CINCINNATI - Some of the biggest inventions and ideas of our time began in rather modest surroundings. Google, for example, was started in a garage in California. And now, a low-profile, local group is out to create the next "big thing".
9 News anchor Lance Barry has the story of a group called Hive 13, which is a "hackerspace."
It is housed inside a modest Camp Washington warehouse. The people inside it appear to be as unassuming as well, but a closer look at them reveals they are some of the top minds in our area. These people are intent on changing the world around us and if they can't do that, they are determined enough to invent a new world.
"Having a group that you can collectively call out to, and get intelligent responses, really can take a simple idea to the next level. And then something that was previously impossible, make it real," said president and founding member of Hive 13 Jason Bailey.
Bailey, like his colleagues, is both a dreamer and a doer.
"We have engineers, a lot of IT guys, artists, students, people from all over the city, from as far away as Crittenden, to the north of Dayton," said Bailey.
Hive 13 is a fitting name for a workshop that buzzes with activity. But what exactly is the purpose of the space?
"To provide brain power and community for you and tools to given an opportunity to realize the projects we have all wanted to accomplish, but didn't have the time or resources to do," said Bailey.
Dave Menninger, an IT professional for a local public library, is another founding member of Hive 13.
"I could have my kitchen and eat, or I could have my work space and work with robots, so having this has been really good," said Menninger.
In it's nearly one year of existence, Hive 13 has grown from 10 people in a coffee shop to more than twice that now in the warehouse. They have taken on countless projects, some of them failures, but others not, such as a gas motorcycle that was converted to use batteries.
There are still other brilliant works in progress at the hackerspace, a place where even the sky is not the limit. "We are going to send a camera into near space, to 70,000 feet above sea level, and take pictures. It's a challenge to see if we can do it. A challenge to hold a camera in your hand, and say, I sent you into space. It's a little nerdy, a little fun, a little challenging," said Bailey.
So what is off limits? Apparently not much. "Except for reason of budget of physics," said Menninger.
As for the term hackerspace, it turns out these self-described geeks are on our side.
"There have been people (hackers) who use that knowledge for their own personal gain, or for illicit practices, that is not what we are about," said Bailey.
In the hackerspace, it is all about similar minds, shared goals, and an open environment.
"The sum is greater than the parts," said Bailey.
One way that Hive 13 is different than it's high-profile inventing predecessors like Google or Microsoft is the the fact that their sole purpose is not to create a business opportunity for it's members. But we are told if that happens for a member, it would be embraced.
Hive 13 is just one of several hackerspaces that exist in the Midwest. The group is open to outsiders with like interests, and perhaps most importantly like minds.
Copyright 2010 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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