Recently I attended this year’s 2016 Maker Faire here in New York City, and it was really cool. It was also really big. I expected maybe a row of tents with big companies like radio shack, Vellman, Pi, Evil Mad Scientist, and others., and yes they were there, but there were also many smaller companies, news ones, cool and unheard of ones. It made the faire really really big.
There were also no bad booths. All the booths were amazing. also the hands on booths helped you to learn more about engineering, soldering, and other cool stuff, and gave individual attention to everyone, the goal seemed to be that everyone needed to learn something new.
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Far from the center of the faire was a small table sett up for The Fixers Collective with a guy named Vincent. The Collective is a group of people who fix broken appliances, computers, and other hard to fix tech. I think it is a lot better to fix tech than to throw it out. They even gave me a new 60-peice flexible mini screwdriver set. It has already come in handy.
Later on, in the same area I met with a group who helped us make our own “hex” type robots. Its a crawling robot based on the head of a toothbrush, with a motor that makes it “shake” so that it walks. This is just like the popular hex-bug store toy. It was fun, and a great introduction for a lot of the kids. Even though it was a little simple, it was really fun to complete. I keep mine in a glass jar that we got from the “Quaker” oatmeal people later in the faire.
Another booth closer to the entrance was the Hall of Science Ham Radio Amateur Club. These people are who we need to consult to get our radio lisence so we cab talk to our space balloon at high altitude. We may be able stream video for the altitude record. another thing you can do with a ham radio is talk to other people by pointing a ham radio modem at a satellite and talk to other people through it. If you can not get direct access to a building you can bounce the signal off a building and get to the satellite that way.
At Maker Faire I also met some pretty amazing people. Let me rephrase that, I MET AN ACTUAL EVIL MAD SCIENTIST named Lenore. I also met people from a bunch of different companies, even representatives of the Raspberry PI Foundation!.
I also met the people working with radio shack and we talked about my space balloon, the ideas and flaws and plans for the first and second flights. At radio shack, we also soldered a working drone, more about that in another post.
Bruce from the Velleman Store USA and I chatted for a bit. He had read my reviews and experiences with the Velleman kits. He recently sent me something really cool as a gift, more about that in my next post.
Google was there, giving out many google glasses with wheelbarrows at Maker Faire because they did not want any makers to get hurt if something flies near your eye. Very nice of them. I met a couple of Intel makers who seemed very interested in what i was doing and told me i could find projects similar to mine at the intel make space.
I worked really hard on this year’s Maker Faire Street Team so it was great to finally meet our coordinator Sharia Pierce. She was really happy and really friendly and we got to spend some time together talking about maker culture and how it has changed our lives.
The person I wanted to meet who was not there was Lady Ada from Adafruit Industries. I use many of her components, and her videos really help me learn new things. Her review of the Raspberry Pi Zero was the video that changed how I solder, she has such an amazing way of doing things.
I had some interesting conversations at all the booths and I had a Maker Faire photographer follow me the entire time. I met a kid who made his own robot and had it wandering around. I made new friends, and new projects. In all I Loved maker faire 2016 and I hope I get invited to go to maker fair next year. You learn so much from maker faire. It is really like comicon, but for makers like me.
FULL DISCLOSURE : I was given complimentary access to this year’s Maker Faire, in return for hard work done on the “Street Team” assignment. These tickets were not received in consideration for my blog post and were not taken into account when writing my blog.