Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Houston Experience

Earlier this year, my dad and I had the great opportunity to be able to go to the Houston Mini Maker Faire in Texas as registered makers. We showcased our MakerBot Replicator 3D-Printer. There were many great makers there, including, an upstart 3D-printer company, a makerspace-like group for kids of all ages, a car covered in singing trout, and a couple of R2-D2’s. There were a lot of great people that I learned a lot from.  Also, I think that I helped and impacted the people who visited my booth.

One thing that I was really proud of was all of the kids that came to our booth. We had set up a bunch of little toys and trinkets we found on Thingiverse.  The kids would all rush up to play with the trinkets and then be quickly amazed by the 3-D printer working, asking me a lot of questions about it. I find that is a great representation of how people get interested in making. We start for some cool toy, or project, or event, or whatever, but we slowly start discovering more, and stay in it because of our curiosity to figure out what makes things happen.  I still feel so proud of what I did at the Houston Maker Faire because I believe that I helped start many kids interests in making.  These kids could grow up to change the world. This is why I think that it is so important for people to sign up to present at Maker Faires.  And when you do go to Maker Faires, bring your kids. We need to show kids how much fun it is to make and to get them interested in learning and figuring things out. If we do that, we will create a legacy of great innovators for years to come.

This is a great segue into one of my favorite presenters at the Houston Maker Faire. It was a group called Techno-Chaos, and they had child members aged 5 to 16 years old. They showed a bunch of their projects, which ranged from LED setups to LEGO Mindstorm sets to 3D-printed objects to the 16 year olds with large robots that played basketball. This is what the future should look like. Not only are kids prompted to make whatever they want and are given the tools, but they work together with many different age groups. This way the older kids get to help the younger kids, and the younger kids have role models to look up to. I remember when I was young and I would see kids much older than me walking to class, I would feel excitement knowing that someday I would be like them.

Now for something much less serious, but still really cool. There was a car covered in those singing trout and lobster things. They would actually move in synchronization, and sing different songs. I could not get the video I had of it working, but here is a picture of it: