Maker Faire Houston is back at the George R. Brown Convention Center for its 6th go round this coming weekend, October 14 & 15. Organized by Innovation Spark, Last year Andrew Lynch, organizer and Innovation Spark board member, discussed how the Houston maker community pulled together in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, to keep the show on the road despite considerable challenges. We profiled the efforts of local makerspace TXRX Labs to help community come together in the wake of the disaster. The Innovation Spark team and their legion of volunteers are working hard to make this year’s show the best yet.
“This is going to be our best Maker Faire ever as we continue to be the leading showcase of human ingenuity and creativity plus a fascinating window into emerging technology-driven capabilities. There are learning opportunities in abundance for people of all ages and backgrounds, and even more hands-on activities too. So, whether you like traditional crafts or the latest high-tech demos, Houston Maker Faire is the place to be!”
Here’s a look at Maker Faire Houston 2017.
The strong lineup of makers for this year’s event speaks to the work organizers have done to give Houston residents a bird’s eye view into the Texas makerverse. The show features three core theme areas: Cool Tech (VR, AR, IoT, drones, aerospace, gaming, big data, AI, robotics, etc.); Living (medical technology, sustainability, food innovation, hydroponics, aquaponics, bioscience, bio-hacking, tiny + alt + green housing, etc.); Cause Champions (ideas + tech + do-it-yourself action = problem solved! A showcase where community leaders describe their challenges and invite action from creatives, inventors and attendees). Region 4 and the Children’s Museum Houston will be running hands on workshops on both days.
Here’s a sampling of ten awesome projects that will be on display this weekend.
Perennial Maker Faire favorite (Austin 2015-18; WMFNY 2017) and Austin locals, Pony Trap, bring their “industrial music for modern primitives’ to Maker Faire Houston for the first time this year. Fresh from a spectacular show at Maker Faire Austin in May where they performed in collaboration with Make Fire author Tim Deagan’s Boosh Beats fire drums, Quentin Thomas-Oliver (violin) and Hilary Thomas Oliver (cello) play “chamber music for the age of electricity” or as The Austin Chronicle put it, a soundtrack for “our post-industrial dystopia.”
Here’s a taste of their unique musical stylings:
Find out how to make a robot drum for yourself.
We Make Music!
Rather than only playing the music, WMFNY 2017 Blue Ribbon winner Eun Hye (Grace) Yang (herself a classical violinist who teaches orchestra groups) brings to Maker Faire Houston her 3D printed Arduino Violin project. Simply touching several LED lights on the fingerboard allows people to easily play music.
Journey to the Moon and beyond in a portable planetarium! Planetary scientists and education specialists share NASA missions and fly you across volcanic plains, through the rings of saturn, and above moons in a virtual tour of the worlds in our solar system. Brought by The Lunar and Planetary Institute, which collaborates with partners to make current Earth and planetary science content available to audiences across the country.
Local Houston company 3D Distributed designs and manufactures 3D printers and extrusions systems, with products ranging from mods and upgrades to large scale modular machines. Specializing in models that do things other won’t, 3D Distributed will demonstrate how it constructs its Workhorse model (picture above) among others, which is specialized for use with unusual materials like clay or chocolate.
Started in 2014 with over $20,000 raised through Kickstarter, maker Jim Fox’s Puzzometry aims to confound and thrill audiences all weekend with its gorgeous and challenging laser cut acrylic tessellations. You’ve got 14 puzzle pieces to place into the frame pictured above and there’s only one way to place every piece and complete the puzzle. Can you find it?
Maker and mechanic Mauro Donatti was born in Argentina but has spent the majority of his life here in Texas. A mechanic by trade, Mauro opens up his shop environment for after school classes teaching students the fundamentals of automotive mechanics and general inventive skills.
Horology: Time and Time Again
The San Jacinto Chapter 139 of the NWACC (The National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors) is coming to show off the inner workings of clock and watches. Hoping to inspire a new generation of amateur (or professional) horologists, the group provides education related to the repair and maintenance of timepieces, with monthly meetings.
TexLUG stands for Texas LEGO® User Group. A varied group of people who enjoy building, displaying, and collecting all things LEGO®, TexLUG serves enthusiasts in Houston and its surrounding areas, there are (other branches in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas/Ft. Worth). In addition, Texas Brick Railroad is a state-wide LUG with a focus on trains. TexLUG will be competing its awesome racer, “The Highly Sophisticated Interlocking Vehicle System,” in Maker Faire Houston’s first Power Racing Series.
Also keep an eye out for 14 year old Power Racing veteran Aria Chance!
UTMB Maker Health Space
In September 2015, UTMB Health was the first medical center in the country to establish a makerspace in a hospital and the first hospital to hold a Maker Faire–the UTMB Mini Maker Faire–which had its 2nd go round in Galveston this past summer.
UTMB’s MakerHealth Space allows nurses, doctors, researchers, students, and staff members the ability to prototype and solve problems. Creative technologist and manager of the UTMB makerspace, Aisen Caro Chacin, will be on hand to discuss how makers are at the forefront of medical solutions.
Hackster Hardware Houston
Online hardware network Hackster Hardware Houston is looking to get some face time at Maker Faire Houston. Keep the making going all year round by checking in to their local meetups and project nights. Their goal is simple: help hardware makers and hackers from Houston connect, share ideas, and build great things together!