This is interesting, but I don't think that hipsters are the culprits.
Let's look back at some history. I would argue that from the time that Hitler came into power in Germany to the failure of the Soviet economy in the 1980's, there was a strong and steady demand for technologies that did awesome stuff with matter (and with information to some extent). The demand for better weapons created a steady stream of spin-offs into the civilian sector. For example, we got satellites because Hitler wanted supersonic revenge weapons and Eisenhower and Khrushchev wanted ICBM:s to point at one another. These spin-offs stopped coming when the Soviet economy failed, because then the US no longer had a technologically advanced enemy.
There have been some mildly impressive weapons programs since the cold war, the F-35 and the Russian PAK-FA come to mind. The F-22 was a formidable plane when it went into service, but the mechanical design was mostly done by the time the Soviet Union dissolved.
Now, this is basically a good thing, of course. The only drawback is that the spin-off effects into the civilian sector have stopped coming and it has taken a long time for the private sector to pick up the slack.
I think this is the reason why the time between 1990 and 2015 has been relatively boring in terms of doing mechanical things, except for a few companies like SpaceX and Tesla that have begun to appear recently. I think there is more to come in the next few decades, and not just From Elon Musk.