What to Make of Maker Faire – Highlights

Racing drones. Battling robots. Balloon origami.

Nothing exemplifies the spirit of Silicon Valley more than Maker Faire. The annual explosion of tinkering that has spawned a movement descends upon the San Mateo Event Center for its 12th year on May 19th through 21st. While other cities now enjoy their mini-Faires, the original started right here, next door to Bay Meadows, 12 years ago.

Maker Faire showcases the innovative, creative, and ingenious projects of over 1,300 inspirational Makers. Making enthusiasts take in projects including kinetic art, robotics, fire art, drones, food making, microelectronics, music, and more.

There are opportunities for kids and adults alike to get hands-on with projects and gain new skills and knowledge. Here are some exhibitors to watch for this year:

Chalk the World: Three Young Makers from the Pacific Northwest are on a mission to all ages to use their imaginations with a 1952 milk truck converted into an interactive chalk truck.

Big Ant: A creation and “traveling machine” of Les Machines, the Big Ant is often described as a combination of invented worlds of Jules Verne and the mechanical universe of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Fun with Pinball: This interactive exhibit will be a highlight in a new area of the Faire dedicated to DIY pinball machines.

Delorean Hovercraft: An amphibious vehicle that travels around by hovering on a cushion of air. Powered by gasoline engines and fans, it can carry two people over a flat surface. Flux capacitor included.

Tinker Kitchen: This food hacking community will host a maker space with all the cooking gadgets you can’t fit into your kitchen. Get hands on with industrial culinary hardware like sous vide circulators, commercial pasta extruders, chocolate tempering machines and more.

There also will be 9 stages covering topics from drones to circuit boards; taking ideas and prototypes to market; bringing the maker mindset to the classroom; and homesteading hands-on demos.

Over 200 speakers are slated to deliver 185 talks, panel discussions, hands-on workshops and presentations. The lineup includes top thinkers and tinkerers, including Myth Busters’ Adam Savage, Stanford’s aviation expert Jessie Mooberry and Talia Gershon, author of Beginner’s Guide to Quantum Computing.

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