The NoVa Mini Maker Faire is just around the corner. The day brings more than 100 makers and demonstrations, ten speakers, six family-friendly activities, and food trucks to a fun-filled day celebrating the diversity of makers across the Northern Virginia area. There will be a wide range of makers ranging from blacksmithing and primitive skills to 3D printing, drones and robots to building customized equipment for special needs children to creative art-making. Here are a few of our favorite makers.
Jennifer Gluck, Solutions for Special Needs
Jennifer Gluck is an engineer who builds functional solutions for children with special needs. Motivated by the needs of her own son with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, she has built everything from PVC walkers to swimming platforms; Spica cast chairs, changing table platforms and goofy golf scooters. Jennifer shares her ideas through her website www.jenmadeit.com.
Through relationships and internet word of mouth she has built walkers for children with a variety of special needs. Most recently a little girl took her first steps with Jen’s walker. And a family in the Philippines was inspired to design and build a walker to fit the needs of their child based on Jennifer’s walker design.
Everest Gromoll, Blacksmithing
Everest Gromoll is a high school student who taught himself to blacksmith. He was first introduced to forging and metal works watching the “Lord of the Rings” series. Gromoll taught himself blacksmithing using YouTube videos. He is a member of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac.
Vicky Somma, winner 2014 White House 3D Printed Design Challenge
Vicky Somma is a Maker After Midnight! During the day, she is the lead developer on a food safety application and busy mother to a one-year old and a three-year old. After bedtime, Vicky has been teaching herself Blender, 3D Modeling, and 3D Printing. Little did she know this hobby would take her to the White House! Vicky’s Library of Congress Ornament was one of the winners of the very first White House 3D Printed Design Challenge in 2014.
Jade Garrett, CADI (Computer Assisted Device Input bear)
Jade Garrett is a student at George Mason University, but more importantly she is tearing down obstacles for those around her. She is a member of Positive Deviancy, a group whose goal is to “show people how to rise and deviate from their current situation, and reach full potential.” bit.ly/1Myc4Oo. They do this by creating hardware and software solutions for children on the autism spectrum. One of the tools she has created is CADI (Computer Assisted Device Input bear) which is a game controller integrated into a plush bear. From this project she was able visit Google Headquarters in Silicon Valley, as part of the Summer of Code program.
Area makerspaces will be exhibiting including locations at 3 Fairfax County Schools, George Mason University, Nova Labs – the Faire host, and FredWorks (Fredericksburg) and Staunton Makerspace.
There will also be activities for Faire-goers to try: Nerdy Derby, Catapults and Ballistas, KEVA Planks, GEMS Take Apart Zone and Demo-Vation with UpCycle Creative Reuse Center.
The Faire will include ten speakers this year including: Dr. Lance Bush – CEO of The Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Chris Savage – Founder of True Honey Teas, Chris Vo – Chief Scientist at Sentien Robotics and President of DC Area Drone User Group, and Matthew Wilkins – Co-Founder and CEO of Pedal Forward