The Maker Faire is being held in the Bay Area this weekend. I'm here to help, to experience, to learn, to relate. I'm here for 3 days.
Today I volunteered with the education groups, taking tours around while wearing an Intel shirt, side by side with Intel employees from Texas, Oregon and the Bay Area. The news cameras were everywhere, and I amused myself (and co-docent Tom Stroebel) with the thought that I would be showing up in everyone's photos that way: in an Intel shirt right next to lots of Intel employees. Zelig.
Today's focus was the education groups. Elementary, middle and high-school groups participated along with home-schoolers. The excitement meter? Over-the-top high! The parents and kids were having fun too! Alice (in Wonderland)!
There's so much to write about, and I didn't get to see all the presenters up close (busy nudging kids in the right direction). I'm categorizing the displays by location, as it may help you to find your way around Maker Faire.
The narratives are really just to put the photos and videos into perspective.
The South Lot
Fun Bike Unicorn Club
The tour began at the South Lot, featuring the Fun Bike Unicorn Club with their collection of unique bicycles. Bicycles constructed to designs based loosely on (among others) the penny-farthing bicycle. Club members in their vintage clothing explained their designs. What could be better than having the exhibitors get on the bikes and ride them around the ring? Why having the bicycles escape to the OUTSIDE of the ring! It took the bicycles out of the display case and onto the street. I felt as if I was in Olde America. Hm... Methinks I must learn how to weld. Video.
Kids had the chance to make fire at the display of this non-profit Oakland based industrial arts group. Pressing the different buttons on a panel releases propane via a solenoid valve. The propane disperses past an igniter and WHOOSH!!! (just like that... WHOOSH!!!) They hold classes and camps in ancient arts like blacksmithing, welding and glass-blowing. Hey, welding classes!
Some folks reading this may already be familiar with this group, as there are chapters in many locations, incuding one at our favorite university, CSULB! I've been to an AIAA rocket launching on a trip with Long Beach BSA Troop 14. Today the (somewhat smaller but no less fun) rockets were being launched in the San Mateo Convention Center parking lot!
Greeted by the Rain Chain
I'm not sure what this piece is called, but I'll call it the Rain Chain. It looks like rain, it's made of chain. Fun to drag your hand along the outside, or walk through it. Even twirling, but if you do, keep your hands in!
The fun continued in the Fiesta Hall, where Arc Attack! and the Singing Tesla Coils did a hair-raising performance with giant on-stage Tesla coils. Flashes of charged light were issued from the coils as the notes of a Star Wars themed melody were played. The band was accompanied by a humanoid drum-playing robot.
It's got Intel inside! As the story goes, this folks at SISU Devices and the folks at Intel got together to make the Pipe Dreams video by Animusic real. Apparently, anyone who's used the internet in the past 10 years is aware of this video - except me. Ninety days later, the dream became a reality. Paintball sized plastic balls are issued from dispensers and land on strings, drums, keyboards. The innards? The video says it all.
Intel Community Lot
I don't recall if this lot had a name, but I'll call it the Intel Community Lot. It's where some of the folks who are Intel makers (and demonstrating at the show) brought out their goodies to share with their co-workers and 2,000 kids today! Here's where I'm sorry I couldn't spend more time... I think that my co-docent Tom had as hard a time keeping track of me as he did of the other kids! Still, I saw a few up close.
The Reverse Geocache Puzzle Box
A creation of Intel employee Mikal Hart, this box is a very cool device that will open at the right location. What is that location? Hopefully it comes with instructions! Before the box is locked, coordinates are programmed in. If the box is not unlocked before the batteries run down, it doesn't unlock. Period. Well, there's always the smash option, I guess. Possible uses? A gift certificate to a store at the mall, perhaps? When the recipient arrives at the doorway of the correct store and pushes the button, hey presto! A cool way to frustrate your bride? Perhaps. Video.
A Bit of Steampunk in Your Maker?
Well, hello there, Captain ChronoMec and all your gadgets! A video walk through the world of a new SteamPunk superhero and lots of cool devices. Video.
Olde Fashioned Punch Press
A demonstration of making gears and cutting metal with a giant punch press, the olde fashioned way.
Up Close and Personal with a 3-D Printer
Young Maker Schuyler St. Leger demonstrated his 3-D printer. Apparently the 3-D printers arrive in a box - unassembled. It's no fun if it's easy! Schuyler had been busy printing out keychains for us as souvenirs.
Pete Edman's Plastic Art
An introduction to plastic welding, courtesy of Pete Edman.
The funny thing about today? There were only about 20 of the 800 Makers presenting today!
Trish writes as for Patch and as Handmade Penguin for the Handmade Penguin blog