NOMCOM, the annual Nation of Maker’s Conference, came to Chattanooga this year, hosting panels, workshops and speakers all celebrating ‘the power of the network.’ Where better than Gig City?
Bringing together a global maker community for the weekend, NOMCON kicked off Friday, June 14th by offering attendees tours of innovative spaces in Chattanooga, including behind the scenes at the Tennessee Aquarium, a visit to Branch Technology’s Cellular Fabrication 3D printer in action and a look inside Mueller, Co.’s downtown research and development lab.
Adam Savage, of Mythbusters fame and one of the most recognized makers in America, was not only in attendance, but he moderated a panel of student makers on the 4th Floor of the Public Library. Mikayla Sanders, Hayle Mack, Kaitlyn Melda and Enterprise Center rockstar intern Diego Lourenco all shared projects they’ve worked on, as well as how making has influenced their educations. Savage said on Twitter, “These four kids blew my mind. They represent a future that fills me with hope.”
Another highlight of the conference – and one that illustrated just how much of a community these makers are – was the Magic Wheelchair reveal on Sunday. Magic Wheelchair works with local organizations to transform wheelchairs into wild and incredible costumes for children, and Chatt*Lab and Con Nooga teamed up to build Amelia Stewart a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed spaceship and Star Lord suit.
More memorable experiences included a keynote from MIT Media Lab’s David Sun Kong on synthetic biology, who lauded the work of three Baylor School teachers, and a powerful town hall conversation with mayors from Knoxville, TN; Salisbury, MD; Wilkinsburgh, PA; and Rexburg, ID, about the impact the maker movement has had on economic development and career-access in their communities. As Mayor Berke said about Chattanooga in his opening remarks, “Creativity is power. A City of Creators is a place where, no matter who you are or where you live, you have power over your life.”
You can read more about NOMCOM happenings below, or catch the next one in Eugene, Oregon in 2020!