I just returned from San Francisco where I attended the world’s largest Maker Faire in San Mateo (aka the Bay Area Maker Faire). I’ve been to and exhibited at a number of Maker Faires but this was my first time at the ‘big one’ which originated in the Bay Area 9 years ago.
Wow. That’s the best word to describe the size and scale of the awesome. I basically spent two days walking around, taking it all in, shooting hundreds of photos and videos.
I was staying with my friend and prolific drone flyer, Eddie who has been dangling cameras from his drone for a while now. He was going to be participating in the Game of Drones event at Maker Faire. The way it was described over the weekend was robot wars with an added 3rd dimension. Like robot wars, two pilots control their machines in a gladiatorial combat style arena. Except with Game of Drones, they’re piloting quadcopters (and other multi-rotors) and fight in the air inside a mesh net cage (which as it turns out, is a drone killer in itself). Eddie and a number of others had made inexpensive drones while others had some serious money into their crafts.
After many battles over the course of the weekend, things culminated in an ALL DRONE combat where everyone left with a functional drone would battle at the SAME TIME. Here’s the final 11 minutes of the battle (I ran out of memory on my phone before the final winner was decided after 15 minutes of combat):
Needless to say, it was a fun event to watch.
There were so many other highlights, it’s hard to list them all but I’ll try to list a few things that caught my eye:
- there was no shortage of 3D printers from many new and familiar players – getting to see them in person was great as well as seeing some clever new designs. Even one that 3D prints pancakes (aka the PancakeBot):
- I particularly loved the nexus of art and technology at this Maker Faire. Everything from this life sized spirograph:
and the plethora of art cars that are familiar to the Burning Man crowd:
- these are the droids you’re looking for:
- DIY smartphones
- LED Pixel art was huge at the faire
- this is a 3D printed, fully articulated parrot puppet. I wish I got video of it
- Inventables had a booth showing their new web based CNC mill software called Easel. Visitors could mill their own bottle opener handle on a Shapeoko2 mill which I am now lusting over
- Seeing projects in person that I’ve only read about was a highlight. Like the OpenROV
and the CubeSAT projects
- I found this neat project for the Raspberry Pi, called ISS Above, that lets you track the position of the International Space Station and it will alert you when it’s overhead (more often than you think)
3D Robotics (makers of the opensource drone hardware) produced this great video, from the air above Maker Faire:
I could go on for a few more days talking about all the cool stuff I saw. For now though, you can take a peak at my Maker Faire Bay Area Flickr album. I’ll definitely be back next year.
On a related note, Vancouver’s own Maker Faire is coming up on June 7-8. I’ll be there with members of 3D604.org and our 3D printers as well as giving a talk about the current state of 3D printing. Hope to see you there!