Maker Faire 2007, Austin, Texas, part 1

Maker Faire was a two-day event that celebrated arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It took place in Austin, Texas in October 2007.

The Do-It-Yourself stuff exhibited here ranges from technology to art, and some exhibitors even stretched this concept a little to include food. Cooking, after all, is the DIY of food! The exhibits covered every category: from practical, to art-that’s-actually-beautiful, to art-that’s-kinda-pointless, to practical technology, to technology that has no value except quirk, to technology that has no point at all. Most of the technology demonstrated here only had value as a piece of art. Or as a proof of concept. There were exceptions, of course. I will cover a bit of all of those categories in the next few posts.

A trailer with a happy face by Stoneheart sculptures

A trailer with a happy face by Stoneheart sculptures at Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7558 A trailer with a happy face

Camera Van — a van covered in cameras. It has its own website: http://www.cameravan.com

Camera Van at Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7561 Camera Van

I noticed there was an item in the program about making clothes out of men’s ties. The dress worn by the woman on the left looks like an example of that.

A dress made of ties at Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7568 A dress made of ties

You are supposed to be able to see a secret image in the the shadow of this hanging sculpture. I didn’t see any. Maybe the lighting wasn’t right. Or maybe it’s all supposed to be in your head anyway.

A secret image shadow sculpture at Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7572 A secret image shadow sculpture

Lampshades made of interlocking pieces. I think the exhibitors of these lampshades were giving away instructions on how to make your own lampshade in this manner.

Lampshades made of interlocking pieces at Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7573 Lampshades made of interlocking pieces
Lampshades made of interlocking pieces at Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7576 Lampshades made of interlocking pieces

A skeleton hand from Instructables. I’m not sure how you can instruct a skeleton hand, but I saw one guy scratching his back with it…

Instructables: skeleton hand. Maker Faire 2007.
CIMG7578 Instructables: skeleton hand

Something-KEYLECTRIC? Very mysterious. Letters in a spinning bicycle wheel that are only visible in high speed photographs? With a naked eye it’s just a colorful blur. In the picture, however, I can almost make out the letters KEYLECTRIC, prefixed by 3-4 other, illegible, letters.

A spinning bicycle wheel with letters KEYLECTRIC, prefixed by 3-4 other, illegible, letters, seen at the Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7580 something-KEYLECTRIC?

A yellow H2rObot named Charlotte, made by a company HydroRobotics.com.

A yellow H2rObot named Charlotte, made by a company HydroRobotics.com and displayed at the Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7590 A yellow H2rObot named Charlotte, made by a company HydroRobotics.com.

Children cuddle with Pleos, the cute dinosaur-robots. As far as I could tell, a Pleo has a set of behaviors that make him look almost sentient! The way they inspire cuddly feelings in children certainly makes it seem so.

Pleo, a cute dinosaur-robot -- Maker Faire visitors were able to hold and cuddle a few of them
CIMG7595 Pleo, a cute dinosaur-robot — Maker Faire visitors were able to hold and cuddle a few of them

Not satisfied with munching on a leaf, a Pleo angles for a tastier morsel — a human finger. Just kidding. He sniffs the finger like a friendly puppy. A creature this cute can’t possibly want to bite off your finger. Right???

Pleo, a dinosaur-robot, is interested in human finger
CIMG7597 Pleo, a dinosaur-robot, is interested in human finger

Here are Pleos with and without skin (such as the one in front).

Pleos with and without skin
CIMG7599 Pleos with and without skin

A Buddha-robot that lights up when you touch it. You can receive a “karma reading” from it. This exhibit was called Chakratron and was created by Scott Gasparian. It was described as “An interactive illuminated kinetic sculpture made from microcontrollers, LEDs, and recycled materials accompanied by demos of programming microcontrollers, shaping plastics, and repurposing sewing machine parts — all with a live webcam “karma relay” link too.”

A Buddha-robot at the Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7600 Chakratron — a Buddha-robot

A child touches a Buddha-robot’s hand to receive a “karma reading”, whatever that is. The Buddha lights up in rainbow colors.

A child touches the hand of a Buddha-robot at the Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7604 A child touches the hand of a Buddha-robot

A closeup of Chakratron’s hand. The sculpture has lit up after the child touched it. And there is also a bowl for donations.

A closeup of the hand of the Buddha-robot.
CIMG7607 A closeup of Chakratron’s hand

A robotic flower with petals made of a steamer insert. It opens and closes rhythmically, pulsating to the music. The steamer insert is identical to the one I have at home, that’s why it caught my interest. It kinda appealed to my girly side. The tiny holes in the steamer insert create hypnotizing moving patterns when the petals open and close.

It was made by the members of the Robot Group, an Austin organization, and presented at the Maker Faire 2007 in Austin, Texas. Here is a video.

A robotic flower with petals made of a steamer insert
CIMG7617 A robotic flower with petals made of a steamer insert

CIMG7618 The mechanical flower dances

The mechanical flower dances, opening and closing its petals that are made of a steamer insert
CIMG7618 The mechanical flower dances

Marvin Niebuhr’s Screamin’ Babyhead Band of steampunky robots “performed” at the Maker Faire 2007. If they were playing any music, though, I couldn’t hear it — it was lost in the din of the exhibit hall. Here is a short video.

Marvin Niebuhr's Screamin' Babyhead Band of steampunky robots performs at Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7623 Screamin’ Babyhead Band

Marvin Niebuhr, aka Professor Conrad, with his creation, the Screamin’ Babyhead Band of robots.

Marvin Niebuhr, aka Professor Conrad, with his creation, the Screamin' Babyhead Band of robots.
CIMG7624 Marvin Niebuhr, aka Professor Conrad

A robo-angel at the Maker Faire. A bikini and a halo — make of it what you want.

A Robo-angel at the Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7625 A Robo-angel

This tall, construction crane-shaped robot wielded a vacuum cleaner. Move away, Roomba!

Tall robot connected to a vacuum cleaner at the Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7628 Tall robot connected to a vacuum cleaner

A young Maker Faire attendee is playing a thereping — an instrument that probably operates on the same principle as theremin, but maybe it is plucked?

A young Maker Faire attendee is playing a thereping
CIMG7633 A young Maker Faire attendee is playing a thereping

Stirling Engines. Here are two videos of them in action.

Stirling Engines at the Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7641 Stirling Engines

Speakers hidden in Mylar balloons. By Marc Greenberg.

Speakers hidden in Mylar balloons
CIMG7650 Speakers hidden in Mylar balloons

A frog purse

A frog purse, seen at the Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7656 A frog purse

Stop-Motion Armatures, poseable figures that can be photographed serially to create animation. They were created by Matt Norris.

Stop-Motion Armatures at Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7658 Stop-Motion Armatures

A poseable insect from Stop-Motion Armatures

A poseable insect from Stop-Motion Armatures at Maker Faire 2007
CIMG7661 A poseable insect from Stop-Motion Armatures

A poseable human figurine from Stop-Motion Armatures

A poseable human figurine from Stop-Motion Armatures
CIMG7663 A poseable human figurine from Stop-Motion Armatures