Maker Faire observations

Posted: September 23, 2013 in gallery or event viewing
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Despite having a head cold that is making it seem like I’m living in a dream like state during my waking hours I managed to make the trek out to the New York Hall of Science in Queens for the 2nd(?) NYC Maker Faire. This will have been my fourth time attending Maker Faire, the previous three having been in San Mateo, CA.  The first project I noticed was in the Microsoft tent and was called ‘Project Spark’; a new concept for creating worlds, characters, and plots in a role playing game WHILE PLAYING THE GAME! The graphics and UI were amazing, a Ginormous screen with a touch interface allowed very elegant control with extremely responsive play. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo as it was so crowded, but I did get a couple of these amazing robots that would box each other. They were being controlled by two kids standing in front of Kinects who were boxing into the air. Their movements controlled the robots punches, needless to say everyone was amused.

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The Kraftwurx 3D printing service, which is global and gives the client 83 materials to choose from including metals, plus the 3D scanning technology for highly customized, wearable, 3D printed fashion was off the hook.  I can’t imagine the possibilities these technologies are bringing to a global audience, they’re simply incredible. However what really blew my mind was a robot someone made that automated the pour-over style of coffee brewing that has become trendy at high-end coffee shops:

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I’m sure all my barista friends back in Oakland will get a huge laugh out of this.  I can’t tell you how many hours they spend doing this at coffee shops and farmer’s markets for blue bottle. Speaking of coffee someone also made an arduino controlled coffee roaster, I believe the device controlled the temperature and rotation of the beans:

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My favorite project I came across was one from a group of Young Makers from San Jose (I think) who made a huge gaming board inspired from the mobile-app game Flow. Toddlers and kids absolutely loved running around this thing and interacting with it. The people who made it envision using it for an educational tool that teaches children about team work, what a great idea!

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Finally, I came across a project called Mannahatta; a web app in the works from Wildlife Conservation Society (local non-profit that manages the NYC Zoo’s and does international work as well!) that is a scientific modeling tool for predicting NYC’s climate by the year 2409 (no idea why this date was chosen). This app is absolutely incredible because 1. it involves an interactive web map as a platform / interface for visualizing future land-use data, and 2. the GUI let users ‘paint’ small squares of land-use data on the map in a sim-city style fashion. The user could decide if a block would be grass, buildings, have a green roof, solar panels, a backyard orchard, etc.  After editing an area, say a block or several blocks, the model could be run and the user would see how the changes to the built environment they made would influence NYC’s climate in the future while comparing it with today’s climate and prior the invasion of western Europe. This is an educational service open to scientists as well as the public with a supposed launch date in December of this year. WOW!  I’m currently trying to talk the main person who created this app into giving a talk at the Geo NYC Meetup, we’ll see…

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Once again Maker Faire, you did not fail to impress me, definitely worth the ~2 hour subway commute each way and money spent on the ticket. Truly inspirational and exciting.

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