Maker Faire, the greatest show (and tell) on Earth, came to Queens last weekend, and it brought a bevy of DIY gadgetry, technology and science with it. Although there weren't any pyrotechnics this year, the show was an explosion of 3D printing, robotics and larger-than-life spectacles, and it drew more makers and attendees than ever before. In case you missed the making extravaganza, we put together a list of cool things we saw at the show - like the world's largest Mousetrap game, video games with paramecium, trash being turned into art and music, and even a MetroCard robot dog. Read on to see them all!
Karlin Yeh (who is still a high school senior!) developed his own low cost, open source centrifuge called the OpenFuge. Using primarily off-the-shelf-parts, Yeh developed a more affordable centrifuge that can enable more people around the world to conduct biology experiments and medical tests. It’s no amateur project either; this centrifuge can spin up to 9000 RPM – more than enough to get most lab projects going.
Shelter 2.0 set up one of its temporary disaster shelters right in the middle of the fair so that people could step inside, sit on the chairs and experience it firsthand. Citing their belief that everyone is entitled to a roof over their head and a floor under their feet, the organization has been making affordable and easy-to-assemble homes that can be set up without any prior construction experience or power tools other than a cordless drill.
Life-Size Mousetrap Game
You’ve probably played the beloved family board game Mousetrap, but you’ve never seen it like this! Mark Perez‘s massive yet uber-intricate version of the game is the world’s largest and is essentially a 25-ton Rube Goldberg machine.
MetroCard Man and MetroCard Dog
Gregory Rodolico, a.k.a. the MetroCard Man, was back at this year’s Maker Faire and this time, he brought along a robotic canine friend! Rodolico has made a name for himself building animatronic creatures with startlingly realistic movements, and MetroCard Dog was no exception, wooing kids with his cheerful yelps and wagging tail.
Wanting to create his own brand of music, Eric Farber began making handmade found-object percussion instruments. At first glance, they might just look like crude musical assemblages made from everything as simple as a flywheel to a late-Victorian Singer sewing machine. But they actually sound great, and are part of a musical called Futurity, which follows a Civil War era inventor’s escapism into futuristic science fiction.
Across from these wonderfully assembled instruments, there was also “Batterie-en-Valise.” Made up of two percussionists and five suitcases, this part found-object sound sculpture, part new music performance is a regular show played by Farber and Dylan Thurston. If you want to check it out in person, their next show will be held on October 5th at the South Oxford Space in Fort Green, Brooklyn.
Jackie Huang first began needle felting these googly-eyed creatures for his daughter. What first started as a hobby quickly became a full time job, and later a company. Today Woolbuddy has brought over 300 characters to life using one of nature’s most sustainable fibers, wool. These sheep-derived plushies can be found all over at conventions as well as the Crafts and Folk Art Museum.
Peter Cole has been collecting found objects and turning regular street trash into art since he was seven years old when he lived in Africa for a year. Cole’s mission has always been to convey the transience of experience by selecting objects people throw away. While some of these enigmatic sculptures are stranger than others, they certainly are full of character.
Who says science can’t be fun? Working off a previous project of controlling paramecium with electric currents, Genspace (Brooklyn’s local biohacking space) has turned biology into a video game. Wetpong is a multi-part project that utilizes your iPhone as a makeshift microscope while an Arduino is hooked up to a four directional controller that tells where the paramecium to go. Oliver Medvedik, Genspace Co-Founder, says they hope to sell their demo as a bio arcade kit once they’ve further developed the setup into a smaller, more compact package.
Pittsburgh Art Car
The Pittsburgh Art Car was started by Jason Saver 18 years ago as an on-going, roaming art project that takes an old, clunker car and dresses it up with painted designs while Saver’s team gets the automobile back in running order. After it’s all patched up, Saver and his wife take the car on tour around the United States, taking mugshots of people who come to see it to create a collage as it passes from city to city.
At the end of the tour, the art car is entered into a demolition derby at the Great Stoneboro Fair in Pennsylvania to get wrecked. Afterwards, it’s put on display as part of an Art Car Show in Pittsburgh – which will be held on September 28 this year – with other hotrods, badass bikes and other vehicles. Once the show is done, the team plasma cuts whatever usable sheet metal there is and turns it into picture frames while the rest of the car is recycled. Talk about giving an old car new life.
See more pics on our Flickr stream!
Additional reporting by Yuka Yoneda