I had the great fortune to be able to attend Maker Faire 2013 in Flushing Corona Park in Queens, NY two weekends ago. I had never actually heard about Maker Faire previously, so finding news of it while looking for items of interest to write about was pretty fortunate. Also finding out about it before it occurred was pretty great too. So to all of you who read this article and wish I had put this up two weeks ago, I’m sorry… But at least you’ll be prepared for the amazement that takes place there when you go next year (and yes, it IS coming back next year).
Maker Faire is a gigantic (and I mean whoa, gigantic) science fair that takes place yearly around the country. It started in the San Francisco Bay area back in 2006, and there has been an annual faire at Flushing Corona Park each year since 2010. Basically what you get is a mix of several fantastic and interesting items:
1) Businesses of a Scientific Nature. This was really great. Seeing so many businesses coming together to sponsor this event and set up shop was truly inspiring. Raspberry Pi was in attendance with a large pavilion. Radio Shack set up a huge tent that taught people how to solder by giving you your own electronic “MakerBot” pin to assemble. Arduino was present and displaying great uses for the expandable computer board systems. Piles and piles of 3D printer companies were all showing off their machines and how accurately and quickly they could produce printed media.
2) People who Build Cool Stuff. That’s broad, right? This is the biggest section of the faire. Someone built something interesting, they got a booth, they are showing it off to whomever wants to see it!
One gentleman was using Arduino boards to augment LEGO statues, whether it was a TARDIS with working doors and Dr. Who themed music, or a Mario statue that bounced and moved to the tune of the classic Super Mario games, this guys had a lot to offer the gamer/sci-fi community. There was a great booth for the “Nerdy Derby” which allowed children to make their own derby car, on site, test it on their track, and then make improvements based upon observations. And not enough could ever be said about the electric car races. A weekend long competition of fully electric go-karts based in a bracket racing scenario.
A big hello needs to go to the very talented robotics students at the NY City College of Technology who were showing off the creations of their fabulous robotics club! Their punch caddy robot must be highlighted for being ingenious in that is not only serves you punch, but it keeps it well mixed also!
They were fantastically friendly, very helpful, and they served a lovely fruit punch while they were at it! If you are interested in the City College Engineering Programs, check them out here: City College of Technology
3) Vendors. I can’t even scratch the surface of the number of vendor booths there were! Practically everything is for sale to begin with, but when you couple that with an entrepreneurial spirit that borders on the obsessively geeky you come out with some of the most interesting items you could ever hope to purchase! Inventive new musical instruments, craft items from all walks of sci-fi, ancient “junk” turned into modern art, microscopes, telescopes, kaleidoscopes, and well… take a look and see….
Image Source: [MakerFaire]