On Saturday, I attended the first ever Maker Faire to happen in Chicago:
I was very impressed by the number of makers and attendees. It was also wonderful to see a Chicago Public School be the venue. What a cool prinicple!
In addition to free admission to all public school students, I thought it was great to see how many students were involved in staffing the faire. From working the registration tables to directing traffic in the hallways (it's a big school!). Many of the Maker exhibits were also done by students including composting and gardening exhibit which you can kinda seen in the distance in the photo above.
A high school cafeteria can bring back some negative memories, but anyone can sit at the cool kids table at this Maker Faire (and learn how locks work with TOOOL). This was by far the coolest cafeteria I've ever seen with the bulk of the exhibits spread throughout. The exhibits and activities were quite diverse as this snippet from the faire's website highlights:
And thank you to everyone who attended, planted a flower, pet a chicken, blasted a nerd, shot a basketball, participated in a circus, picked a lock, built your own Chicago, built a blinkie, constructed a catapult, designed recycled jewelry, composed a song, learned about glass-blowing, created a T-shirt scarf, painted your own knife wound, braided Renaissance style hair, joined a hackerspace, worked a 3D printer, operated a robot, rode a DIY segway, completed an electrical circuit, chilled with the Wandering States, and MADE something!
When I first walked in, these creepy creations by a FX artist caught my eye:
Turning around, I gazed upon on upon amazing scale paper models of Chicago landmarks:
The clever part is that the pieces are cut out of postcards that you can mail!
DIY 3D printer company, MakerBot Industries, was doing 3D portraits of attendees. Simply sit in a swivel chair and turn while a Kinect captures your profile. The 3D model of your head is then sent to the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer which prints out a little copy of your head!
Right across from MakerBot's table, there was a DIY Arduino-powered segway being shown off:
And Dwayne and Dale from 2D Kits brought a heap of soldering irons, tons of different kits to choose from, and plenty of patience to help people make them right there.
I really dug that the objective for FIRST robotics this year was a basketball-style game - and the kids did, too!
And finally it's hard to go to a Maker Faire without coming home with a bunch of cool stuff!
All the photos I took are in a Picasa gallery. And, if you're in the area, there is also a Maker Faire being planned in Evanston in August! Details are still being worked out but should be Friday evening, August 4, and all Saturday, August 5.