My wife and son and I went up to New York City last weekend to attend the World Maker Faire. It was our first. It was very impressive to see all the makers. A journalist described Maker Faire as being a family-friendly combination of the Consumer Electronics Show and Burning Man. I’ve never been to either, but from what I’ve read, that sounds like it captures some of the flavor. The CES-like portion, however, is more equipment for Makers, not finished electronics products. The exhibits and booths range from high school robotics teams to corporate exhibits (e.g., Arduino), with a very broad range, from textiles to Purina’s DIYCat tent..
Click the photo to view a small photo set from the Faire. Adafruit has a much larger gallery of pictures posted here.
In addition to the exhibits, there are learning areas, including Learn to Solder, lockpicking classes, and build an air-powered rocket for kids, as well as short 20 minute or so talks at multiple stages throughout both days, and some large exhibits such as the human-sized mousetrap show and Eepy-Bird’s Coke and Mentos fountains extravaganza.
The presentations I went to included Multirotors 101, Shrinking the Size of Your Arduino Projects, Hacking the Unhackable: How We Can Make the Entire Word Interactive, and Getting Started with the Arduino YUN. My son attended talks including ones on the Rasberry Pi and on how the Maker Faire is, in its own way, continuing the traditions of Worlds Fares of old. The Shrinking the Size of Your Arduino project was about a product I hadn’t seen before, the TinyDuino. This is an Arduino-compatible board the size of a quarter, WITH it’s own set of shields! It’s the latter that really distinguishes it from other tiny Arduino compabitle boards.
It was definitly a fun weekend, with stuff for the whole family. I’m very glad we drove up to New York and spent the weekend. Now having attended the World Maker Faire, I don’t feel the need to make it a must-do annual trip, but I definitely want to return repeatedly . We went for a day and a half, but for the future, will probably make it just a one day event.