I wanted to write a separate post about a few other experiences that really inspired me at this year's Maker Faire here in the SF Bay Area. I know that you'll get to experience some of these at the other events as well - if so, make sure you go and find them! I'm already plotting how I might participate in next year's fun by creating something along these lines. THAT is exactly what Maker Faire is about - get inspired and then try it out yourself.
Pat Marsh and Matt Franks - frog design - 3D Light Trikes
It's amazing what these Makers accomplished both on their own and with some of the other talented folks at frog design. They really embody the Maker spirit and provided a whole lot of folks with a powerful in person experience. It's not often you get to experience a ride like this outside of an amusement park. This is a fun inside look at exactly how they built this cool experience from the ground up in just a few months.
Ken Murphy - A History of the Sky and Panoramic Time Lapse
What I loved most about Ken's installation was the way it was an oasis in the midst of the noisy chaos of Fiesta Hall. Just a few minutes hanging out on the blow up couches he brought, watching his fun and amazing experience, left me feeling refreshed and ready for more.
Robotgrrl - Robobrrds
A crowd favorite in the past, I was really happy to get a chance to talk with Erin aka Robogrrl about her new Robobrrds projects for this year's Maker Faire. What I actually got was a tour through the whole progression of experiments and a peek into the future as well. Be sure to watch this one for some good cues on approaching your own projects.
Erik Johnson - PersonaLED
We've had a chance to follow Erik's work for the past couple of years. To learn more about his awesome hand-crafted, wearable and programmable LED squares, watch the artfuture interview from last year. This year Erik brought a giant LED and some other fun visual aids to educate us on how LEDs can create 4 different colors with only a single LED. He also quietly brought along a cool "fire wall" piece that you catch a glimpse of on the wall behind the booth. Can't wait until he starts making those in a size I can buy (hint, hint).
O Yeah Toys
I'm always amazed by the creativity and sometimes sheer stubborness that all of these Makers show in their pursuit of their projects. I would be remiss if I didn't mention one of my favorite craft and displays that I didn't get an interview with this year. This year there were close to 100,000 people at Maker Faire and the fairgrounds were bursting at the seams. I can get fairly overwhelmed by all the noise and hubbub so I made a habit of visiting the O Yeah Toys booth a few times a day.
Surrounded by all manner of mathematically pleasing shapes, patterns and dragons I enjoyed talking with the proprietors and watching the world go by. I also watched in some horror at the treatment their light pillar trees received at the hands of both adult and child Maker Faire attendees. While that brought to mind the end of civilization - they way they interacted with one and all was good instruction for me on dealing with people gone numb and unkind from overstimulation and habit.
This is the kind of business that inspires me right to the ground. Their amazing structures and beautiful toys are definitely the kind of thing that we should and do support until they thrive. Rock on Stan and O Yeah Toys! I'm getting that interview next year - and we're gonna talk about how you make mathematics beautiful and in the world!