Shenzhen Has Everything from a Kinetic Wheat Field Installation to a Lamp That Responds to Your Emotions

Maker News
Shenzhen Has Everything from a Kinetic Wheat Field Installation to a Lamp That Responds to Your Emotions

For the past seven years, the maker mecca of Shenzhen, China has hosted a celebration that continues to gain momentum and flourish with every iteration. Taking place this weekend, October 12–14, is Maker Faire Shenzhen, where future tech comes to play and collaborate. While last year’s festivities promoted the theme of “Go pro!”, this year spotlight is on maker stories and on embracing the concept that “Innovation changes life,” with a focus on makers who develop solutions to real-world issues. As organizing team member Violet Su explains:

In 2018, we’ll have an emphasis on makers’ capabilities and how their expertise matches with social and industrial needs. While retaining the elements of fun, interactivity, education, and family-friendly, we’ll have a focus on the aspect of how makers and their creativity/solutions can help solve social problems, improve the education of science & technology as well as co-create for the urban development. We will highlight makers/teams/startups who embrace the concept of “Innovation changes life”.

Even in the Call for Makers, there was this note: “This year, we are also concerned about the people behind projects and the stories. We will take both the exhibits and the team’s stories into consideration in the process of selecting.”

In the spirit of fluidity, this year’s event, once again, has a great new venue. Su offers insight:

Indeed it is kind of a routine for MFSZ, as we change venue every year with the aim to connect our Maker Faire Shenzhen community with various local communities and to build up special bonds within the city.

The Sea World Culture and Arts Center (SWCAC) is located within Sea World’s coastal city complex in Shekou, Nanshan District, Shenzhen. It is also the first building designed by the famous Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki in China. Facing the Bay, great ocean view and mountain view, we couldn’t ask for more. As it is also home to Design Society, Shenzhen’s first design museum in the city, we believe that the venue will bring a freshness of design and art to our Maker Faire Shenzhen community.

Though the venue will be completely different than last year, the creativity, energy, and inspiration will be as vibrant as always. After all, Shenzhen has a reputation that precedes it. Check out Violet Su’s show recap post from 2017 for an overview of last year’s stellar event.

There are a wide array of maker exhibits in store for you this weekend, as well as a healthy selection of workshops. Below is just a sampling of what you can expect.


iONature: Wheat Field

ioNature : Wheat Field is an interactive kinetic installation consisting of 212 sets of dried wheat stalks, designed for World Maker Faire New York. When people walk nearby, the wheat responds by swaying back and forth and forming wave patterns, simulating the wind blowing across a field.

Creatures Band

Discarded items gain new life through the robotic Creatures Band. More than 150 days in the creation, hundreds of abandoned instruments and thousands of parts have been collected and transformed into whimsical musicians, thus regaining their worth. Currently, the band consists of three guitarists, a drummer, a steel sheet player, a pianist, and a human singer.

Urban Plants

Urban Plants is an installation designed and built by E-LAB, in collaboration with Mountain Black and Seeed Studio. In nature, some plants can transform and response to their environment as a form of adaptation. This installation explores the concept of if urban systems can also be transformable and adaptive.


For over 20 years, artists Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle have been creating “full-blown” installations that enchant both young. Airigami projects like Elastic Park, Airigami Balloon Adventure, Balloon Manor, and Fantastic Flying Octopus have been the subject of much local, national, and international media attention. Their unique fine art and award-winning illustration work has been showcased around the world.

The DoeY Lamp

Korean maker Derrick Lee presents DoeY Lamp, an interactive mood lamp that runs on Raspberry Pi and uses the Pi Cam to read facial expressions and display the emotions through color. Plus, it has adorable acrylic doe antlers. Yellow signals happiness, red anger, blue  sadness, and purple signals a surprise. Lee’s project will be displayed at the Seeed Studio booth (A001).


MakeFashion EDU

MakeFashion Edu is an international nonprofit working to promote learning through fashion and tech. Through hosting workshops, reach-out and push-in activities, and larger events, MakeFashion Edu sees providing access for young designers to go to industry and project-based learning as one way to pull local communities together.

Big Clapper

It’s virtually impossible to not smile when you see Big Clapper, the cheerful upright robot whose entire purpose is to applaud and to lift the spirits of passersby. You can control it from your smartphone, put it in full automatic mode, and even create costumes for it. What’s not to love?

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For all the information you need to attend Maker Faire Shenzhen, check out the website! 


And to learn how Maker Faire Shenzhen is drawing so many international makers to this great event, see this insightful video from Smart Shenzhen:


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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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