When the city of Rome decided to host the first Maker Faire in Italy in 2012, the community resoundingly said “Sì!” and 35,000 people showed up in support. Last year’s Maker Faire Rome welcomed more than 100,000 guests, including 16,400 kids for Education Day, as the rest of the European continent joined the fun at the largest gathering of makers in Europe. This year’s installment, once again promoted by Rome’s Chamber of Commerce and organized by its agency Innova Camera, is taking place on October 14–16 and promises to be the biggest and brightest yet with a significantly expanded location at the Fiera di Roma. It even features a 800-square-meter area solely dedicated to aspiring young makers ages 4–15 and a massive area designated as the House of Drones.
This recap video from 2015 does a great job of capturing the energy, enthusiasm, and fun. Watching it may inspire you to make things and dance simultaneously:
Among the radically cool aspects of Maker Faire Rome this year is that all projects are automatically eligible for one of the following three contests, based on the type of project: the R.O.M.E. Prize, the Make to Care Contest, and the Start-Up Contest.
Everyone will be entered in the R.O.M.E. Prize, which stands for Rome Outstanding Maker of Europe. The grand prize? 100,000 euros in cash! The winner will be chosen by a distinguished jury comprised of MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld, CIID’s Simona Maschi, and acclaimed writer Bruce Sterling, based on the project’s social impact (having the most widespread and effective impact on the greatest number of people) and its economic sustainability (concrete possibility of affirming and developing itself on the market). The 10 finalists will be announced during the Opening Conference (aptly themed “The Future of Everything”) on Friday, October 14th.
Projects about health and disability will be entered in the Make to Care Contest for makers helping to overcome disability. The goal is to find innovative and accessible solutions for day-to-day challenges, and winners will receive a one-week trip for two to Silicon Valley.
Finally, startups will be entered in the Start-Up Contest, with the goal of developing and promoting the entrepreneurial creativity of independent designers, startups, and university spin-offs. The grand prize winner will be awarded a comprehensive prize amounting to 75,000 euros, 50,000 of which is cash, along with 25,000 euros worth of training and financial support.
As such, the list of makers, workshops, and speakers slated for the fourth Maker Faire Rome is so incredibly diverse and impressive that it’s difficult to pick which ones to highlight here. We offer you a random sampling of 10. In particular, it’s especially inspiring to see makers apply their impressive skills to creations that make a difference in this world. The first five projects below are prime examples of makers using their smarts to improve the quality of life for people who need it most.
The brainchild of Daniele Treccani, SheCall is a smart bracelet for women that can launch an alarm without any action being taken by the users. Its advanced biosensors and mobile app with integrated algorithm work together to isolate a biosignals caused by a panic situation and automatically sound an alarm.
Liter of Light Low-Cost Solar Lights
Liter Of Light is a project of the My Shelter Foundation, founded in 2011 with the aim to bring the eco-sustainable lighting to people in energy poverty, spreading the use of Alfredo Moser’s “Bottle Bulb” design, which utilizes the ubiquitous two-liter bottle and solar panels.
IntendiMe Aid for the Hearing Impaired
IntendiMe aims to improve the lives of deaf people, making them feel independent and safe through an innovative system that allows people with hearing problems to be notified about noises of everyday life. A patch is placed on the sound sources (phone, doorbell, etc.) and then a warning is sent directly to users on the IntendiMe wrist device, which vibrates and lights up. The mobile app makes it possible to select the sound sources and adjust the notification brightness and vibration intensity.
Watly Solar Hub
The newest model, Watly 3.0, measures 131 feet long and is projected to generate up to 1,320 gallons of water each day for at least 15 years. The water can be filtered from any variety of contamination, and Watly can even desalinate ocean water. In addition, Watly can provide electricity and internet access for 3,000 people, all using the power of the sun. Watly will debut at Maker Faire Rome.
Dandy Robotic Arm
The intrepid team at +Ability is focused on building solutions for people with disabilities. Dandy, the six-axis mechatronic arm controlled by a joystick, was originally the idea of Giulia, a 14-year-old disabled student who wanted a means to feed herself without the help of others. The +AbiliTeam took the idea and made Giulia the project lead, which was fundamental in order to address her real needs, constraints, and objectives.
Arduino-Powered Car Simulator
As part of their final project at EDN Navàs High School near Barcelona, robotics students Rafart Jordi and Marc Tomas built an impressive Arduino simulator that captures video from a camera-equipped R/C vehicle and displays it on a TV screen, making it feel as though you’re in the driver’s seat of a shrunken-down car.
VinBox Developments Musical Instruments
The VinBox team, based in Buenos Aires, has developed a family of DIY stringed instruments that can be can be plugged and amplified: one-string diddleybow, three-strings = learning/travel guitar, upright bass, and six-string guitars. Each project is documented to be shared, and they offer digital fabrication workshops. VinBox also has an Arduino-controlled pickup winding machine, with shield and 3D-printed parts.
Desktop Hive for Edible Insects
With the Livin Farms Hive, you can grow healthy and sustainable food in the form of protein-rich super food mealworms right on your desktop. This can replace about the same amount of protein that you would otherwise consume in meat, animal products, or other protein foods. You can even feed your mealworms on vegetable scraps from your kitchen.
Music by Laser
Brothers Armand and Victor are always working on cool projects via their DIY Experiments channel. One of their coolest contraptions enables them to send music via laser an impressive 1480 feet to their friends apartment across the way.
Italian artist Pellegrino Cucciniello, creator of Folding Pets, designs colorful and multifaceted puzzles made of CNC-cut plastic.
These 10 projects barely scratch the surface of the massive offerings at Maker Faire Rome this weekend! Visit the website for all the information you need to attend, including a full listing of exhibitors, workshops, and speakers.