Three years ago, a dedicated team of organizers from Beijing Gehua Design Co. Ltd. came together to organize the very first Maker Faire in Beijing. With only a few short months to plan, they put together a show that featured the hard work of 300 makers and drew the interest of 10,000 attendees. Amazing for a first-time event! The strong support from the community inspired the organizers to grow the event to a full-fledged featured Faire last year, which turned out to be an equally huge success.
Now in its third year, Maker Faire Beijing, with its expanded offerings and focus on interactivity, promises to be the best iteration yet. The event will be hosted on August 11 through August 13 at the China Millennium Monument, a Beijing landmark and China’s first cultural institution specializing in the collection, display, and research of world art. The official promo video below shows this community’s dedication to expanding the Maker Movement and their pride in being makers.
What’s New in 2017
The theme for Maker Faire Beijing this year is “Maker • Evolution.” At the core is a desire to promote the integration of traditional Chinese culture and innovative technology, along with a major push for maker education. The organizing team has ramped up the number of projects rooted in the fields of artificial intelligence, creative food, aerospace, augmented and virtual reality, bio-research, 3D printing, and art design.
This year, the ways that folks can interact with and participate in Maker Faire Beijing has also evolved. They’ll be live-streaming through multiple online platforms, enabling anyone from around the world to experience the event. As well, instead of traditional paper maps at the event, they’ll be using an electronic app-based activity guide, H5+Beacon, which offers an assemblage of real-time maps, activity introductions, activity updates, exhibitor information, and treasure hunt games, providing visitors a high tech, immersive digital experience of the physical space.
Aside from the standard exhibits, workshops, presentations, performances, and Maker Forum, even more content has been added this year, such as Maker Cinema, New Media Interactive Sets, Fight Robots, a UAV Show, a VR Game Competition, and more. On the first day of the event, there will even be an audio party, featuring live DJ performances, smart clothing, and an introduction to the new media interactive devices.
Maker • Evolution
To gain further insight into the significance of this year’s theme, “Maker • Evolution,” we spoke with one of the lead organizers, Cissy Young (pictured below with Maker Faire founder Dale Dougherty), who has been helping bring Maker Faire to her community for the past three years. She explains:
First, makers’ creations are evolving: from smart hardware, maker education, and art design to artificial intelligence and aerospace. The integration of traditional Chinese art and innovative technology, in particular, creates so many new forms, such as 3D-printed shadow puppets operated by mechanical arms and typography that can light up and make sounds using smart hardware. These new inventions present the unique meaning of Maker Faire Beijing.
Second, the maker community is evolving. Maker Faire Beijing provides a stage not only for young makers—for example, the 14-year-old maker focused on studying rockets—but also to elder makers who, for example, make holographic projections at the age of 70. We deepen the idea that everyone can be a maker and help grow the maker community in China.
Third, the ideology of makers is evolving. We’re focused on promoting maker education this year and enabling more children to learn about STEAM through attending Maker Faire Beijing. Simultaneously, people of all ages can learn about the importance of maker education and join the movement through Maker Faire Beijing.
Fourth, the culture of makers is evolving. It’s becoming more native and diverse than ever before. Under the influence of ancient Chinese culture, young makers are absorbing the culture of advanced and international makers and then developing new ideas within our own culture.
Fifth, the maker environment is evolving. The Chinese government has promoted the policy of “mass innovation and entrepreneurship” and gives great guidance and support to Maker Faire Beijing. It creates an open environment for makers and provides abundant resources, which result in more makers from different fields coming out with their new creations. The Chinese government insists on the basic state policy of being open to the outside world. With the support of the government, makers not only enjoy and utilize the innovative resources in Beijing, but they also go abroad to communicate with international makers.
Finally, the Maker Movement is evolving. With Maker Faire Beijing’s efforts, we take the Maker Movement into more cities, urban areas, associations, and schools, allowing more people to join our movement. Just as [TechShop’s] Mark Hatch once said, the Maker Movement is the place where all the inventions and creation of the next era are given birth. We hope that with the efforts of Maker Faire Beijing, the Maker Movement can enlighten China, the world, and our future.
7 Super Projects of Maker Faire Beijing
As mentioned earlier, there will certainly be no shortage of interesting, innovative projects, makers, presentations, performances, and workshops at the Faire, in subject areas ranging from virtual reality to traditional Chinese crafts. Here is just a small sampling of seven projects you can see and experience.
Dobot Mechanical Arm
Dobot is a desktop four-axis high-precision mechanical arm based on Arduino. This maker-researched and made product keeps the function of industrial robots, while offering expansibility and maneuverability with desktop-class specifications and price. Dobot is quickly becoming the new favorite in the field of education and in small-scale factories because the repetition error is about ±0.1mm.
Biomimetic Mechanical Koi Fish
These Biomimetic Mechanical Koi Fish from Peking University’s College of Engineering not only look similar to real fish, but they also swim and interact like real fish. They were independently designed for a competition focused on underwater robot by Shenzhen Lezhi Robot Co., Ltd. and Peking University’s smart control laboratory. Supported by advanced electronic, communication, control, and mechanical technologies, with a precise biomimetic motion control algorithm and waterproof technology, the koi display a remarkably life-like effect. They also offer an educational platform that allows for the research and testing of theories aimed at allocating task, controlling formation, transporting, seining, and other collaborative tasks.
Evoke Smart Motorcycles
Evoke Electric Motorcycles designs and manufactures smart motorcycles that are safer, greener, and more accessible to those with the desire to ride. By simplifying the riding mechanics and integrating smart technology, Evoke has eliminated a rider’s learning curve, expensive maintenance costs, and dependencies on fossil fuel. Evoke is unlocking the lifestyle and sport to new riders through the stylish brand, simplified riding experience, and enhanced safety.
Shiqian Sun Studio’s Dragon Chen Robot
The first large scale transformable sculpture, “Dragon·Rise,” premiered at the WRC World Robot Convention. This metal robotic dragon is 4.9 meters tall and weighs 3 tons. It made an appearance at last year’s Maker Faire Beijing and attracted a lot of attention, including coverage by CCTV and other national media, as well as overseas publications like the European Times.
Central Academy of Fine Arts’ Taste Art
Most people enjoy or create art through visual, auditory, and even tactile senses. However, taste, one of the most sensitive senses, is rarely used to create art work. Taste Art uses the sense of taste as cognitive art and collects data from people’s reactions to the art. After analysis, the data is transferred to an algorithm, which convert an image into a drink. The exhibit for Taste Art appears as an Art Bar, which mixes drinks according to different art pieces.
Quantum Technologies’ Smart Moon Model
Started in 2014, Quantum Technologies’ (Astro Reality) smart moon model project, Lunar, took three years to research and develop: one year to study the printing, one year to pick the best material, and one year to paint over again to develop the smart moon model and to salute the pioneers. Quantum Technologies uses a 0.016mm precision 3D printing model with the most professional modeling and paint to restore the texture, and has developed custom software to use augmented reality to discern characteristics of menology and related astronomy. The smart moon model is not only a piece of art, but it’s also a great resource of astronomic knowledge.
Zhang Fei 3D Printing Art Studio-3D Shadow Puppets
Zhang Fei 3D Printing Art Studio was created by two professors, Yan Zhan and Wenyi Wang, along with some excellent students from Beijing University of Technology’s Art Design College. Along the road of artistic exploration, Zhan and Wang use the most advanced method of 3D printing to combine technology and art to create more possibilities. Over the years, they started from within their own professions, such as design and animation, and eventually reached out to related art and design fields to test the convenience of new technologies, like 3D printing. They found that these modern technologies free designers from learning complicated skills to achieve real interdisciplinary design.
For all the information you need to join the impassioned community at Maker Faire Beijing, head to the website!