Maker Faire UK 2016

I love Maker Faire UK. I go every year. It’s a fantastical place where you can have amazing, in-depth talks with fascinating people, check out cool robots and see up and coming technology. It’s also a great place for crafts and art. It’s fun for both adults and children.

I really like Maker Faire if I didn’t get that across.

And it’s because of the reasons above that my pictures are both blurry and in small quantity. I will have to attend both days next year to really get all the pictures and attend all the talks because there is just so much to get through over the weekend.

But anyway here is just a small selection of the cool things I saw (and remembered to take a picture of) at Maker Faire.

Grumpy Mike’s Electro Gadgets

Grumpy Mike
The man himself!

Now, for me Grumpy Mike was the highlight of last years Maker Faire. While many of the makers last year were demonstrating 3D printer’s and drones (which don’t get me wrong, are awesome) it was a breath of fresh air to see Mikes imaginative creations like the ketchup game (featuring real ketchup bottle!) and some awesome clocks that told the correct time but not in the correct way.

And this year was just as imaginative and unique. First up is Mulder.

Mulder

Mulder

Mulder (above) moves, lights up and makes sounds, all controllable via keyboard. And when I say moves, I mean moves. The jaw, neck and the eyes (separately) move and the eyes, nose and cranium light up. Throw in some cool sounds and it’s just awesome fun to mess around with.

Pi Sprinter

Pi Sprinter

Next up is the Pi Sprinter. This is a Raspberry Pi powered Track and Field-a-like running game featuring two hardware paddles you tap with your feet to make the athlete run. I love these sorts of projects with a cool use of hardware and software to make something fun. It’s these sorts of projects that make me excited to see him every year.

Super blurry shot of the foot paddles
Super blurry shot of the foot paddles

Quick Mentions

I’l make these brief because I failed to get pictures of them but there was a cool clock this year in the Infinity Mirror which made crazy led patterns that changed as you got closer to it and it had a clock in the corner much like the ones I wrote about earlier.

There was also a cool foot keyboard (ala Big) but with a visual display that synced with the notes. This was so much fun to stamp about on.

Just Add Sharks

[link]

Now I didn’t know these guys were going to be here so this was a nice surprise. As I add more machines to my arsenal it’s inevitable that the laser cutter is brought up. Me and my girlfriend decided we should get one in the next 12 months or so, the only issue being space at the moment) so when I saw a very impressive looking laser cutter for an (about) £1000 price point, it piqued my interest.

The vanillabox
The vanillabox

If you can’t see the image clearly it’s got a good size cutting area (300×500). It’s highly configurable, from laser types and controller boards to fume extraction options. They also have some nice future upgrades planned like auto focus camera and network connectivity (ala octoprint I presume).

The specifications

Coming to Kickstarter and I am really looking forward to this.

Cooler Master

Cooler Master’s booth had a demonstration of Oculus Rift for people to try out. I hadn’t tried VR until now.

Me using Oculus Rift for the first time
Welcome to the future!

Holy crap. Even though it was the pre-consumer DK2, the Rift was astounding. Now I just have to stop myself buying one. They also gave us some gifts on the way out. Awesome.

Tim Wappat

[link]

Tim is a friend and former colleague so I’d hear things here and there regarding thermal printers and Windows IoT but I never got the full picture of what he was doing till I arrived. I was not disappointed.

Magic Mirror

Magic mirror
Magic mirror

First up the Magic Mirror, comprising of a Pi (with Windows IoT + cognitive services), camera, thermal printer and a big button to make the mirror magic. So using Microsoft Cognitive Services, the image is processed in the cloud to determine the emotions of the person (or persons) in the photo and then the Pi sends the results to the printer to print a sticker of the results. This was fun, I did one and at the end I’ll show you the horrible result.

Sticker Forge

Sticker Forge takes drawings and prints stickers of them (keep the drawings clean, there’s kids around!!!).

Drawing being inserted
Just insert your drawing

 

Processing
…Processing…

 

Printed sticker
And done!

A lot of work went into this and I hope he does a write up on the project to see what goes into achieving such a task. And here’s are the awful results of my fun with Sticker Forge and the Magic Mirror…

Picture of stickers
Possibly the worst picture of me, and drawing by me.

Honourable Mentions

These are the makers/companies I don’t have enough pictures to justify talking about for too long. But they were cool none the less.

abx-labs

[link]

Reasonably priced components. Not much more to say here except I bought a lot of stuff.

Mirobot

[link]

Mirobots, think Logo (if you’re old enough) for the 21st century. WiFi connected and programmed in the browser. Very cool and I very nearly bought one.

Mirobots in action
Mirobots in action

CPC

CPC had this Raspberry Pi powered retro arcade table. I really want to do one of these at some point.

Arcade table

This
Giant light cube

 

And these awesome shadow boxes from think physics

[link]

Shadow boxes

View from the back

Wrap Up

So ends another Maker Faire UK and I hope this tiny selection out of a huge range of different and interesting makers/projects, encourage people to go to next years Maker Faire UK. And if Newcastle is a bit far out they have Mini Maker Faires and big Maker Faires all over the world and you can find your nearest [here].

Anyway I’ve gone on long enough so until next time.

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