetup page to keep up with our future events; we hope to see you soon!