Maker News
Maker Faire Rome 2021 Gets “Phygital”

Maker Faire Rome—The European Edition returns to the global stage this week for the 9th time, bringing as usual an amazing range of projects, talks, innovations, and artists in a new format. This year MFR is going “phygital” with both an in-person event and an interactive, online platform that expands the audience to everywhere. Promoting progress through the sharing of ideas by creating a virtuous ecosystem between makers, companies, institutions, schools, universities and research centres is the mission. More than 240 exhibition spaces (stalls and display areas) with innovative ideas, prototypes and projects are ready to be unveiled.

The physical event will take place at its new location the Ostiense Gazometro—an area that radically transformed the industrial and entrepreneurial landscape of Rome in the early 1900s, giving the district its reputation for innovation—overlooking the banks of the Tiber, it never ceases to amaze tourists and Romans alike with the way it stands out on the city’s horizon and redefines its skyline. The area is in development and set to become an open ecosystem dedicated to new non-emissive business models and the development of entrepreneurial supply chains. TICKETS

The success of the 2020 digital edition persuaded the organizers to keep the exhibition online on a dedicated platform divided into  themed channels on the main themes of Maker Faire and a Main channel, always live, from which many stories of innovation will be told. To this end, a real television studio will be set up in the Gazometro, from which national and international figures from the world of innovation will be met and heard live where they work or do experiments. REGISTER NOW

The Opening Conference starts on October 7th @ 5-7pm CEST.  The 2021  theme is “Fast Forward: The Future In The Making” and it acknowledges circumstances that are accelerating overdue changes and celebrates “making” as a way to navigate the uncertainty of these times. In design we see the “whirlwind of social transformation”, the founding infrastructure of a new individual and collective life between physical and digital, “which has the ability to give meaning, meaning, reason for existing to things.” How can we – makers, designers, entrepreneurs, activists, innovators, citizens – play a role in shaping the future?

The conference will be opened by Hiroaki Kitano and closed by Massimo Banzi. Speakers include Azada Barakzai, Mahbooba Islami, Roya Mahboo (Digital Citizen Fund, Afghan Dreamers); Enrico Bassi (OpenDot); Sofia Crespo (Artist); Leonardo Durante (Finalist Global Teacher Prize); Tommaso Ghidini + Luca Parmitano (ESA); Nir Goldstein (Good Food Institute);  Steven Jepeal (Allium Engineering); Michelle Johnson (Rim); Daniele Lago (Lago Design); Marinella Levi (PoliMi);  Sonia Massari (The Future Food Academy); Stefano Micelli (Upskills Sicily project); Sheila Scerba (Steve Jobs Academy); and Raffi Tchakerian (Dubai Institute of Design & Innovation).

Hiroaki Kitano is CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc., and Sony AI, President of the Systems Biology Institute and Professor at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. He received the Computers and Thought Award from the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (1993), the Prix Ars Electronica 2000, the Design Award 2001 from the Japan Inter-Design Forum Award 2001, and the Nature Award for Creative Mentoring in Science 2009. He was an invited artist for the 2000 Venice Biennale and the NY MOMA in 2001.

Massimo Banzi is the Co-founder and President of Arduino, the most widespread open source hardware in the world, has been indicated by The Economist as one of the proponents of the “new industrial revolution” implemented by the Maker movement. Banzi also helped launch of the first fablab in Italy, and Officine Arduino, a fablab-makerspace located in Turin. He has taught Interaction Design at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, SUPSI in Lugano, and at CIID in Copenhagen. From 2013 to 2018 he was curator of Maker Faire Rome. Massimo is also the author of Getting Started with Arduino, published by Make:.

The 2021 edition will include two contests aimed at highlighting the best projects: a public and tangible recognition of the value of the creativity displayed during the event.

The first is ‘Make to Care’, Sanofi’s open innovation initiative aimed at highlighting and promoting the creation and spread of innovative and useful solutions to meet the real needs of people living with a disability because of pathologies and/or traumatic events. Now in its sixth year, the contest has attracted a great deal of involvement from the maker community and from those who have grasped a real need, focused their ingenuity and offered an innovative solution.

Then there is ‘MakeITCircular’, the contest – organised by Innova Camera and the Consumer Associations of the Consiglio Nazionale Consumatori e Utenti (CNCU) – which promotes the Circular Consumption Charter and the values of recycling, reuse and co-design. Shifting from a linear to a ‘circular economy’ model is the key to enabling economic growth that respects material and natural resources and to making a contribution to protecting against climate change, which the planet has pledged to halt by 2050. In order to practise and encourage ‘circular consumption’, promoting the transition from a culture of waste to a culture of recycling and reuse, the ‘Circular Consumption Charter’ was created: a contribution of ideas to the major choices that the ecological transition imposes on us, to affirm a fairer society and economy. The contest will reward the best ideas that are in line with the principles of the Charter.

Explore Maker Faire Rome 2021

At Maker Faire Rome creative innovation reigns supreme. With an exceptional commitment to education at both the secondary and university level it also hosts a wide range of inventive, collaborative projects at the cutting edge of science and technology. This breadth is matched by the commitment to practical application, especially in fields related to agriculture and the environment and public health.

Check out all the exhibitors for Maker Faire Rome 2021 HERE and get a sneak peek at a baker’s dozen of interesting projects and their makers.

Willow Creative Dutch cosplay genius Merel Eisink aka @willowcreativenl) will display their animatronic costume Wings. These giant costume wings will make your wildest dreams become true (attempted flight not recommended). To see more of their amazing work, read our Maker Spotlight. Signature for the work is the use of many different techniques, creative solutions and making massive builds move! Recent work involves 3D printing, foamsmithing, leds and mechanics. Almost all of my costume-making experience is self-taught, with a base in 3D modelling from a Game Art college degree.

#RUSSOLINO is a painter robot that creates abstract and figurative watercolor paintings. Once started he is totally autonomous in managing the colors and making the brushstrokes. It is based on standard market components used in common CNC machines, with 3D printed components, custom electronics, made on the basis of an Esp32, derived from #Arduino. The software is developed in Java on Processing, uses libraries for vision recognition and 2D geometry for shape management, plus various custom algorithms depending on the type of painting.

A.R.A.C.H.N.E. (AGRICULTURE AND RURAL ANALYZING COGNITIVE HEXAPOD NOXIOUS WEED EXTERMINATOR) is born from an environmental analysis: the Earth can’t stand the humans’ ecological footprint and the remaining resources are not enough to guarantee the survival of all. A.R.A.C.H.N.E. is able to probe the soil, mapping and weeding the weeds to reuse them for soil mulching. Our model is a Hexapode built using 3D printed parts and easily available components.

DISPOSABLE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH MICRO:BIT by Maker, educator, and Micro:Bit champion DANIEL SANDOVAL VILLA. Learn to create several musical instruments made with cardboard end recycled materials controlled by Micro:bits microcontroller. Call your friends, family or group of students and start your own band with this amazing musical instruments you can create with basic materials and electronics.

BIRD LANGUAGE by HELENA NIKONOLE. Artificial intelligence looks for patterns in bird sounds to build a ‘Universal Grammar of Bird Language’. This communication between birds and AI acts as a metaphor for communication between nature and technology in which a human being is not necessary. The artist trained a neural network on the sounds of nightingales to create communication between non-human agents. The second stage of the project involves the creation of an AI-translator from bird to human language. 

CIRCADIAN BLOOM by ANNA RIDLER is a screen-based visual clock that tells the time through flowers. Inspired by Carl Linneas’ concept of a flower clock, a planted garden that would tell the time through the circadian rhythms of plants, this piece only shows flowers that have the quality of being able to keep time, blooming at the appropriate point of the day. Constructed using a series of complex algorithms and working with a machine that can keep time to an atomic level, visually it obscures this accuracy and forces the viewer to contemplate other, non-human ways of telling time and how conceptually time works.

IoT BEEHIVE that record temperature, weight and humidity of the bee with ArduinoUNO board, DHT11 sensor and a recycled weight scale. Data are sended periodically to ThingSpeak with GPRS module (SIM800L) and a SIM card. The High Tech Beehive can work without external power sources, it has a 20W solar panel, a12V battery and it doesn’t need WiFi so it can work everywhere.

PIERFRANCESCO PANUNZI Now you can do incredible magical effects with little expense and lots of inventiveness using only Arduino and App Inventor (Android). You will see some project and a lot of magic because like Arthur C. Clarke said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

Ecoboat Race “Acerbo Viking”  is an educational project for high schools aimed at an active participation of the young generation in the improvement of a better quality of our lands. Each school team has to plan and build an eco-boat using recycled materials. The best and last part is to float in the water in the most ecological and craziest eco-race in the (Adriatic) Sea!

ROBOT MARINO is a project developed by 11-13 year old students of IC Antonio Sebastiani of Minturno and consists of an educational robot to be assembled and easily programmable. It adopts standard and affordable electronic components. Some components are obtained by 3D printing.The programming of the Arduino UNO board takes place in visual mode in a Scratch derivation environment.

YEASTIME: THE ART OF FERMENTATION develops and produces an innovative device, which finds its application into the fermentation field. The product reduces time, costs and consumptions associated to the fermentation process, through the usage of sensors and ultrasounds. Yeastime, focuses on providing both economical and environmental benefits to companies and local beer producers, at this moment, but aims at impacting the overall fermentation market.

Maker Art

MakerArt is the section of Maker Faire Rome that provides user with opportunities for dialogue between the makers and the international artists curated by Valentino Catricalà. The main focus of the third edition of Maker Art is artificial intelligence, hosting on-site installations, performances and talks dedicated to the encounter between contemporary art and new technologies. If artificial intelligence shapes our lives, who shapes artificial intelligence? How are we influenced by machines, that make decisions that we may not even be aware of?

Maker Art will develop in three directions: installation, performance and dialogue (through physical and virtual talks). Participating artists include: Memo Akten, Hiba Ali, Paolo Cirio, Stephanie Dinkins, Jake Elwes, Kyriaki Goni, Alessandro Giannì, Helena Nikonole, Filippo Okapi, Donato Piccolo, Anna Ridler, Jenna Sutela, Nye Thompson, Emilio Vavarella and the art groups Bill Balaskas & Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, Catherine D’Ignazio – Lauren F. Klein – Marcia Diaz Agudelo, Mushon Zer-Aviv – Dan Stavy – Eran Weissenstern, Entangled Others (Sofia Crespo X Feileacan McCormick) and Numero Cromatico.

Today we use artificial intelligence and algorithmic systems in countless everyday activities without realizing it – from navigation, online search engines, advice, text messaging, virtual assistants, ‘smart’ devices. At the same time, artificial intelligence and algorithms are also  controversial, such as facial recognition and profiling, predictive analysis for employment, crime monitoring and predictive policing. Headlining Maker Art is the “You and AI” exhibition which explores AI not as some future potentiality, but as a present-day reality. Premiering in Athens last summer, the Roman version of the exhibition will be curated by Irini Mirena Papadimitriou (Artistic Director of FutureEverything) and Valentino Catricalà.

As the curatorial notes to the previous Athens iteration reveal, this project connects deeply with understanding the questions posed in the MFR opening conference: “The thought that PEOPLE could be controlled by machines, which once was considered to be a sign of madness, doesn’t feel so fallacious today…At the time of the development of this project, we are still navigating our way through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis – a highly impactful event for PEOPLE, society, CULTURE, economy and environment, but also a crisis that has had a profound influence on human behavior, living and working. The pandemic comes at a time of ongoing crises, from conflicts, authoritarianism, climate change to name a few that we have been facing and will continue to face. Could this be a changing point in terms of how we think, interact with, behave or care about PEOPLE, other species, places, nature? Could this possibly be a time to rethink the consequences of creating unjust systems or messing with ecosystems?”

Maker Music will also take center stage, with contributions from some of the protagonists of the Italian music scene (including Clementino, La Rappresentante Di Lista, NAIP, Max Casacci of Subsonica), Maker Music aims to offer new insights into the world of music.  Each year a theme guides the Maker Music programme: the 2021 theme is wandering. Maker Music will tell the story of the action of wandering as a creative spark, a flicker of innovation, often an actor in changing the course of music. It will tell it to a young audience through music, showing the educational value of mistakes. Musical creativity passes through error, the misuse of instruments and technologies that leads to the birth of new musical genres. One example is the scratch, which has become the hallmark of rap music, born by chance when a young DJ, scolded by his mother for turning off the music at full volume, accidentally put his hand on the record that was turning on the turntable, stopping it and simultaneously discovering the technique that has become the founding discipline of hip hop. 

The STORM CONCERT is a collaboration between the artist Donato Piccolo connects with the roman trap band Garage Gang. In the Storm Concert electricity becomes sound and the melody becomes a magnetic storm governed by human hands. Donato Piccolo has collaborated with other musicians bringing art, robotics and music into a seamless performance as with Italian rapper Fasma at San Remo 2021.

Daniele Puppi brings a new outdoor sensory experience in an 8 meter video installation to the Gazometro. One of Italy’s most renowned multimedia artists, Daniele Puppi’s work is based on making site-specific video installations which merges architectural space, cinematic imagery and sound, resulting in an immersive sensory experience.

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