Sep

30

 I really enjoyed Maker Faire! There were a ton of great activities, lectures, and geek gear. I was really encouraged to see the amount of young people there who were enthralled by science and inventing, and also appeared very eager to learn.

We hear so much about the decline of US competitiveness in technology and entrepreneurship, and the lack of interest in the sciences. Compared to the dark mood currently hanging over our great nation, this event was a much needed breath of fresh air for me. I saw rows of eager young kids attending workshops to learn how to solder and build what might have been their first electronics projects. Others were learning how to put together tiny BEAM bots. There was a sense of wonder in the air, which filled me with excitement and brought me back to my own early days of discovering the sciences as a child. Who knows what kind of fires these early sparks will lead to, and what amazing new technologies one of these kids may eventually come up with?

I got to finally see 3D printers first hand, that while not perfect compared to commercial models, may usher in a personal manufacturing revolution. For a relatively inexpensive amount, you can build your own completely open source 3d printer that allows you to make objects from different materials in a matter of hours limited mostly by your own imagination and ingenuity. Nigel could print his own custom designed chess pieces!

I was lucky enough to see a lecture from the creator of the Arduino, an inexpensive, powerful, easy to program chip with an assortment of customizable input/outputs that empowers tinkerers, artists, scientists, and others to come up with and control amazing creations.

One of my favorite talks was by a gentleman who had created a locked puzzle box as a wedding gift for a friend that would only open in a specific place to reveal its contents using an Arduino and GPS component.

I also got to see how to do some easy home electroplating which will make a great demo for my daughter when she gets a bit older.Finally, I treated myself to a kit to build an Ice Tube Clock for my next electronics adventure in the Maker Tent which had tons of interesting stuff to peruse and purchase.If any of this sounds interesting, I'd highly recommend checking out their magazine.

It was a wonderful day! As I left, my only regret was that I could not see everything they had to offer. I left full of hope for the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs, and I loved the Jet Ponies!


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