With just over two weeks left to World Maker Faire New York, the countdown is on! Our first full-scale East Coast Faire will take place on September 25 and 26 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, which was originally built as a pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair, the perfect location to showcase the newest maker-made art and tech. In the lead-in to the Faire, we want to showcase the Maker Faire’s most important collaborators: the makers themselves. Today we chat with RuBot creator and Mechatrons director, Pete Redmond.
1. Tell us about the project you’re bringing to Maker Faire.
RuBot II is the worlds fastest Rubik’s Cube-solving robot, certified by the Guinness World Records and appearing in the 2010 edition of the Guinness Book of Records. It is a humanoid robot that solves a cube in about 25 seconds. I built RuBot to demonstrate a machine doing something regarded as clever when done by humans. RuBot is completely open so all the circuits and mechanisms can be seen working.
2. How did you hear about Maker Faire and why did you decide to participate?
I am a big fan of the MAKE magazines and have been aware of the Maker Faires for some time. Although I have attended Maker Faire in the U.K., this is my first opportunity to attend a Maker Faire in the U.S. so I am very excited about it.
3. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started making things and who are your inspirations?
I really don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something. It may have been with play dough, Lego, or Meccano, but from a very young age I was always building something. Meccano was my favourite toy when I was young. I could build complex structures with moving parts linked by gears, strings, and pulleys. I loved figuring out how to create drive trains and levers. I admire simple machines that make good use of physics.
4. Is your project strictly a hobby or a budding business? Does it relate to your day job?
It started out as a hobby, moved into a degree topic, and has become my day job. I am currently researching robotics in Trinity College, Dublin. My company, Mechatrons, now builds robots for display, movies, and TV shows. It’s nice to get paid for doing something I love.
5. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?
I am very excited about recent advances in machine vision that are allowing robots to navigate unknown environments and track moving obstacles or targets.
6. What is your motto?
Try it and see.
7. What advice would you give to the young makers out there just getting started?
Follow instructions to build something, then find the flaws and make it better on your own.
8. What do you love most about NYC?
New York has a fantastic energy. There is a synergy pulsating throughout the city that breeds creativity. The metropolitan culture present in everything from architecture to infrastructure, from theatre to cuisine, is inspirational to all forms of artistic endeavour. If you are bored, then you are not in New York.
Thanks, Pete! Folks, there is still a week left to get advanced pricing on tickets, so buy your tickets online, and save money and time standing in line. Check out the World Maker Faire NY site for all the information you need. See you at the Faire!
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