Sunday, May 20, 2007

Maker Faire

Went to the Maker Faire on Saturday. The Maker Faire (in case you don't feel like clicking over) is:

"A two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It's for creative, resourceful folks who like to tinker and love to make things. We call them Makers."

Lots of inventions, hacks, robots. Several opportunities to make and learn new things. And for me, lots of opportunities to be completely clueless. And I have a fair amount of geek knowledge but nothing even close to this level.

The highlight of the day was meeting a blogger friend. It was the first time I've met one of my bloggy friends and it was really cool. She and her husband had a booth, showing their prize winning Dorkbake oven, giving information about their Hollywood chapter of Mobile Movie and information about 3D imaging. Really cool stuff! I just wish we had more time to chat so we could have gotten to know each other better.

Jimmy also has a friend who had a table there. It was a "Multitouch Multimedia Device". I don't really know what that is, but he had a hands-on table where we could play with the devices. There were 3 touchpads and a video camera and each touchpad created different effects on the screen, all controlled by your fingers.

This is the 2nd year for this event and I had only heard about it last week when Phin and I were in San Francisco and the guy at the Paper Source talked about it. So I expected more crafty things till I talked to my husband about it and realized that it was way more science and engineering oriented. The Faire is sponsored by Make Magazine and I found out through Jodi that the editor-in-chief of Make mag is married to the editor-in-chief of Craft Magazine so the faire is a combination of both of their passions. The crafty part filled about 1/4 of the main expo hall, which included the Bizaar Bizaare, what is dubbed as "Not your granny's craft fair". There were about 30-50 (?) eclectic crafters selling their handiwork. Lots of temptations to spend. Many things called my name. But I left with just one purchase of a pair of silver earrings made by a local artist.

Here are a few other highlights of the day:
A hacked Roomba vacuum cleaner. Make art with Roomba.

The Art Of Motion Control
I want one of these. There's a computer program that controls the magnetic ball that automatically "draws" in the sand. Too bad Jimmy has to work otherwise I'd make him make one!

Of course, a geekfest wouldn't be complete without aliens.

And alien/government (same thing, right?) thought-protecting beanies. Make your own!
edit: oops. I shouldn't have said that about aliens/government being the same thing. I don't wanna offend any aliens. My bad.

Tesla Coils
I don't know much about tesla coils. Something to do with electricity. And some other stuff. So here's a wiki link if you're interested in more info. But it was really cool to see.
These were in the big expo hall. Lightning inside a building. Craziness! (I like how in this picture it looks like the lightning is going thru the head of the kid in red and out of his right ear.)

Now this guy. Take a look at his hair. And eyebrows for that matter. The electricity that's charging thru him. He would touch the tesla coil and when the...victim...went to touch him, he would create a bolt of lightning between them.
If you make this photo bigger, you can see the tiny bit of electricity that's being passed between the scientist and the victim. There were other bolts that were more impressive, but this was the best I could capture.

And a faire wouldn't be complete without carnival rides. But the coolest thing was that all of the rides were human-powered.

A bike powered...
Yo-Yo Swing ride.
Actually, it took 4 bikes to power this ride.

The nose picker was also a carnival attraction. The human runs in a hamster-like running wheel to lift the finger into the nose. A popular attraction for the kids, you can imagine.

Onlookers, ready to watch the...

Life size Mousetrap
Now, I have a unexplainable phobia of cranes. This kind, not the bird. But I clicked a quick photo of this as they were lifting the 2000 pound safe before they started the mousetrap. It's like the game we all played as kids.
Including the bathtub.
They just used bowling balls instead of marbles. And smashed cheese with the safe instead of capturing a big mouse with the trap.

Another fun event of the day was the Swap-o-rama fashion show. Look for that in another post.


Ginnie said...

Wow, Mad. This looks like a hoot! I can see why you had a blast. The things people think up!

Ragged Around the Edges said...

What a cool, fun event. Neato (is that a word. . . seemed like one that might be tossed around at such a thing.) Such creative people out there.

zann said...

ohmagoodness. This looks right up DH & my ally. If ever we have money to travel I will have to put this festival on our "must do" list. Thanks for sharing, because I never would have known about this otherwise.

Nan said...

This looks like something I'd love to go to. The Bizarre Bizaar looks like fun, and all the science stuff fascinates me.