World Maker Faire will soon have the New York Hall of Science overflowing with incredible sights and sounds. One of the most incredible Maker Faires to behold (remember, we have them all over the world!), this event is truly impressive. One of my favorite things at each Maker Faire are the items that put things in motion. Some involve kinetic art that sway and move interactively with people, others are spectator sports like drone fighting or power wheel racing. The energy that these kinds of moving displays bring to the event is incredible and easily one of the things that sets Maker Faire apart from your typical science fair.
Here are a few of the kinds of interactive, mobile, and kinetic items you can expect to see this year.
Power Racing Series
What could possibly be more fun than watching adults straddle hacked together electric cars, often built from broken power wheels, and race in competition for your love? The Power Racing Series is not only hilarious and amusing, it is a fantastic educational program too. The participants set out to build the best electric racing vehicle they can, with a budget of only $500. Sometimes these are incredible feats of clever engineering. Other times they’re slapdash constructions that barely function. They can win by speed and skill, but also earn points for “moxy.” This means that the whole time they’re also competing for the affection and votes of the crowd.
This isn’t just spectator racing, you help decide who the ultimate winner is!
Aerial Sports League
Zipping and dashing through the air, these little buzzing racers from the Aerial Sports League are insanely agile and fun to watch. Quad copters equipped with cameras and state of the art control systems are flown by skilled pilots through an obstacle course. The camera catches the view which is broadcast to a headset on the pilot, so that they can fly as if they are sitting inside the tiny drones. They move so quickly that they’re nearly a blur at times, requiring extremely quick responses from the pilots, and often resulting in catastrophic crashes.
The pilots view is displayed on big screens for the spectators so that they can see the action from all views.
This roving band of…band members, will catch you off guard as they meander around the Maker Faire. There’s just something almost magical about the excitement and joy that people express when a marching band suddenly arrives. You could be exhausted from seeing the incredible Maker Faire all day and HONK will still get you up on your feet and grooving.
Kinetic Art, or art that moves, is something I look forward to at every Faire. Seeing how the artist has constructed these mechanical motions to create their ultimate goal is always something that leaves me inspired. This year, I’m eager to see Benjamin Cowden. His mixture of industrial and natural sounds especially intriguing.
I am a mechanical sculptor interested in exploring how people experience the world around us by using gears, levers, cams, and motors as metaphors for the human body. My primary material is steel, and my projects are usually a hybrid of CAD-modeled, waterjet cut parts with organic, pseudo-random movements that use other materials such as feathers, stones, or fabric.
Sensing the presence of a passer-by, IoNature reacts by causing a field of grass to sway as though you were the very source of a gust of wind. This action inspires questions of how we affect the world around us and how nature responds to our presence. It’s also just really fun to see in action, as people tend to be taken by surprise by the movement.
The Smell Synth
Typically when we see the interactive art at these events, it is centered around sight and sound. The Smell Synth offers a rare chance to participate in a smell experience. There are 19 different buttons that can be pushed to bring forth scents such as “sweet cherry,” “earthy, hazelnut,” “nail polish remover,” or “cheesy, vomit.” Mix, match, and combine smells like you’re playing a piano to create a symphony of smells for those around you. Presented by the Museum of Food and Drink, this whimsical device was inspired by Willy Wonka.
World Maker Faire will be held at the New York Hall Of Science on September 23 and 24th. Buy your tickets ahead of time for a quicker entry.