Computers & Mobile

Chris O’Brien over at Silicon Beat had a great time at Maker Faire. In answering the question “What is Maker Faire?,” he ends up with an optimistic view of how we can use Maker Faire to take back our technology.

How do you boil down an event where someone spent 13 years building a life-size working version of the Mouse Trap game? Or a steam-driven motorcycle out of wood? Or a solar-powered recycling unit that processes fish poop to fertilize a vegetable garden? Or teaches people how to re-purpose their old clothes with its variety of sewing and craft techniques?

It’s tech, but it’s more than that. It’s geeky, but it’s for everyone. It’s an overwhelming sensory experience that’s still one of the most family-friendly events I’ve ever attended.

On a basic level, it’s one of these events that reminds me why Silicon Valley is one of the most thrilling places on earth. It’s easy to get cynical about this place sometimes when it seems everyone gets wrapped up in chasing money, status, and success. But strip that away, peel back the sometimes stifling hand of the corporations, and the heart of Silicon Valley looks something very much like Maker Faire.

If you went to Maker Faire and want to share your experiences, write about it, post your photos and video to the MAKE Flickr pool, and tag your work with Maker Faire, Maker Faire 2009 or #MF09 on Twitter and Flickr.

If you were not able to get physically to Maker Faire, you can still join the fun by finding the most interesting photos, videos, and other info. Create your own Maker Faire mashup of the event and put it online. There is a complete list of all the makers. Many of the organizations and people have web addresses that can help you find out more. Let us know in the comments where to find your Maker Faire Mashup!


Making things is the best way to learn about our world.

View more articles by Chris Connors