Making & Hacking with Mitch Altman

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Today on the show, we’re talking to Mitch Altman – a San Francisco-based hacker and inventor, best known for inventing TV-B-Gone (a universal tv remote that turns out EVERYTHING), Mitch is a featured speaker at hacker conferences, he is  an international expert on the hackerspace movement, and he is very known for teaching introductory electronics workshops. He is also Chief Scientist and CEO of Cornfield Electronics.

So Mitch grew up in Chicago, Illinois, USA, went to high school and later  got a master’s degree in electrical engineering. In 1986 he then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work in Silicon Valley

Photos of Electronics Workshops and Conferencess involving Mitch Altman.
Photos by Mitch Altman, CC BY-SA 2.0

You might know Mitch mainly from the maker movement, but Mitch has also been an early developer of VR technologies – and he always stayed true to himself and is a big advocate for positive and responsible use of technology. He quit a job at VPL Research where he was working on virtual reality and he also stopped supporting the Maker Faires after they got involved with the United States Department of Defense.

Mitch started Cornfield Electronics,  a consulting company and after the launch of on of his products, TV-B-Gone, he gave the company the tagline “We make Useful Electronics for a Better World”

What is TV-B-Gone? The website says: The TV-B-Gone® universal remote control allows you to turn virtually any TV On or OFF.  We prefer OFF.

TV-B-Gone – turns most TV’s on or off!
Photo by Mitch Altman, CC BY-SA 2.0

I think this really shows how Mitch is interested in helping us to use technology for CREATING something new and the TV-B-Gone is a fun tool combined with some rebellion against mainstream media consumption that he created to get awareness for this topic. 

Mitch is super important and respected person in the international hackerspace and maker movement. He co-founded Noisebridge, the San Francisco hackerspace, which was probably one of the first three hackerspaces in the US. 

Mitch is traveling a lot and encouraging the formation of hackerspaces, holding panels and workshops on teaching introductory electronics workshops to people of all ages and visiting electronics enthusiast groups around the world.


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