Ideas like FabLab at MIT, eMachineShop, and the TechShop keep me optimistic that the tinkerers and makers out there will keep churning out really cool stuff.
Some enterprising people turn these ideas into great business concepts like Squid Labs
I remember reading an article a while back about a professor at MIT that took $10,000 worth of equipment into various economically depressed areas around the world and the children in those areas would create really interesting things. Some developed tools to make farming easier ...why were these tools never conceived by the brains at the corporations around the world?
I'll see if I can find that and post as well.