Application For Maker Faire Rome 2024: Deadline June 20th

Learn More About the Ideas, Makers + Projects at Maker Faire Rome 2024

Developing a multitude of technologies for the sustainability of the planet and for environmental care is imperative today. The depletion of natural resources and the need to conserve what remains have brought technological innovation into our lives, especially at events and expositions like the one in Rome, the largest event of its kind in Europe, which holds its eleventh edition in October. The Rome Chamber of Commerce, the organizer of Maker Faire Rome (MFR), offers dissemination and business opportunities annually to technology developers and the general public. “The Maker Faire promotes the exchange of ideas and the evolution of technologies; it presents prototypes that help change the world,” says Alessandro Ranellucci, the event’s content manager.

Bronte, the Sicilian city known for pistachios, devises a pollen blower in the form of a drone to address weather changes, facilitating fertilization. Being a volcanic area (Bronte is next to Mount Etna), tractors cannot enter. The best part is that students from a local high school invent this. “With this prototype, we achieve a 24% increase in pistachio production,” says Mauricio Paraselete, one of its creators and one of the many “makers” at the faire awaiting an investor to bring their invention to market.

Solar panels are being experimented with: there are flexible ones to adapt to non-flat surfaces (caravans, boats, golf carts…), and others have sensors that make them move like sunflowers in search of light. Wind turbines innovate by curving the tips of their blades, “introducing a double rotation that increases energy production by 20%,”; explains Giorgio Palamara, their inventor. The goal is to produce energy without emitting greenhouse gases, the cause of climate change. Hence, geoenergy, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), is now in fashion, represented at MFR by Biosphera Genesis, an energetically self-sufficient living unit.

Recycling is also fundamental. The students from the Sapienza University of Rome create an intelligent waste container where all types of waste are discarded together. An internal system recognizes whether they are organic, plastic, paper, glass… and sorts them. It cannot get easier.

To learn braille with ease, Katerina Koleva and Magda Zukowska, students from the European Institute of Technology, showcase a system of buttons, tactile vibration, and audio, all integrated into a hand-sized cube called “Brailly” at the Rome Fair. Ken Endo, the inventor of the carbon fiber prosthesis with which Japanese athlete Keita Sato wins a medal at the Rio Paralympics, presents
a dance performance with dancers wearing his prostheses at the fair. He calls it Technology for the Arts. Indeed, art has dazzled many technologies, or perhaps technology is fascinating for many

Fabio Viola, for example, presents himself in Rome as an archaeologist and video game designer. He says that video games”can have a therapeutic nature” that his games take place “in real cultural settings”  like museums, and that what happens in them “is always the result of collective

Spaniards Daniel Rosero from Barcelona and Ángel Cabello from Zaragoza are at the fair. Rosero shows his interface for musicians to use their own gestures to generate sound effects, created alongside Katalina Soto. Cabello presents his DIY calculator with symbolic mathematics and an easily customizable program. There is also a reproduction of the mummy of Ramses II with corn and kombucha skin signed by Sapienza University, information about European monuments in QR
codes and virtual reality by students from an Estonian school, AI-interactive holograms, and a program called Sidereus offering cultural activities to NASA astronauts.

Video games help significantly in raising awareness about the care the planet needs. Nintendo technology is used for recycling household waste, teaching young people the necessary differentiation of container colors. At the same time, makers monitor the plant world for better utilization, allowing, for example, apps to alert about insects before they become pests or enabling predictive irrigation. Additionally, AI-equipped robots are handling precision agriculture, using data to optimize production. At the fair, they are harvesting grapes.

Home Gardens
Numerous proposals for home gardens are seen at MFR, for cultivating at home or in desert areas in habitats that meet the cultivation needs with minimal water consumption. There are also applications to check the nutritional value of foods, fruit producers making chips and purees with pieces that do not reach the market, olive oil producers making compost from ground olive residues, cookie manufacturers using cricket flour, and high school students inventing a material made from mushrooms to replace plastic, used to make countless items.

Drones have become the guardians of everything. Equipped with magnetic resonance technology, they detect if there are aquifers, archaeological remains, or minerals underground. Daniela Tamburrino shows a prototype called Hydrohunter for this purpose. Other technological developments aim to extinguish fires, like the AirCoreFire Dasp robot, and to prevent fatalities in earthquakes, like Lifeshell, an open-source model for constructing special wooden tables to shelter under during seismic movements.

The excitement generated by the gathering of so many “little Leonardos” at MFR does not exclude the gaze towards large companies contributing to sustainability. In a pavilion entirely dedicated to sports, materials used yesterday and today are exhibited, referring to giants like Adidas, which already work with recycled plastic materials in the manufacture of their shoes and sportswear. Other companies are born directly to combat waste and the pollution it entails. In the same sports pavilion, Doctor Bike offers tandem bike rides to fairgoers to explain their mission: “We work in a large part of the world providing roadside and even home technical assistance,” says Elisa Lombardi. In Italy, they recover and restore bicycles with Ciclo Riciclo, manufacture inclusive vehicles (for carrying other people) with Aspassobike, and promote cycle tourism.

Technologies to Make Life Easier Inclusion: everyone, regardless of their abilities or social condition, must have equal access to the experiences our community offers. Thousands of startups worldwide are committed to working for the inclusion of differently abled people. The Maker Faire Rome showcases many of their solutions, such as Officine Zero, a multifactory that recycles rental scooter wheels for use in wheelchairs, “with a very simple electronic board (of course, open-source) and very easy connections.”t; The inventors assure that these wheels give more independence to their users because they are small and fit in
places like elevators.

To help teenagers with disabilities learn to shop, choose products, handle money and prices, pay, and collect change, We Do FabLab, another entrepreneurs' lab, creates an interactive game with virtual reality. Makers Rita Consonni and Luciano Fumagalli develop a device for deaf people, “very cheap,”; that amplifies the voice frequency of those speaking to them. “And if you’;re in the countryside, it charges with a solar panel.”

Startups, the Inventors of the 21st Century
A startup is a young company with an online headquarters; and an innovative approach, giving it great growth potential. This year, at Maker Faire Rome, most of the projects exhibited are from startups, which gain promotion at such events and climb the ladder of internationalization.
According to experts, the world is experiencing an explosive proliferation of these companies, “most created in China and the United States around artificial intelligence,” confirms Stefan Petersson, one of the many investors invited to the fair from the Norwegian company Xplorico.

“Startups are signing almost all innovations at the moment,” says Petersson, criticizing the European Commission for not supporting them more and “only investing in large projects.” In his opinion, the Nordic countries provide the "best ecosystem for startups to develop." Nevertheless,
he praises the business accelerators that almost all European universities have and asserts that the business and academic worlds must always go hand in hand.

Europe also needs, according to Corinne Raclin, head of the business incubator at the Paris campus, “more industrialization projects to reduce dependence on Asia.” Innovators like her are also invited to Maker Faire Rome to connect with startups. Raclin highlights that artificial intelligence” allows better connection with reality in project development, leading to cleaner

Revolutionizing Laser Cutting Safety: The "Safecutter" Project

Laser cutting technology has long been a staple in industrial settings, offering precision and versatility in material processing. However, its adoption in smaller-scale applications has been hindered by high costs and safety concerns. The Safecutter project, a collaborative effort between the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP) Greifswald and Mr Beam Lasers GmbH, aims to change this narrative. By developing a laser cutter prototype with enhanced safety features and exhaust air treatment, this project is set to democratize laser cutting, making it accessible to a wider audience.

Making Lasers Safer

One of the primary focuses of the Safecutter project is to address the safety concerns associated with laser cutting. Traditional laser cutting processes can produce toxic gases and vapors, which pose health hazards when operated indoors. The project tackles this issue through several innovative measures:

Preventative Hazard Detection: The project incorporates technology that detects hazardous materials before they are used, minimizing potential risks from the start.

Efficient Exhaust Treatment: Special attention is given to exhaust air treatment, ensuring that waste gases are effectively managed and filtered before being released into the environment.

Exhaust Gas Composition Analysis: The composition of exhaust gases is analyzed, allowing for a better understanding of potential health and environmental impacts.

Integrated Safety Shutdown: The laser cutter is equipped with an integrated safety shutdown mechanism
to respond to unforeseen circumstances and prevent accidents.

Accessibility for All

While safety is a paramount concern, the Safecutter project also aims to make laser cutting accessible to a broader audience. Traditionally, the cost of laser cutting technology has been a barrier to entry for many. To address this, the project explores cost-effective methods that maintain safety standards while ensuring affordability for users. This approach seeks to democratize access to laser cutting technology and empower a wider range of individuals, from small businesses to creative enthusiasts.

Driving Innovation Through Collaboration

The Safecutter project is a shining example of collaboration between science, industry, and the maker community. Supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the Photonik funding measure, the project embodies the spirit of fostering partnerships and driving innovation. By bridging the gap between academia and industry, the project not only enhances laser cutting safety but also paves the way for new forms of cooperation and technology dissemination.

As the Safecutter project blazes a trail towards safer and more accessible laser cutting, it underscores the transformative potential of collaborative efforts. By combining technological innovation with safety considerations, this project has the capacity to revolutionize the way laser cutting is perceived and utilized. As laser cutters become more than just tools of industry, they become instruments of creativity, empowerment, and progress. Through the future of laser cutting is not only bright but also laser safe.

GALDEANO: A DIY Calculator with Symbolic Math

The world of DIY electronics and programming continually sees innovative contributions, with hobbyists and
professionals alike pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved. One such impressive project is
GALDEANO, a DIY calculator designed to program in Python and solve symbolic math problems.

The Heart of GALDEANO

At the core of this calculator is an ESP32 microcontroller, equipped with 4MB of SPI RAM. This powerful
component serves as the brain of the calculator, enabling it to handle complex calculations and run
sophisticated programs. The custom PCB and keyboard are integral parts of the device, providing a tailored
interface that enhances user experience.

Display and Functionality

The calculator features a 320×240 ILI9341 display with a resistive touch sensor, allowing for interactive and user-friendly operation. The device runs a custom MicroPython distribution integrated with LVGL graphics, ensuring smooth and efficient performance. The inclusion of the Eigenmath module as a math engine further elevates its capabilities, enabling users to solve a wide range of symbolic math problems.

Customization and Extensibility
One of the standout features of GALDEANO is its ease of customization and extensibility. The program operates within the data partitions, making it simple for users to modify and extend the calculator’s functionality. This flexibility is ideal for educational purposes, allowing students and enthusiasts to tailor the device to their specific needs and explore various mathematical concepts.

About the Creator

The mastermind behind GALDEANO is Ángel Cabello, a seasoned IT professional with 30 years of experience. Currently working for the public health services in Zaragoza, Spain, Ángel has long nurtured a passion for electronics. Despite his professional commitments, he has dedicated time to this project now that his children are grown, allowing him more freedom to create and innovate.

GALDEANO is more than just a DIY calculator; it is a testament to the potential of combining electronics,
programming, and a passion for learning. Ángel Cabello’s creation not only provides a practical tool for solving symbolic math problems but also serves as an inspiring example of what can be achieved through dedication and creativity in the DIY electronics community.