Team Bobcat and the Ford Fiesta caravan arrived at Maker Faire on Friday, concluding their long trek from Michigan to California. Since their class began only a few months ago, the team designed, developed, and field-tested a project of their own invention that took them on a journey both cross-country, and into the world of professional software development. Along they way, they learned about how to design interfaces for fast-moving vehicles (learning quite a bit about how their technology works in the field), tweaked their project to add handy features, and also managed to take some time to enjoy the experience of traveling across the country.
Since arriving at the fairgrounds in San Mateo, the students and engineers have been busy demonstrating their projects to eager onlookers. They’ve also managed to spend some time taking in other exhibits. I had the chance to walk around with them, to see what they thought about the Faire:
Hanging out with a giant knitted giraffe in the Expo Hall
Learning how to turn a 3D joystick into a musical instrument
Checking out the MakerBot CupCake transformer!
We had a great time learning about DIY 3D printers, navigating through invisible audio mazes, and checking out bottle-headed sculptures. The group’s favorite part of the Faire, however, was the workshops. Student Collin Hockey said he really enjoyed the introduction to soldering tutorial, and was looking forward to experimenting more with hardware in the future. The rest of the group was apparently off taking a more advanced surface-mount soldering class.
Ford engineer Joseph Rork, longtime MAKE fan and subscriber since Volume 01, was especially excited to be part of the Faire experience. He said that visitors who stopped by their display were overwhelmingly impressed with their project, especially when they found out that it was built using commodity hardware that was accessible to anyone. The only “problem” he had with the Faire was that it too much fun, and there were too many cool things to check out and to buy. Joseph said he would definitely have preferred a few extra days to be able to see everything.
MAKE really enjoyed being a part of American Journey 2.0. It’s encouraging to see the interest that Ford has expressed in the maker movement, and if this project is any indication of the direction in which they’re headed, it will be interesting to see where this journey ultimately takes us.
More: American Journey 2.0: Team Bobcat hits the road American Journey 2.0: A visit to Northwestern University American Journey 2.0: AJtheFiesta takes Boulder American Journey 2.0: Cruising to Stanford
MAKE’s coverage of American Journey 2.0 is sponsored by SYNCÂ®