Makerland, a new European maker conference, was held from March 17-19 in Warsaw, Poland. Makerland was created to help over 300 attendees “dive into the world of hardware and learn how to build stuff.” I was excited to attend Makerland as a way to experience the maker culture in Europe, meet new makers, and to connect a few makers I’d met last year at RobotsConf.
While at Makerland, I met Kasia Kaminska. She is a PhD student in bioinformatics, computational drug designer, molecular biologist, programmer – and now, a maker! The Makerland team featured Kasia in one of their very well-produced event videos.
After the event, I chatted with Kasia about her experience at her first maker conference:
How did you learn of Makerland?
I met the Makerland organizers last year when they needed volunteers for a different conference called DjangoCon Europe 2013. Around that time they first mentioned the idea of organizing intensive workshops on Raspberry Pi, 3D printing, Arduino and quadcopters…and I immediately knew I wanted to get involved even though I was a complete beginner.
What did you learn at Makerland?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that making things is much easier than I thought!
What did you make during the hackathon?
I helped with the RHex-inspired robot. But of course the team did all the hard work, I only helped with assembly at the very end.
What was the best part of Makerland for you?
I felt like a kid in a toy store, absolutely happy, enjoying every little bit of the conference. People, ideas, atmosphere, everything :) I also enjoyed the lectures which were inspiring and provided me with many new ideas. I would never have imagined the maker community from around the world to be so big. That was quite surprising.
Did you now consider yourself a maker, and what will you make next?
I surely do! :) My background is bioinformatics but I’m also a molecular biologist working on human cell lines. In order to monitor my cell cultures I want to build a controller which will allow me to check temperature, humidity etc. inside the cell culture room and easily track conditions and unexpected events in real time. I will use the great tutorials provided by the Makerland’s workshop leaders as inspiration.
It was great meeting Kasia, and many other makers at Makerland.
I’ve been to many maker events, and they all have their own unique personality. Maker conferences have a focused energy that comes from having enough time to be inspired, learn more, ideate, and execute – but not enough time to be distracted by the outside world. I enjoy seeing people meet, form teams, make something, and form new friendships all within 3 days. I’d seen this happen at RobotsConf in a way that I hadn’t seen previously at other (non-maker) conferences, and was very happy to see it happen again at Makerland.
As a (Mini) Maker Faire organizer, I know the inspirational, educational, and community-building effect of maker events, and am very grateful for the makers that take on the very large challenge of organizing events. Ola, Kuba, and the rest of the Makerland team – congratulations on a great event, and Thank You!
For more info on Makerland, check out some of these great videos, photos & blog posts (and if you know of other great Makerland photos, videos, or posts, share them in the comments!
Makers through the eyes of a newbie – Bartosz Józefowski
Build your own lockitron with Twilio, Arduino, and node.js – Jonathan Gottfried
Hardware Startups’ Heaven! – Ewa Galaszewicz and Przemek Lewandowski
Makerland 2014 – Building Internet of Things blog