One pleasure of attending a Maker Faire is the treasure hunt. What’s new that you haven’t seen before? What tried-and-true classics can be found? What’s novel that merits attention? In discovering these at a Maker Faire you’ll have your best conversations and gain your greatest inspiration. So what was to be found at San Diego Mini Maker Faire?
The Electric Giraffe is a staple of Maker Faires but he’s never appeared at one in his home town of San Diego. We were pleased to finally have a fair and feature him as our unofficial mascot, decked out with Christmas frills. Two Bit Circus was another spectacular who delighted passersby with their STEAM Carnival, especially their Magic Mirror. The MIT Mobile Fab Lab made a showing to inspire us with digital fabrication in a mobile trailer. And then there was the behemoth of the show floor, High Tech High, with its 17 student-run booths making clear the point that making is central to their way of learning.
Then there are those passion-driven projects that have legs. ISS-Above has a very simple purpose for a lover of the International Space Station … it indicates when it’s passing overhead. Unique Dice Towers comes out of a long-standing passion for dice games and is what happens when you throw a laser cutter into the mix. feetZ are custom-fit, 3D-printed shoes. Charlie and Pearl are, as you might guess, unicorn bicycles which bring joy to every rider. Lastly there was 13-year old Gabriel’s pride and joy, his Wooden Electric Cart.
Some passionate makers end up going pro. casEnse showed their sensing case which will have embed sensors in smart phone cases. The passion project of a father-and-son team, Onda Cycle mashes up biking and skating into one wild ride. AryaBall is the transformer ball-and-bat for many outdoor sports. DeskLights turns your desktop into an RGB indicator panel. And for those who want to apply automation to their cat box there was CatGenie.
Given how weather caused this faire to migrate indoors and cancel exhibits, a few gems were not to be seen even if you looked hard. The Strato Sculpin, a creation of Starburner Couriers, was too much of a treasure to expose to the elements. The FIRST Robotics court where robots climb pyramids and shoot frisbees had too much water-sensitive electronics. Lastly, we missed the amazing electric car conversions of the Kick Gas Club. The silver lining? We know to invite them next year. The hunt for 2014 exhibitors has already begun!