I know it’s often said that self praise is no recommendation but for many decades now Elektor magazine has proved that there really isn’t any clear distinction between amateurs who, out of interest, just love tinkering with electronics and those whose job it is. Among our readers are professionals, active in product design and development and also people who maybe active in other departments such as sales but they share a natural curiosity and interest in electronics and love to tinker in their spare time. Many professionals have told me they enjoy reading our magazine and have picked up tips that proved useful in their professional lives.  Some Elektor projects have even provided the spark for readers to go on and develop their own electronic product.

Now in 2016 we can see many big electronic companies are also taking ‘makers’ seriously. The facts are that the maker community is thriving and makers are not just an important source of ideas for new products. Many new companies are grounded via this route, often with the support of maker communities and even funded by ‘the crowd’. In any case the maker community is a powerful engine supporting new emerging talent who will often go on to forge careers with larger more established electronic companies.

It is therefore not surprising that the maker scene is particularly close to our heart here at Elektor. This year we are introducing the Fast Forward Award for Start-ups, prototypes and product-Ideas at the  electronica trade show in Munich, which is recognized as one of the largest and most important trade shows in the world. Other partners in this initiative include STMicroelectronics, Würth Elektronik, Trinamic and Conrad; companies who already have shown enthusiastic support for Start-ups and the maker scene generally.

At our stand at electronica, which opens its doors on the 8th November, we are providing a platform for 40 lucky contestants to showcase their own concepts in the second round of the competition under the categories of ‘Idea’, ‘Prototype’ and ‘Start-up’. During the first three days of the event the participants will be competing against each other by delivering short presentations to support their entry. On Friday 11th November we will be hosting the award ceremony. As part of our support program there will be presentations by specialists on the themes of start-ups, marketing and financing. All our readers are warmly invited to drop by at our stand and watch the fun!

Don’t think that the Fast Forward Award is the only reason you should visit our 5002 m stand at electronica’s East entrance. As usual we will be showcasing lots of new Elektor books as well as loads of interesting hardware and boards. The Genuino 101 and the BME280 shield from Intel/Mouser can be seen in action. Also on our stand will be the high quality SUPRA preamp, the new Nixie Clock, the SDR shield, the contactless energy transfer system, the 500 ppm LCR meter, the Swiss Pi board, the BBC micro:bit weather station and many other projects published in Elektor. Some items such as the Sand Clock the BBC micro:bit docking station and a fascinating RGB Clock have not even been published yet! And STOP PRESS: our D-Watt audio amplifier.

You can also drop in to any of our technical talks and demonstrations. The developers of the Red Pitaya will be with us again on our stand and will be introducing an interesting new board. On Tuesday we will be hosting a presentation by LabNation, the developers of SmartScopes, they will also be running demos and you will have the chance to put questions to the team.

Of course you will also get the chance to meet the Elektor editorial team Ferdinand te Walvaart, Jan Buiting, Clemens Valens, Jan Visser and myself.

This year looks to be as frantic as ever and you are cordially invited to drop by at our massive Stand 200 in Hall EOE (East Entry) for a chat, we are always happy to meet you and look forward to your visit!