Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Maker Faire 2011– Bay Area Recap

Each year, I head out to Maker Faire, thinking I’ve seen it all, but I know that can’t be true. And year after year…well, I haven’t been disappointed yet! Besides enjoying some quality time in the gorgeous California sun, we managed to get our project demos up and running for the event.

Here’s the booth, with Will and Francis doing some final setup work on the projects.

Testing the Projects

Of course, it wouldn’t be Maker Faire without Gerard’s Paella, which also makes for a great excuse to meet and mingle with some fellow makers:


By Saturday, we had a chance to deck out the booth with the RC “street view” car, affectionately named Zippy :)

Zippy with a Camera

The car had a PS3 Eye camera strapped on to stream video out onto the BeagleBoard and BeagleTouch, which was something I only dreamed of doing as a kid. DIY tech has come a long way since!

Speaking of DIY (and open source) tech, it’s pretty neat to see that the Arduino hasn’t lost any steam. Google put together an Android Accessory Development Kit that they were giving out.

Google Android Accessory Development Kit Box

It comes with an Arduino Mega-based board with an onboard USB host and USB OTG port, and the Accessory Demo Shield (bottom). The Accessory Demo Shield is especially neat…it’s like the ultimate controller/debugger shield, all in one. Buttons, relays, servo connectors, joystick and even a touch sensor! It puts a whole new spin on the kinds of Android/Beagle/Arduino projects I want to do…

Google Android Accessory Development Kit

Microchip and Digilent came out with a PIC32 that Mark shared with me. Pretty cool, since I can now drive all sorts of Arduino shields with a PIC controller…

Pic32 Uno

Pic32 Mega

Back at the booth, Will, Francis and I met a lot of hackers who stopped by to play around with the projects.

Android Demo


Each of us had a few moments to sneak away from the booth (in shifts) to wander through the Faire and check out what everyone else was up to.

I think this was the best country stage ever…the front porch if an old Western house.

CIMG6630 (Large)

A little steampunk and futuristic in a video-game kinda way, there’s nothing that stops you in your tracks like a robot sculpture that shoots fire. All I could say was…wow!

Robot that Shoots out Fire

And the most efficient four-wheeler ever- a new take on the tandem bike. I would love to have one of these, and maybe even mount an enclosure on this. I wonder what a cross-country road trip on this human powered car would be like. Probably fun and a great exercise :)

Most Fuel Efficient Four Wheeler

That’s all I pulled off the camera for now, and I’ll upload more pictures to Flickr when I get them. Thanks again to all the makers and hackers who stopped by, and I’ll be on the edge of my seat waiting for the next Maker Faire!