Maker Faire UK

On Saturday 23rd April The Trust Map researchers attended Maker Faire UK at the Life Science Centre, Newcastle.

Maker Faire UK is a two-day (23rd-24th April) family friendly festival of invention and creativity. The Trust Map researchers attended and witnessed hundreds of hackers, crafters and coders brought together, sharing their passion for creating with the public. The event was characterised by an air of collaboration, and this manifested itself in a lot of sharing and experimenting that look place across the weekend.

The Science Centre was divided into zones, each containing a mix of Makers. There were numerous stalls each which had a ‘show and tell’ aspect, or enabled full-blown participation. Things to see ranged from a two-headed teddy bear, to robots and wearable technologies. Things to get involved in included felt making, badge making, soldering, make your own sweet cone, and make your own VR 3D Machine.

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The Trust Map researcher Alistair MacDonald was displaying ‘the Penguin Run’ for Maker Space, a community owned and run workshop in Newcastle. The Penguin Run was originally created as a Christmas window display in the Maker Space workshop.

Alistair said: “the initial concept came from Iain Yarnall who wanted to create a giant version of the Penguin Race child’s toy. A number of other Maker Space members got involved, with Chris Burn creating the penguin design and the Tyne Bridge model for them to cross, and I created the lift. The penguins were 3D printing and assembled by several members. The first version of the run was completed and installed in December”.

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The team won a Maker Merit award for their work. The run will be reassembled in the Maker Space window for one last run on the 14th of May 2016 as part of The Late Shows event. After that it will be dismantled and the parts used to build other projects. These projects might include next year’s Christmas window display or another project to show at Maker Faire 2017.

There were a number of great highlights across the day that The Trust Map researchers attended. These include the Lords of Lightning Experience, which was a high voltage show with masters of electrical wizardry which took place in Times Square and amassed huge crowds. It was also great to see the Copenhagen Suborbitals Meet the Great Danes and the rocket that they designed to take their astronaut to space and back again. Also fascinating to see was the Stained Glass Driverless Sleep Car of the Future, created by Dominic Wilcox as his vision of the future of transport. We very much enjoyed listening to Cosmic Sausages, which was a musical band which played at various locations throughout the day.

As well as the performances, there were also a great number of interesting Maker Talks. Particularly gripping were Vinay Gupta’s discussion of The Political Internet: Bitcoin, Bitnation and What’s Next, and Chris Shaw’s talk on Fabulous Beasts What it Takes to go from Homemade to the factory.

Overall, Maker Faire UK was an excellent event; it was great to meet so many makers and tinkerers from across the UK.

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