From Hannover to Berlin: The Joy of Making Spreads Across Germany

Maker News
From Hannover to Berlin: The Joy of Making Spreads Across Germany

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Germany has long been known synonymous with fine engineering and a keen sense of innovation, and as of the past few years, it’s also become yet another home for Maker Faire. Three years ago, Heinz Heise, the German publishing company who produces c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik (the most subscribed-to computer magazine in all of Europe) as well as a German-language version of Make: magazine, hosted the first Maker Faire Hannover. (Read the full story in our pre-show coverage.) This past June, the Faire attracted an impressive 10,150 visitors and showcased 100 maker exhibits. The date for the 2016 is already set for May 28 and 29, and makers have started to plan their projects for next year.

Here’s a video glimpse of this year’s Maker Faire Hannover:

YouTube player

As well as a sampling of the faces and projects that were present:

In a display of boundless energy, the organizing team is also spreading the joy of making about 180 miles to the east and bringing Maker Faire to the capital city of Berlin this weekend, October 3 and 4.

Philip Steffan, one of the organizers, shares:

Maker Faire Berlin will be held at Postbahnhof, a historic brick building, which was formerly a train station for the postal service. Postbahnhof was actually too small for all the makers that responded to our call, so in addition to the two levels of the building, we have set up a large tent in the yard to accommodate all. The area is 3000 square meters, or about 32000 square feet. We’ll have about 130 booths in Berlin with the usual range including electronics hackers, school projects, robots, 3D printing and scanning, and drones, but also beekeeping, sewing, upcycling, and so on. Of course, there’s a fire-breathing robot as well. His name is Kevin.

What types of reactions have they received from the Berlin Maker community leading up to the Faire? Steffan explains:

A lot of people were like, “Finally!“ Berliners are very special in that respect: they don’t really travel elsewhere to see a show — they expect the show to come to them, since Berlin is the capital. I’ve lived here for the last 15 years and so it made me very happy to be able to invite all my friends and all the projects I know to present at a Maker Faire. We’re also very happy about the reaction from several governmental bodies and industrial associations. Berlin is the hub of German hardware startups and there’s a lot of interest in how the Maker Movement can connect to that development.

8 Exhibits to Experience

The Maker Faire Berlin site offers a full list of Makers, along with a location map and a full schedule of talks and workshops. Here are eight highlighted exhibits you won’t want to miss.

Kevin the Fire-Breathing Transformer Robot

Artist Mike Wessling from the Netherlands created Kevin using a shipping container, and with its fancy hydraulic system, Kevin actually looks like a shipping container until he transforms and spews flames from his arms.

Mäqädat Automatic Book Scanner

Prof. Wolfgang Pittroff, dean of the University of Mekelle in Ethiopia, came to Maker Faire Hannover in August 2013 looking for tech savvy collaborators to build a book scanner for their university. The purpose was to combat high text book prices by having books freely available in digital format. The result is Mäqädat.

SenseBox Citizen Science Sensor Kit

A project of GI @ School at the Institute for Geoinformatics of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, SenseBox is a DIY kit for the citizen scientist to measure environmental factors like climate, air quality, traffic, and noise.

Le Petit Cool Open Source Greenhouse

La Cool Co. has designed stylish DIY greenhouse kits, called Le Petit Cool, that can each monitor and control air temperature, humidity, light intensity, soil moisture, and water supply for up to three plants. The greenhouses can also record images to create timelapse videos of a plant growing.

Vai Kai Interactive Wooden Doll

The Vai Kai dolls masterfully combine classic wooden dolls with mobile technology, offering the opportunity for children to explore interconnectivity and augment real-world play without screens. The Russian Matryoshka doll-style wooden toys respond to touch and can communicate with each other.

The Hypercubes Modular Musical Instrument

The Hypercubes are a set of transparent acrylic electronic modules that make music depending on how the modules are put together. A set of magnets in the corners of each allows current to flow, closing the circuit, once they modules are placed next to one another. The project offers a way to work with electronic in a more tactile way than on a computer.

Open Hive Open Source Bee-Monitoring Project

Berlin-based urban beekeeper Clemens Gruber’s Open Hive open-source bee-monitoring project measures variables on hives including weight, temperature, humidity, light, and bees flying in and out. The data can then be transferred and displayed as a chart on a webpage.

Global Innovation Gathering Projects from Africa and Asia

The Global Innovation Gathering (GIG) is an annual meeting of tech hubs, fab labs, makerspaces and innovation centers from all over the world. At the Faire, a series of member projects will be on display including Cladlight, a wearable tech startup from Kenya working to reduce motorcycle accidents using The Smart Jacket; Digitally Speaking, garments addressing issues of security for women in India by designer Nidhi Mittak and hacker Avik Dhupar; and AB3D (African Born 3D Printing), a social enterprise involved with the production of 3D printers and filament made from recycled waste materials.

For all the information you need to attend, including how to get tickets in advance, head to the Maker Faire Berlin site.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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