Tag Archives: maker faire

A Look Back at the First Maker Faire

I’m a little bit late posting this, but as most folks are now aware, Maker Media is struggling. Make Magazine and the Maker Faire were major sources of inspiration for me in the mid 2000s when I created MightyOhm. I owe a lot to the folks behind Maker Media and the makers who inspired me in those early years.

EMSL and Ben Krasnow have been posting early Maker Faire photos and I wanted to contribute some of mine as well.

Scroll down for photos of the first ever Maker Faire, held in San Mateo way back in 2006!

There were robots.
There was LEGO.
There was fire. Fire has always been an important ingredient of the Maker Faire, and some of the early years burned the brightest (maybe too bright, if you ask the asphalt in one of the parking lots).
There was also a firetruck. That made fire. Obviously.
Steampunk wasn’t a thing yet, but the ingredients were there.
There were Mythbusters. I remember feeling a lot of local pride that Mythbusters (the show) was filmed in and around San Francisco, my home at the time.
Speaking of San Francisco, there were vehicles designed to hack San Francisco’s plentiful and well-located commercial parking spots. Telstar’s truck had the corresponding article from Make Magazine posted in the window. This was more common in the early days, as many of the folks exhibiting at the Faire had also appeared in the magazine.
There was GRL, and throwies. Lots of throwies.
There was the SS Alpha Fox and other vehicles and projects from local artists such as the Flaming Lotus Girls (maybe not 2006, but certainly later) and the Crucible.
Arduino wasn’t a thing yet (it existed but very few people had heard of it), so there were other microcontroller platforms on display, such as the Make controller…
… and TinyOS Toys.
There were weird cars…
… and electric scooters, made before the availability of cheap LiPo cells.
There were steam-powered analog computers…
… and a robot giraffe that became a symbol of the Maker Faire…
… and amazing 3d sculptures, before 3D printing was a thing.
There were robots that drew on eggs, before there were Eggbots.
And there were lots of Makers, including yours truly, who would go on to exhibit in subsequent years.

Dale Dougherty and the staff behind Maker Media and the Maker Faire – THANK YOU for years of inspiration, laughs, friends, fun, and LOTS of tasty paella. You guys rock.

Upcoming events: OHS, TAPR DCC, NYMF

OSHW summit goodie bag
photo credit: adafruit

There are three major events of interest to open source hardware and makery folks this month:

I’ll be at OHS and TAPR, but have to skip the NY Maker Faire this year.  I imagine that far fewer folks from OHS will be attending NYMF now that those events are no longer co-located.

Sorry NYMF, but I can’t turn down an excuse to visit my friends in Harvard square.

Come see my Glowy Geiger Chimes at the 2013 Maker Faire Bay Area!

It’s that time of the year again! The 2013 Maker Faire Bay Area is next weekend (May 18-19th) in San Mateo, California.

I haven’t had time to post about it, but over the past few weeks I’ve been busy working on a special project for the Maker Faire this year.

This year I am bringing a new and improved version of the “Geiger counter-powered ambient music thing” that I threw together at the last minute last year (and never really came up with a good name for). In that project, I connected five of my open source Geiger Counter kits to an Arduino that sent MIDI commands to a Sparkfun Music Instrument Shield. When each Geiger counter was triggered by background radiation or one of the weakly radioactive sources nearby, the Arduino would send a command to the shield to play a musical note.

This year I’m bringing a new and improved version that uses a new piece of hardware that I designed specifically for the Faire – the Geiger Pad.

Each Geiger Pad contains a fully functional Geiger Counter based on my Geiger counter kit. The output of the Geiger counter is connected to a cluster of 14 very bright 5mm UV LEDs. On top of the Pad is a petri dish filled with uranium marbles. Each time the Geiger counter detects that a gamma ray was emitted by the marbles, it flashes the UV LEDs. Since the uranium marbles fluoresce green under UV light, this produces a brilliant green glow.

Today (yes, once again at the last minute) I finally got all the pieces together and working. If you come to the Faire you’ll be able to see it in person, but I also posted a short video on flickr:

The Maker Faire website lists me in Expo Hall, but it’s more likely that I’ll be somewhere in the dark area of Fiesta Hall instead. Check the Maker Faire website later in the week for more details.

See you at the Faire!

Glowy Geiger Chimes at makerfaire.com