Maker Spotlight: Blue Martin

Drones & Vehicles
Maker Spotlight: Blue Martin

Name: Blue Martin
Home: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Makerspace: Her pig pen
Day Job: Artificial Heart Engineer

Photo by Pete Prodoehl

Tiny Electric Racecars: Biomedical Engineering : Roller Derby

Blue Martin is the constructor of the Waffle Kart in the Power Racing Series, and is also a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering at CMU. She’s most comfortable in a machine shop, a pig pen, or as a referee on the roller derby track. While pursuing her passion in artificial heart research, she stumbled upon a project to develop a device that could treat malaria through magnetic aphaeresis. Her continual hardware development through her doctoral thesis is part of the reason she uses the Power Racing Series as a relaxing engineering challenge, as well as an outreach to a much wider maker community who share her interests in STEM-related education.

“It doesn’t take a genius to make something really cool and effective, just a good team of friends. Or not. Whatever”

For some people, participating in the under-$500 electric kart series that features vehicles from Mario Kart, Jurassic Park, and Back to The Future means serious business. After meeting team captain Thorin Tobiassen through a few machining classes, Blue is now part of the three-car team The Arustocrats. Blue didn’t wait around for the perfect ride — she built it with scraps, dumpster diving, and random Craigslist searching:

“Many parts were harvested from Craigslist purchases and I resold the spares to bring my electronics (minus batteries and reverse switch) and brakes to net zero. I harvested LEAF LiPos with a modified custom charging setup.”
Blue’s difficult doctoral research work is often juxtaposed by seemingly non-sensical pursuits, in a desire to keep her mind constantly engaged and to learn outside of her comfort zone. It’s not about being an expert, it’s about diving into the unknown:

“Having fun and keeping in touch with your inner child is sometimes the only way to stay sane. I thrive from all my hobbies and often learn far more than expected from them than many academic classes I have taken.”

You can find Blue online at:
Facebook | Website

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is a graphic designer for Make: Magazine. His life is defined by three B's: Bikes, Burgers, Battlestar Galactica. Tiny electric car enthusiast and founder of the Power Racing Series. (

Also helped start a hackerspace that one time and tricked himself into thinking he didn't write this in the third person.

View more articles by James Tiberius Burke