Saturday, 6 July 2013

London Mini Maker Faire 6th July 2013

Today I attended my first Maker Faire, at Elephant & Castle, London. For the uninitiated this is the greatest show and tell experience for children (read: adults) of the maker revolution. Everything from knitting and textiles to electronics and 3D printing all in one place set out like a school fete.

I expected there to be lots of stand, which there were, with companies selling their wares, but what really surprised me was the large number of interactive learning experiences on offer from vendors and from the event itself.

My favourite interactive experience of the day, was standing in a mock photographic studio, jumping up and down screaming at a camera in order for it to trigger the camera to take my photo. As you can see the result was... interesting! Thanks to @Triggertrap and their @Screamgrab camera. See more of their pictures here.

Another stand allowed me to write a secret message on a card and then use thermal paint of some description to screen print over the top. This meant that when cold the message was hidden, but as soon as you touched the paint with a source of heat, like your hand, the message was revealed. Thanks to @UCAPrintArea for the experience.

There were also a number of twitter interactive experiences. I had a robot @rbeetlelabs tweet me my fortune and a laser display my name when I tweeted it to #belshazzar (give it a go, it might still be displaying somewhere!)

One display by Blink Stick had a QR code that when scanned took you to a webpage that allowed you to select any colour, which in turn changed the colour of the lights on the stand. Of course once I was on that page, I was changing it all day long :) (sorry guys if it was annoying!) 

One of the most impressive things about Maker Faire is the large number of volunteers running workshops like 'Learn how to solder'. I bought a robot LED badge kit for £2 and started to solder the circuit  Sadly, the iron was far too hot and the solder was a bit rubbish so I got frustrated and decided to take it home and solder it later. I think for first timers it might be a little frustrating but then I guess they do not know any different. For me it was too annoying to sit there trying to do, but kudos to those guys giving up their time to run it and teach people. There were other workshops that were completely sold out on using blender, scratch and maKey maKey. 

If you have never been to a maker faire, I thoroughly recommend you get along to one. It is fun for the whole family. I don't think I've ever seen so many young people having fun and learning new skills all for free, nor so many teenage girls. I was stopped by a man with his daughters as I walked around who remembered me as 'that geek girl' and they seemed really interested in my experiences of the day. I hope they had fun. 

Video log of the day to come...

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