News broke this week that police had arrested 14-year-old Texas student Ahmed Mohamed for bringing his homemade digital clock to school, where teachers and later police, mistook it for something they curiously called a “hoax bomb.”
Mohamed has received overwhelming support from the country at large. He’s also gotten some pretty high-profile invitations: President Obama asked him to swing by the White House; Mark Zuckerberg said he’d love to meet Mohamed at Facebook; and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield invited him to join a science show.
Today, the people at Maker Media, Inc. tell Inverse that Mohamed has accepted their invitation, via his sister, Ayisha, to attend next week’s Maker Faire in New York, the annual gathering of “tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors.”
Organized by the hobbyist magazine Make, it bills itself as a place for makers to celebrate their do-it-yourself work and ethos. Mohamed’s homemade clock should slot in perfectly, as it’s a simple innovation of creativity, curiosity, and ingenuity.
Caleb Kraft, for Make, writes that any novice builder would know Mohamed’s clock could never ever be a bomb: “Clocks are not bombs. Circuits are not bombs. The part that makes a bomb a bomb is the explosive. Anyone with a modicum of Maker knowledge could have looked at this and seen that it is just a circuit. But if your education on bombs were to come exclusively from movies, well then, maybe this project did look a little like a prop.”
Maker Faire might also be a good venue for Mohamed to gently begin his ascent into fame, as he was catapulted there quite quickly today. Before the inevitable onslaught of television interviews and think-pieces, he could just head to the New York Hall of Science in Flushing, Queens and do what he loves: build stuff. At Maker Faire, he’ll likely be lauded as not only a hero, but also as a fellow member of the community.
He can be a symbol for reform, but it’s undeniable that he is first a smart kid.