In May 2011, when Joey Hudy went to his first Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., he didn’t know what a significant impact it would have on his life. For the first time, he met lots of people who understood him, and this brilliant young maker realized his own brilliance. He attended three more Faires that year: Detroit, New York, and a Mini Maker Faire in his hometown of Phoenix, Ariz. On his website, Joey proclaims, “Going to Maker Faires has changed my life — it can change yours too.”
And when Joey made his bike-pump-powered Extreme Marshmallow Cannon, little did he know he would be invited to the White House Science Fair in February 2012, and have the opportunity to fire it off with none other than President Obama, who called it “outstanding.” Joey’s next major project was his 3×3×3 LED Cube Arduino Shield, which he sells on his site, but in true maker spirit, he also shares his detailed build instructions.
Joey doesn’t let the fact that he has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, slow him down. He’s a huge Arduino fan, and has taught himself programming languages and CAD software applications using online tutorials and a little help from friends he made at Maker Faire. Joey encourages other young makers to “dive right in” and pick up an Arduino, which he credits with teaching him so much of what he knows about electronics.
He’s inspired by the work of Adafruit Industries, Mitch Altman, and MAKE, and wishes he had the opportunity to meek Nikola Tesla, who his dog is named after. Joey hopes to build a Tesla coil someday when he’s saved up enough for parts. Making has helped him find his community, and fuels his personal motto: “Don’t be bored … MAKE something!”
Location: Phoenix, Ariz.
Heroes: Dale Dougherty, Mitch Altman, Tyler Moskowite
Favorite Accomplishment: Meeting the President, getting to where I am today, and making the Extreme Marshmallow Cannon and the 3x3x3 LED Cube Arduino Shield
Favorite Tool: Arduino
Current Project: EL Wire Shield