Robot Whispering + Circuit Wizardry Coming Up at Maker Faire Miami 2023

Maker Faire Maker News
Robot Whispering + Circuit Wizardry Coming Up at Maker Faire Miami 2023


Miami Maker Faire is just around the corner, and has been building an incredible lineup of guest speakers for this year’s 10th anniversary celebration. After a few years of (necessarily) modified events and an awesome partnership with the Miami Marlins the event returns bigger and better than ever to the Watsco Center on the University of Miami campus. From creative coders to robot whisperers, the dynamic creators and makers will surely inspire and amaze you with their innovative work and ideas. Join us at Miami Maker Faire on April 15-16 to meet these incredible makers and be inspired by their creativity and innovation. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn, create, and connect with like-minded individuals in our community. 

Featured Makers

Dr. Madeline Gannon, "The Robot Whisperer"...

…is a multidisciplinary designer specializing in communicating with machines. She specializes in convincing robots to do things they were never intended to do: from transforming giant industrial robots into living, breathing mechanical creatures, to taming hordes of autonomous machines to behave more like a pack of animals. Her work proves that robots can be more than useful — they can become meaningful additions to our everyday lives. Gannon strives to show that technology is a cultural medium. Through her research studio, ATONATON, she brings bleeding edge tech to wider audiences by exhibiting at international cultural institutions, publishing at academic conferences, and through interviews with global media outlets, such as the BBC, the Guardian, FT, the Science Channel, NPR, WIRED, FastCompany, Dezeen, and The Verge. She is a World Economic Forum Cultural Leader, one of the ‘Top 10 Women in Robotics Industry’ and ‘World’s 50 Most Renowned Women in Robotics’ according to Analytics Insight. She has been a Robotics & AI Researcher at NVIDIA, an Artist in Residence at the FIU Robotics & Digital Fabrication Lab, and has held previous fellowships at ETH Zurich, Autodesk Pier 9, and the Carnegie Mellon STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. Gannon holds a M.Arch from Florida International University, and a Ph.D in Computational Design from Carnegie Mellon University.

CW&T : Making as a way of life

CW&T, the art and design practice of Che-Wei Wang and Taylor Levy, is the recipient of the 2022 National Design Award for Product Design from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Their unique blend of art and technology has led them to create various innovative products, from minimalistic pens to smart devices to full scale installations!

Of their practice they write: “Our practice centers around an iterative process of sketching, prototyping, testing, writing code, machining parts, and building each edition ourselves to assess our intuitions around improving our everyday experiences. Projects range from devices that alter our perception of time, an electronics curriculum for artists, an astrological compass for space travelers, to objects engineered to last multiple generations. Whether by changing expectations around how long products could last, challenging conventional timekeeping or reconsidering simple routines, we design each project with analogous guiding principles that have been ingrained into our home and work. Sharing our process with our community is essential to our practice. We cultivate an ethos of openness through teaching, open source software + hardware, and by providing support for others to create self-sufficient design practices.”

Charlyn Gonda

Charlyn Gonda is a talented maker who combines her technical skills with her artistic talents to create visually stunning projects. A coder by daylight and a maker by moonlight, Charlyn enjoys creating unique, glowy art using various tools and technologies, including 3D printers, laser cutters, and microcontrollers.Her focus on the intersection of technology and design has allowed her to build software and hardware that functions well and looks beautiful. At Miami Maker Faire, Charlyn will be showcasing some of her favorite wearable interactive jewelry, all of which will be glowy, and most of them made with CircuitPython. Don’t miss the opportunity to see Charlyn’s unique creations and hear more about her journey as a maker.

Elijah Horland Talks Micocontrollers, Mythbusters + Maker Faire

Elijah Horland, a self-taught maker, programmer, and circuit wiz, started building electronic things at a young age. He is a co-host on Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, where he helps test and bust myths using the scientific method alongside other young makers and scientists. Elijah’s projects often revolve around microcontrollers, and his Altoids-box game system is a prime example of his technical skill and creativity. He started as a dedicated Raspberry Pi user but has since branched out to Arduino. When he realized that there were limited STEM classes and experiences at his middle school, he sought out those opportunities by attending Maker Faires, which he describes as the best programs he’s seen. In 2016, Elijah attended the World Maker Faire, his first time attending a Maker Faire event. There, he met with makers and received encouragement and sound advice, which made him feel like he’d finally found his tribe in the maker community. Since then, he has continued to innovate and create, developing game systems and controllers. His Altoids-box game system is a prime example of his technical skill and witty creativity.

This year, Elijah and host of collaborators, are putting their maker ingenuity and skills to the test to produce Coney Island Maker Faire on October 6th! For aspiring makers just getting started, Elijah’s words of advice are: “Stubbornness is a virtue!” Persistence and perseverance are essential traits for any maker, as finishing a project can often be challenging but ultimately rewarding.

MELWARE: The Creative Works of Mel Ho

MEL HO is a multi-disciplinary designer and robotics engineer with interests in animatronics, vintage computing, cosmic horror, and mathematics. The maker movement has transformed the landscape of innovation and creativity by democratizing access to manufacturing and engineering knowledge to a broader audience and Mel has been an active community member, contributing their expertise and creativity to many projects. In a recent interview, Mel shared some insights into their journey as a maker, the challenges they faced, and the exciting trends they see in the maker community. When asked about the technologies and tools they use in their work, Mel said they like to play with cutting-edge tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and electronics. They also highlighted the importance of precision in their work, which allows them to ideate and bring their designs to life. Mel’s approach to using technology showcases the potential of digital fabrication and electronics for all makers.

One of the most exciting trends that Mel sees in the maker community is the intersection of AI and making. They look forward to seeing more AI collaborations in conjunction with physical making and witnessing the “alien” designs that will come from it. Aside from working with AI, Mel also loves to collaborate with other makers from different disciplines. They like to start their collaborations with a casual conversation where they and their collaborator can spitball ideas together. Then they agree on tasks to split the work and check in frequently to ensure they are both supported in the build. Mel’s approach to collaboration highlights the importance of communication and working towards shared goals to create new amazing things! For aspiring makers just starting in the field, Mel has the following advice: “Remember to be kind to yourself where you currently are and to continue pushing for what you want to build. For people who relate deeply to me and my experiences, I just want to say that you belong here and the maker community is more enriched with you around.”

More Makers + Fun Stuff!

Maker Faire Miami is back in full force to fight robots in the same arena UM plays basketball!! This event is a team effort from Palm Beach Bots & Team Witch Doctor. Witness the debut of a two class ant system creating a smoother experience for builders. Instead of one giant bracket with an excess of rounds Ants are split into Ant Rookie & Ant Pro. Both classes are capped at 16. Rookie is not just for your first event, it’s for anyone learning and growing in the sport. Even grizzled veterans testing new meta breaking designs are welcome with event organizer approval. Pro is for the seasoned and most destructive custom bots. >> LEARN MORE

Have you wanted to fly a racing drone? Join Maker Faire Miami and learn to fly an FPV drone. An FPV or first person view drone has a camera mounted at the front of the drone. With this camera and a pair VR like goggles and a flight controller.

Jihyun Ko is a programmer and plastic model maker. Moving Gunpla & Figure project remodeled a Gundam plastic model kit with a servo, LED, USB camera, controlled by Arduino Board. Attendee can control the items.

Maker Jihyun Ko is also part of a rteam of cardboard coders, along with Younghoon Kim and Heeyoung Jun. The ‘dCO’ team consists of young students(8-16 years old). Students’ ideas have been realized by the student’s coding, study and mento’s help. The eco cardboard kits for Scratch/Arduino.

Aldo Luna is best known for his Artworks of natural and cosmological figures made through digital painting, 3D modeling, Motion Graphics, VR, and more. Based out of Miami, Aldo uses his background in traditional art, Film studies, computer animation, and music production to create imaginative explorations of the Universes around us. Having worked at many art galleries, museums, and trained as an apprentice under various artists, Aldo now shares his knowledge by devoting part of his time to instructing workshops and classes to young enthusiastic learners.

Printed Farms is here to build for the future! Our vision is to lead the industry in sustainable building techniques by introducing innovative 3D printing techniques and machines that improve efficiencies and reduce costs. 

Maker Jim Ritter joined the 3D printing industry in 2016 because of the need for increasing efficiency in conventional construction building. With over 20 years of building experience, he intends to make 3D construction printing a more viable option than conventional construction methods, create buildings that are climate-resistant, and develop and improve methods for 3D printing construction! Furthermore, Jim now offers consulting services to construction, building and/or technology companies who is in need of his expertise.

Sponsor @amazonwebservices South Florida will be featuring several robotics exhibits this year’s event. They’ll bring Boston Dynamics’ Spot, a four-legged robot, to walk around the arena and bring you to an AWS “Puppy Park” with palm-size robotic dogs. Participants can also enjoy a DeepRacer arcade experience at the AWS booth! So much to see and do – come glimpse the future and get inspired.


From the official 501st Legion Charter: “…The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work…” >> FLORIDA GARRISON

Battlebots in the Flesh...

Meet the teams from The Discovery Channel’s BattleBots robot combat competition show! Featuring HyperShock, RotatoЯ, and Witch Doctor – BattleBot!!! See the 250lb robots up close!

Driftie Monster has been a staple of the Power Racing Series for 7 years now, covered in blue fur and powered by an 1800w scooter motor, come check it out and learn how you too can learn how to build a fun pint sized race car! Maker Andrew has been part of the Maker Faire community for over 10 years, building robots, volunteering for events, and having fun!

Airigami strikes again! It wouldn’t be Maker Faire without a bubble mural. An Airigami Bubble Mural is a creative installation built by community members using easy to inflate and biodegradable latex balloons! It’s the perfect visual demonstration of how many small efforts can create tremendous results.

Find more information at Learn more about the awesome Maker Faire Miami team HERE.  See you there!

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Jennifer Blakeslee keeps the Global Maker Faire program running smoothly and has been a maker at Maker Faire since 2011. Among other things, she really likes to travel, write, cook, hike, make big art, and swim in the ocean.

View more articles by Jennifer Blakeslee