Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Maker Faire 2009

San Mateo County Expo Center

I spent all day Sunday at the Maker Faire, but probably didn't come close to seeing everything. Whoever is marketing & organizing this thing, they are doing a great job. Besides the wonderfully obsessed DIYers showing off personal projects like a 205-pound bicycle or clothing that requires batteries, the place hosted a variety of kit-oriented vendors & was crowded with families. There's no recession here. Probably the only things that didn't draw huge audiences were the many speaker presentations.

Giant wing sculptureI especially liked seeing the large-scale Burning Man constructions. My favorite was an operatically sized pair of metal wings, which is completed by a person standing in a ring in its center as the whole thing rotates. I also enjoyed the provocative mechanical sculptures in the Applied Kinetic Arts booth.

Steampunk costumesThe Steampunk aesthetic was quite conspicuous at the show, especially on the movement's strangely enticing adherents, whose Victorian-inspired attire always seems to include goggles & corsets.

A discovery at the show for me was Arduino, an open-source platform for components that allow you to build your own smart devices. For the electronics & computer geeks, there was plenty of compare-and-contrast discussion over the many packaged versions of Arduino hardware. It's the kind of the thing that might just force me to learn how to solder.

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