Saturday, June 8, 2013

Seattle Mini Maker Faire

Today I visited the Seattle Center and took a look around the Seattle Mini Maker Faire. What is the "Mini Maker Faire" you might ask? Well it was like a science faire, but instead of learning about how bubbles are made or what happens when you mix one thing with another, this was about electronics and the world of gadgetry.

For the most part it was about seeing 3D printers in action, making all sorts of plastic niceties. I have to say I'm intrigued about these 3D printers. For one it seems the people behind them really want to get their products made perfectly, which is fine but does this mean they're making art? Is the machine the artist? ....Otherwise the faire was a lot of hands on and exploring with things that light up, come together and move.

There you could talk to different engineers about their "kits" and projects. There was a robotic Ouija board, where it scanned a card with a written question and then proceeded to spell out it's answer. I was too amazed too follow along with the answer to my question, "Will I succeed?"

I'm seeing now that 3D printing is the plastic wave of the future as a lot of the production of these things were versatile, and the kids loved it. Not just the kids who got to geek out but I saw many adults, of varying ages, enjoy the different booths.

I liked one "kit" a person was demonstrating of a cardboard movie-box kit, that you can use to make movies off your iPhone or iPad (of which I have none).

I thought this incredibly useful for the classroom and enjoyed seeing kids come up and get into it.

If you didn't quite understand what you were looking at, the people behind the gizmos were eager to tell you all about it. Even though I didn't really understand much of what they said I put two and two together, somehow. There seems to be a lot going on with circuit boards that can do all sorts of things.

It's hard to tell but the above picture is of a little robot arm holding a marker that is wired by a circuit board. It's drawing out some kind of picture, but with only just one line. Cool!?

Remember those contraptions that made "Spin Art"? Well here was the same thing but you used a hand crank to power the spinning while a friend painted their paper. This brought back memories and gave it all a new spin. ;)

Here, you can do the same thing but a person needs to use the bicycle to get the thing spinning.

Overall, there was a lot to look at and discover as you walked around. I really found it endearing to see children getting hands on experience with electronics and this side of the sciences. Although I'm not teaching children anymore I felt inspired if I ever end up in that kind of classroom again.

There was a soldering table for folks and kids to learn the tool. I think I've used it before...but in a much larger scale in sculpture class. Then near my way out was a piano made out of bananas hooked up to someones laptop. The future is now, people!

Who knows what will be showing at this kind of faire in 5 or 10 years, one could only imagine. :)

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