Maker Movement Mania

This Is the Year of the Maker

Tracy Chambers iQ Contributing Editor

We went. We saw. We made.

It’s nearly impossible to choose a ‘Best of Maker Faire 2014,’ here is a sampling of the sublime, amazing, colorful, wonderful, zany, powerful and just plain awesome things we experienced that blew our minds at this year’s Maker Faire, held in San Mateo, Calif., just a half-hour drive north from Intel headquarters.

Each one leads to why Dale Daugherty, the publisher of Make Magazine who founded the Faire, has dubbed 2014 the Year of the Maker.

11. The Touchfab Light Cloud

Pretty to they eye and impressive to the touch. Designed by Touchfab, this light cloud is made up of 5000 lbs. of steel and light bulbs. It’s controlled by a series of Android tablets that allow you to change the color of the sculpture as if you were painting with a brush. Bright colors by Philips Hue technology.

10. Game of Drones.

Drones of different shapes and sized hovered above the event through each day, often capturing video of spectacles.

This video by a 3D Robotics Drone gives one of the best possible overviews, and we do mean Over – View.

9. Paint that can serve as a circuit board?!

It’s all about youthful curiosity at the Maker Faire. Capturing the imagination by turning a wall into an interactive piano seems like a good idea to us, especially because it makes ask how it works.

Bare Conductive lets you draw circuits with electric paint. It takes finger-painting to another realm.

8. The node.JS Sandbox

Intel employee Michael McCool built a pebble manipulator that can be controlled over the web.

The fine motor- control made possible through McCool’s deployment of node.js in combination with HTML5 software code.

It enthralled Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and left his colleague speechless.

7. The Solrmatic solar cooker.

What could be more DIY-meets-Mother-is-the-necessity-of-invention-meets-OMG-I’m-so-off-the grid-my-oven-is-powered-by-the-sun?

What this Solrmatic solar cooker lacks in style it makes up for in terms of engineering ingenuity and sheer practicality.

6. The Bay Area Lego User’s Group

One word. Four letters. Lego.

Outside of Legoland and maybe Sweden we’ve never seen so many colored bricks.

This area was Lego-tastic to the extreme. It dazzled everyone.

5. Rube Goldberg Giant Size Mousetrap

It took 13 years to make, 5 days to assemble and weighs over 50,000 lbs.

It’s the most amazing dynamic Rube Goldberg machine we’ve ever seen.

4. Electric Giraffe

Born from the mind of a longtime attendee of Burning Man — yes, that Nevada Black Rock desert extravaganza! This guy just wanted to have an electric animal he could ride around the desert.

The Electric Giraffe was truly a sight to behold at the Maker Faire, all 17 feet and 1700 pounds of her.

3. Quantum Levitation

We were charmed and blown away by the scientific pizzazz of this 8th Grade Charter School project that used liquid nitrogen to supercool a superconductor and thereby demonstrate the behavior of superconductors within magnetic fields.

2. ArcAttack!

What happens when you cross Dr. Who with Rock and Roll multiplied by science?

The amazing ArcAttack!,

This live performance demonstrating the power and wizardry of the Tesla coil.

1. Intel Galileo

Well, since it’s so near and dear to our maker heart, we shamelessly close out our list with Intel Galileo technology.

After first breaking onto the scene at Maker Faire Rome in October 2013, the Intel Quark-based micro mini controller for makers is rolling out with version 2. It made a big splash at this year’s Maker Faire.

Students, parents and everyone who wondered through the Intel booth got a chance to see, touch and control the capabilities of core technology that let people make sounds, blink lights and move objects using electronic sensors. While this Arduino compatible technology is still nascent, Galileo brought to life robots and other electronically controlled mechanisms to life, giving people ideas for how they might go off and do something wonderful.

Our very own high school prodigy intern, Joey Hudy, unveiled his secret project based on Intel Galileo technology.


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