The second Mini Maker Faire was held at the Powerhouse yesterday and once again was packed with interesting and unusual things to see and do – from electric cars through to DIY printed circuits. The Maker Faire is an almost unique opportunity for locals to widely showcase their ingenuity and creativity and the geeky makers were out in force. The Robots and Dinosaurs hackerspace put on a particularly good show with some really clever use of disparate parts. 3D printing was all over the place but even more interesting was a Brisbane team showing off their machine that prints electronic circuits – desktop printing of circuits is going to be a huge thing in the maker community it seems to me.
When we arrived at midday yesterday the queue to get into the Maker Faire curled around the block – which I’m guessing means the Powerhouse will look upon this as a successful second event and we can now count on it as a fixture in Sydney’s geeky diary.
The day before saw a different aspect of mini making with the finals of the Young ICT Explorers competition at UNSW. Students from Year 3 to Year 12 showing off their creativity and all-round cleverness. There were some simply astonishing projects on display from mind-controlled prosthetic arms though to a group that made their own web browser. It was simply wonderful to see the kids in action. It was especially cool to see so many complex devices combining electronics and programming to solve real-World problems.
It was noticeable how much similarity there was between the two maker events – partly in terms of the materials and approaches being used (3D printing again) but more in terms of the people. At both events the exhibitors and the crowds were genuinely interested, engaged and excited by what they were seeing. There’s something deeply compelling and uplifting in seeing such levels of ingenuity and creativity on display. It really drove home the potential in everyday objects, the potential for the human mind to find solutions, and the brimming potential in our local students.