Skip navigation

Maker Faire

May 2012 Previous month Next month

I'd like to share a few more hacks that stood out to me.  In addition to his boost converter business card, Parker Dillman (aka Longhorn Engineer) built a portable NES housed in a 3-D printed case:


Sophi Kravitz built a very interesting device called the Texting Trapper:

Texting Trapper knows when you are texting, calling or accessing the internet. This is a fun and interactive exhibit that measures the strength of your cell phone signal or radiation.

There's a nice series of posts on her blog describing the design of the cell phone detection circuitry.  Of course, Maker Faire often throws unexpected hurdles at makers and such was the case for Sophi.  She found that the RF levels in the exhibition hall were overwhelming the device.  The solution: build a Faraday cage!


This last hack, the Electric Imp, allows any device with an SD card slot to become Internet connected.  Cabe already wrote an informative post on this upcoming product.  Here's a great interview with the creator, Hugo Fiennes, by Make's Matt Richardson:



As a computer history buff, I really dig the name, too, as it was named after the first model of Internet router, Interface Mesage Processor or IMP.




NOTE: I recorded a handful of videos with my smartphone, but I didn't shoot any of the below videos.  I just found them while watching a bunch on YouTube.  Thanks to those who created the ones I embedded in this post.


RobotGrrl brought many of her robots including this RoboBrrd modded to read NFC hats:



I got a chance to speak with RobotGrrl at the Bring-A-Hack afterparty and she showed me her latest RoboBrrd which is "Maker Faire proof".  It seems several RoboBrrd's have been injured when kids grab the moving parts like the flapping wings.  She changed the design of the motor linkage so this won't harm the motors anymore.


I love electronics, but there's plenty of nifty things at Maker Faire which don't require the flow of electrons like this custom pedal car race on a figure-8 track:



Of course some of the attractions at Maker Faire make up for this by using more than their fair share of electricity:



I'd seen Arc Attack before but never with a guitar - how amazing!  And for fans of Myth Busters, Adam Savage shows how much fun air guitar can be when there are thousands of volts flying through the air:



Make had live streaming going throughout much of the weekend:




It's mostly uncut but there are many interesting moments throughout.  The recordings are in the MakeMagazine YouTube channel and also at:


Highlights from our Live Broadcast


I've found it to be very nice to leave on in the background while working on projects or doing chores in the kitchen.


And now that your eyes have feasted on this plate full of Maker Faire videos, you might be thinking: what's for dessert?







I was excited to see the video answers from Eben Upton of Raspberry Pi posted today:



Ian and Skyler from Dangerous Prototypes were a blast to hangout with at Maker Faire, and they've just released a nicely edited 10 minute video on the Faire which offers many tips for prospective exhibitors:



Dangerous Prototypes also made a nice video of different projects people brought to Maker Faire and the Bring-A-Hack after party (my hrmshield is at ~2min ): also has a nice montage of Maker Faire action:



MakerBot TV provides another glimpse of the Faire including their ingenious Robot Petting Zoo:



Finally, with so much going on at Maker Faire, I had to make the tough choice to skip many of the interesting talks that were held throughout both days.  Thankfully many of them can now be watched on





I just posted in the Jeri Ellsworth group about her amazing C64 meets bass guitar hack:




The first hack I saw was actually on Friday night when Parker Dillman (aka Longhorn Engineer) handed me his business card which is a functional boost converter PCB:


I was very impressed by the details such as the QR code on silk screen and how thin and flexible the board was.  It was also quite fortuitous as I'm working on a project that needs just such a boost converter.


The skot9000 DigitGrid was also very impressive with its 512 7-segment displays showing off their ability to display animations:


(watch video)


Jeff Keyzer (aka mightyohm) showed off how hackable his open source hardware Geiger counter kit is by connecting 5 of them to an Arduino MIDI shield to play musical tones according to each's counts per minute:


(watch video by Jaren Havell)


And as Maker Faire wound down on Sunday, every single person stopped for a few moments and revelled in the novelty of the solar eclipse.  Laen of DorkbotPDX (those purple batch PCBs!) hacked a mightyohm bumper sticker to provide a stunning visualization:




There were so many amazing contraptions besides the few hacks I wrote about above.  I'll be posting here about my about Maker Faire Bay Area experiences more in the next few days.




Howdy, Maker Faire Bay Area is truly a sight to behold.  The scale is almost too crazy for a 2 day event.  There's definitely enough to fill every minute from when the gates open to close.  I'll write up a more detailed post later but just wanted to mention that I'm tweeting from @pdp7:!/pdp7


And here a few photos I've posted so far:!/pdp7/media/grid


I'm uploading all my photos now to picasa so I'll make a better gallery later.  I really enjoyed meeting Eben Upton and hearing him speak on the Raspberry Pi.  I also dug getting to see Joe Grand and Zoz Brooks talk about the awesome series that used to be on Discovery, Prototype This! 


And I was encouraged to hear in the Arduino talk that the team has decided to switch the DUE to Cortex M3 and they are now looking for beta testers at Maker Faire to give the initial batch of boards to.  Also the Leonardo was released today and having eliminated the separate chip for USB, it is only $20 retail. The WiFi shield is almost ready for release the Arduino team announced too and it can be used as either shield or standalone (programmed directly).


It was also great to meet simon.monk and see him present 20 Thing You Can Do With Arduino on stage in the Maker Shed.  And finally, after all the fun during the day, Ben Heck decided the hotel bar needed more 3-D printing!



If you're in the area come on by on Sunday (oh gosh technically it is Sunday which means I should go to bed ).  Eben will demo Raspberry Pi on the Demo Stage at 11am and Ben will show off his 3-D printer at 5pm on the Demo Stage.