Maker Faire: Internet of (Cool) Things

(Published on the Actuate blog on May 19, 2014.) 

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Have you recently wrestled with a Rubik’s Cube? Struggled to solder? Prototyped with a 3D printer? Deployed a drone? Then maybe I saw you at the Maker Faire this last weekend.

The¬†Maker Faire¬†is a spinoff event of O‚ÄôReilly‚Äôs¬†Make¬†magazine. A hybrid science fair/county fair, Maker Faire brings together thousands of hackers, builders, artists, cooks, gardeners, crafters, and others, all eager to strut their stuff and learn from each other in a spirit of open collaboration. There are 3D printers, Tesla coils, and crazy vehicles galore. And there‚Äôs stuff to gawk at, such as a¬†26-foot-tall fire-spouting metal octopus made of scrap metal, a drone battle zone, and a musical stage powered by listeners ‚Äď the faster the audience¬†pedals, the louder the music.

It‚Äôs a lot of fun, but the Maker Faire has a serious side, too: To encourage experimentation, creativity, and problem-solving. Many exhibits and activities are made for kids, and some of them are made¬†by¬†kids. My favorite of those featured 12-year-old Saurabh Narain, who has built a robot based on Lego Mindstorms EV3 Intelligent Brick that can solve a Rubik‚Äôs Cube in 30 moves and less than two minutes. You have to¬†see it to believe it. But don‚Äôt feel bad about being bested by a ‚Äėbot: Saurabh‚Äôs proud father admitted to me that he can‚Äôt solve the Rubik‚Äôs Cube either.

Read the rest here. 

Maker Faire image by Fred Sandsmark.