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Tech Tech Boom

While some may imagine technology builders as people behind a screen, fiddling with abstruse code and hard-to-understand programs, the truth is that there is a lot of cutting, hammering, fitting, and sizing that goes into technology innovation. And those who do it are craftsmen and women of another sort. They may not be behind a potter’s wheel or in a dark room, but the craftsmanship that goes into products, apps, games, and software is as complex and heartfelt as any handmade good.

And a lot of this tech craftsmanship is happening in Austin. According to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, high tech companies in this city added more than 5,400 new jobs in 2014. Since January, venture capitalists have invested roughly $265 million in Austin companies, up 31 percent from this time last year.

Makers who have crafted the technology featured in this year’s Makers Issue have had to contend with battery capacity, wiring, and LEDs – the innards that give meaning to an exterior’s pristine design. Plus, just like wood- or metalworkers, these craftspeople are building tools with practical applications, anticipating problems, and fashioning solutions.

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RANGE | by Supermechanical

Made of stainless steel and silicone, Supermechanical’s Range sends temperature data from a slab of cooking meat directly to the chef’s personal device. Shell out $69.95 for the Aqua or Ember edition, with a varying three- to six-inch tip. The extreme-grillers among us can fork up $89.95 for Coal Range, which is reinforced to avoid damage from grill flare-ups.

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ATLAS WRISTBAND | by Atlas Wearables

A sweat and waterproof silicone trainer on your wrist, the Atlas Wristband from Atlas Wearables knows it all. Doing triangle pushups instead of regular ones? It knows. Trying to get away with squats in place of dead lifts? This high-tech wristband can tell the difference. It even understands sequences, registering a burpee as one movement, not three. The wristband is priced at at $249.

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iFETCH

Standing just eight inches tall and weighing 2.5 pounds, iFetch is perhaps the most advanced ball-thrower your pup’s ever seen. When you or your dog drop a ball into the device’s mouth, it’ll be launched across the room or lawn. Retails for $155.

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VITAL HERD

This e-pill rests at the base of dairy cows’ stomachs, quietly monitoring each animal’s body temperature, heart rate and respiration rate. Part of Vital Herd’s package includes software that analyzes and tracks the information. The software and e-pill are sold as a service, at an annual fee of $50 per cow.

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FREEWHEEL | by Chaotic Moon

A fitness tracker for wheelchair users, Freewheel by Chaotic Moon and BASE uses sensors to record the chair’s wheel rotations, incline, altitude, and distance traveled. Though it’s still in prototype, Chaotic Moon CEO Ben Lamm says its abilities will likely go beyond the wheelchair. “Freewheel’s potential is limitless, and we envision the project developing into a global platform with future applications we haven’t yet imagined.” In prototype, no price set.

CREDITS

Photography by Sean Johnson

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