The 5th annual Maker Faire Eindhoven closed out September (29 & 30) on a lovely autumn weekend in the heart of the city’s industrial arts district. Over three days, some 15,000 people came out to explore a diverse variety of makers nestled into the nooks and crannies of the old Philips Philite (Bakelite) factory along Strijp-S. The area—which by the 1970s was a self-sufficient industrial park employing some 10,000 people—has now been redeveloped as a full fledged arts district, full of live/work lofts, workshops, businesses and restaurants and the rambling Klokgebouw where the Maker Faire was held. If the Philips slogan was once, “From sand to customer’s hand,” the makers who congregated here were writing new stories about the production and distribution of goods in the circular economy, as well as showing off inventions ranging from the quirky to the high tech. Here’s the first official video of the event.
Eindhoven Burgemeester (Mayor) John Jorritsma met with his counterpart from the largest gathering of In-Moov robots yet to kick off the celebrations. These individually made 3-D printed robots are in town for the concurrent exhibition Robot Love and spent the weekend engaging the public. InMoov creator Gaël Langevin and Greg Perry, the brains behind the MyRobotLab software commonly used, spoke on both days, discussing the growing open source robotics community. You can see the InMoov post and pictures on the event here.
Robotics teams figured prominently in the event, including the Team Rembrandts, who have taken to heart the slogan proudly on display across the event: “If things get complicated, bring in the Dutch.” There are only four First Robotics team in The Netherlands and this team travels to the US to compete, recently winning several categories at regional events that will take them to the FIRST Championship competition in Detroit next year. In football-crazed Holland it was unsurprising to find football playing robots. VDL Robot Sports, sponsored by Philips, engaged audiences throughout the weekend. Kids lined up to test their goal keeping prowess against the robots.
Indeed, Eindhoven has a strong tradition of football playing robots: The local Tech United team–comprised of students from the Eindhoven University of Technology–won the RoboCup World Championship this year. Here’s a video from Tech United’s World RoboCup showing of the soccerbots vs. humans.
There were also balloon battles using Raspberry Pi!
On the other end of the robot spectrum were the mechanical, larger-than-life, hand-formed steel and hydraulically powered creations of Freerk Wieringa. Images are better than words at describing the scale and sheer power of his works, including MAD REX specifically commissioned for Maker Faire Eindhoven. Some attendees really got into it!
The Crazy Parade was a big hit for its second year out.
Though made of steel, this giant horse sounded like the real thing!
Ami6 by EXOOT even gives out candy! Here’s a video of the action!
Mobile labs were everywhere and are playing a definitive role in bringing Maker Education–the theme of Maker Faire Eindhoven–to Dutch schools. Here’s a size preview:
There was even a Mobile Escape Room! Maker Lex van Gijsel (with 29 partners, including Freescale, which was acquired by NXP) is part of a BBC project developing a micro-computer to introduce children to programming. His foundation DevLab Academy is the official Dutch partner of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation.
There were a host of interesting sound related exhibits.
Sonic Sprawl by Sofia Bulgakova let you speak to others from one end of the room to the other.
Two player pianos:
This intriguing exhibit used light, a synthesizer, and the molecular structure of different crystals to create music.
With 250 exhibits, the event profiled a good slice of the sculptural makerverse from complex to simple. Here’s a snapshot, but make sure to check out the full program.
Inspired by the MONIAC (Monetary National Income Analogue Computer), built by Bill Philips in 1949, Dutch designer Daniel de Bruin developed the Moniac installation for Economia festival and showed it off at Maker Faire Eindhoven. It was challenging to capture in situ given its size and the crowds surrounding it, but here’s a look at it in action.
Unsurprisingly in a country that prides itself on renewable energy and creative solutions to recycling, circular economy ideas abounded. Plastival explored how to to turn plastic waste into everyday objects.
Thor’s Hammer, Mjolnir, confounded attendees.
As at most Maker Faires there was a healthy amount of 3D printing. This application for model trains was novel:
Exhibits like Blue Ribbon winner Rainmaker by Studio Overvelde showed the Dutch love of component systems and elegant design.
Family Space Cocoon by Penelope Pushpop:
3D-FONT “Space Writing” by Anna Meli:
The intention of the project was to prove that virtual space is the new substrate that will reinforce and liberate the book’s structure. It is a book that is no longer a printed text or digital print-like, but a multimedia three-dimensional object, enriched with the meaning of time and interaction. A prototype font was created, a writing that takes advantage of the possibilities of three-dimensional planning and which I name space-writing.
Here’s a video of her multi-year typography project at work.
Hiber’s awesome nano-satellites!
Astroplant supported in part by research from the European Space Agency, this blue ribbon winning project explores a closed (no waste) system for growing plants in space.
And sometimes it’s important to just slow things down as did this wonderful, funky Rube Goldberg koffie-making contraption from art/making collective De Spullenmannen, “explore art and science, zap from mathematics to music, stumble over visual art and dig into the history of big ideas.” That’s a sugar cube that has to dissolve to start everything moving and note the axe that cuts the biscuit.
To end on a positive note, Astrid Poot gave a wonderful and uplifting talk on why making is important and why you need to teach kids to take things apart not just to use computers. You can see what she had to say here in her slide deck.
It was a fantastic weekend for the hundreds of makers and thousands of bezoekers from across Europe who attended. Congratulations to Rene, Anne-Marijn, Maud, Peggy, and everyone on the Maker Faire Eindhoven team. See you next year!