Day by passing day, the past is gone, the future is uncertain, and present is all we have, right? But imagine getting into a world where there is no past nor future — a place where past and future coexist with present, and you’re able to see frames of everything that was, everything that is, and everything that will be. After all, Einstein did say that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. It’s a clash of civilizations, a continuum of time, but then there’s Maker Faire Cairo 2018! Now in its fourth year, Maker Faire Cairo, organized by Fab Lab Egypt in collaboration with the American Center in Cairo, will be taking place on March 10 at Smart Village Club.
It’s no secret that Egypt is going through the worst economic crisis in all of its history. Yet in the midst of all the chaos, there’s an underground rising of a community formed solely of makers, individuals who believe in the power of being able to make anything, out of anything. This community has been on the rise for five years now and is growing stronger in the shadow of the economic turbulence. What better way to raise a country’s economy than to raise a generation of makers? And why stop at just one country when you can be the main node of the Maker Movement in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region?
This year, MFC decided to go regional with representatives from more than seven countries from all over the MENA region, in addition to international guests such as Matt Richardson (executive director of Raspberry Pi Foundation) and David Cuartielles (Arduino cofounder).
And in the geographic connection between East and West, we found the physical connection between the history of time and the future of mankind — right on the grounds of Maker Faire Cairo. Let us take you on an overview of what to expect this year.
Boram the Barrel and the City of Makers
Let’s start by a walk into the Smart Village Club, to an outdoor design of 500 upcycled barrels telling the life-story of Boram the Barrel. Boram grew up an ordinary barrel, only to find that there are 35 billion other barrels being produced every year, and when they’re done with their role as oil-keepers, they’re all but forgotten. Boram refused to accept this fate and decided to shift his career, but that’s a story for Trash Designer to tell at MFC’18!
Boram the Barrel will walk you through his life-story all through the grounds of Maker Faire Cairo, with a nucleus of around 170 barrels centering the heart of the Smart Village Club, and pathways leading to the different zones taking place: Speakers’ Stages, Makers’ Exhibition Tents, Activities, Performances, Makers’ Cuisine, Makers’ Entertainment Zone & Makers’ Shop. This City of Makers has its very own currency, where all goods are being traded by the Makers’ Coin!
Distributed all across the Faire are five stages hosting speakers and panel discussions, each stage with its own theme.
The Main Stage will be hosting all of the Keynote Speakers. The Maker to CEO Stage is hosting Maker-entrepreneurs who have their own startups. The Community-Focused Stage will be discussing fab labs, makerspaces, the Maker Movement, and community-related topics. The San3a-Hub Stage focuses on the exposure of underrated awesome makers. And the Next-In-News Stage will host discussions on new technologies, projection mapping, large-scale 3D printing, and more future technologies.
Each of the five stages will be surrounded by activities, makers’ tents, and booths related to the stage theme, to form a collection of homogeneous zones throughout the Smart Village Club.
Invading all areas of Maker Faire Cairo will be the Makers’ Tent, with over 250 projects on display for curious minds to explore! These awesome makers come from all backgrounds and ages, showcasing projects about a wide variety of subjects including telescopes, plasma CNC, parametric designs, self-driving bikes, cotton candy robots, graffiti shows, Arduino drums, the connection between heritage and practical arts as shown by Mavericks, and much more.
Activities & Competitions
One of the amazing things you’ll notice at MFC’18 is the direction many organizations and startup are taking. In a time where most people view successful business as a form of market domination, these makers have realized that the we-all-win approach is the best for everyone. And in their cooperation, some not-to-miss activities are being cooked up for MFC’18:
Digitally Fabricated Assistive Technology Hackathon
The Hackathon aims to connect People with Disabilities (PwDs) with designers and 3D modelers to develop an assistive device 3D model during Maker Faire Cairo. Each team will be matched with a PwD during Maker Week, and all teams will attend training sessions in design thinking, communication with PwDs, and digital fabrication.
Metal Monsters is an entertaining robot fight game league where robots compete and smash each other in a metal caged arena! During a three-minute match contested by two teams at once, robots are remote-controlled from outside the arena. Ten participating teams are selected from among all applicants to ensure a good show and performance, supported by five judges and nine powerful student partners from all over Egypt.
Mini Geek Fictions
By Big Geeks
Once again, Mini Geek Fictions is hitting Maker Faire Cairo, but this year their focus will be on merging the Geek Fictions vibe with the rest of the makers. That’s why they won’t just be limited to one area, and cosplayers will be everywhere at MFC’18!
Light Art Sculpture
By Mohamed Hossam
The ongoing relationship between humans and machines has evolved rapidly in recent years, and the human-machine bond in the future will be even stronger. Mohamed Hossam’s Robots Evolution light sculpture is a creative project that shows the rapid evolution of humans and machines through figures from light and steel.
Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle
By ROV Scout
Arab ROV Competition is building new generations of Arab ROVers by enabling university and school students to compete in ROV underwater robot designs and builds, each to achieve different missions underwater and simulate real missions.
The Massive Nail Board
Shuffle Designs is a Cairo-based design studio interested in experimenting with materials and manufacturing things. It was founded by Amal Salah, who believes that every material is precious, and it only depends on how you use it. This year, they’re hitting MFC with a massive nail-art board!
3D Printer Assembly Marathon
In this marathon, you’ll be able to join a battle between four teams, each building a PLAKAT 3D printer until it prints successfully. The winning team members will take their printer home for free as their prize. You make it, you take it!
And after you’ve had your share of learning, hands-on activities, building networks, and exchanging experiences, it’s time to start the party! This year, Night Light & MTM are lighting up the dance grounds of MFC’18!
Celebrating the makers’ authenticity can’t all be wrapped in just one day — it becomes a lifestyle, and spreading its culture is what we’ve taken upon ourselves. In aims to do so, we’ve preceded Maker Faire Cairo with Makers’ Week, where over 14 Egyptian Governorates and two regional countries are participating, with 29 satellite events occurring simultaneously throughout the week!
Makers’ Week ends with a Schools Day, as we believe children are the building blocks of the future. Our focus this year has been on underprivileged schools with no access to technological advances, in addition to a number of privileged ones. With over 600 students, 20 exhibitors, 10 activities, and 14 workshops, there’s a generation of makers in the making!
In a nutshell, on March 10, Maker Faire Cairo 2018 is going to take you 7,000 years back in time into an era of pottery, sculptures, and heritage, then add ROVs venturing into underwater excavation and robot fights battling on ground, and then take you on a cruise a dozen years later in time to a future dominated by data science, quantum computers, Bitcoin hardware. What do you say about this, Einstein?