If you tinker in cutting-edge technologies such as robotics, software design, 3-D graphics or similar pursuits but lack a home shop to test out your ideas, a nonprofit organization has opened a workshop to help you grow your skills.
The Rogue Hack Lab has opened at 225 E. Main St., in downtown Medford, above Norris Shoes. The 750-square-foot area will provide 24-hour access and infrastructure for technical and creative projects and events.
An open house is set for 5 tonight.
What a health club is for the body, Rogue Hack Lab is for the mind.
"One of the things we are trying to do is get gear in there that someone might not be able to afford on their own," said David Lowe, Rogue Hack Lab board treasurer. "It's like a gym where there is a membership, and you go and use their resources and do it with friends."
Modeled after hackerspaces — spread throughout the globe, and as near as Eugene and Portland — Rogue Hack Lab is designed to spur the creative juices. "I like building stuff, and I know other people who like building stuff, and we want to build stuff together," said Lowe, who is a software engineer from Rogue River. "Most people involved so far are technologists working on software and hardware and learning to make different things and teaching one another new skills. (Wednesday) I soldered something for the first time in my life."
Among the projects members have been working on are robotics, working with youngsters on introductory electronics, Lego robotics, 3-D printer work and software. "We've been pretty set on being right downtown," Lowe said. "We wanted to be centrally located so we could participate in the downtown culture. We wanted to start small with something we could sustain. There's certainly a chance we'll outgrow this space pretty soon."
Rogue Hack Lab has identified 20 groups and entities that could use its resources and has drawn up a list of potential projects — including a computer museum and balloon mapping.
Monthly dues are on a sliding scale, starting at $20. Open Hack Nights are from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
The organization's Web address is www.roguehacklab.com.
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.