Shanghai's own geek-easy
Updated: 2014-06-12 13:28
By Yu Ran (Shanghai Star)
US expat Jonathan Weinert (center) worked on a remote-controlled lock for a scooter in XinCheJian. Yu Ran/Shanghai Star
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Here we go. The city's geeks are finally moving out of their dark bedrooms and basements cluttered with equipment to a place to call their own. If you want to have fun with technology, join them at XinCheJian, a community-operated space enabling people to spend their spare time disassembling electronics and exchanging ideas.
"It's about time to connect the real world with the virtual by pushing the high-tech onto a larger stage," says David Li, foreman of the first Hackerspace in China.
Located in a 200-square-meter old plant near Jing'an Temple, XinCheJian is an open space gathering hardware specialists, electronic artists, designers, DIY lovers and people who are interested in making things.
"In this new era, knowledge of production of electronics should become more accessible, enabling more and more people to play with technology," says Li, who launched the project in 2010 with two partners to remedy the problem of his home workshop being cluttered with equipment.
Li adds that he hadn't expected the group to grow so quickly as he'd only intended to invite friends having similar problems to share a larger place for making things together.
At the moment, XinCheJian has 30 to 40 members who pay 100 yuan ($16) per month, or 450 yuan for half a year, to access the space for whatever tech project they dream up.
It offers working space for people to realize their projects, take part in regular activities and make their own wonders.
"I failed to discuss with my friends what I was really interested in until I found XinCheJian, which brought me out of my stressful working life and enabled me to meet likeminded people," says Huang Chenghuang, an integrated circuit designer who became a member of XinCheJian in September, 2013.
In the beginning, Huang frequently took part in the activities to chat and share ideas with his new friends before he eventually started creating his own work. Now, he is working on his first hand-made project–a remote-controlled LED clock–which he is putting together piece by piece.