This year’s NYC Maker Faire exhibited a collection of interactive tech pieces that encouraged visitors to rethink the use and possibilities of everyday objects. Pianos were hooked up to furnaces bursting flames with every key stroke. Metal robots, made out of license plates, breathed fire into the sky.
Besides the sci-fi awesomeness of real-life fire-breathing robots, there was a collective interest in genuine human hope for progress through the sharing of extraordinary machine design.
Beneath white, pitched tents at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, hands-on experiments merging science, creativity, and idealism of human pursuits were showcased this past weekend.
The Maker Faire originated six years ago in the California Bay Area as a hybrid between a science symposium and street faire.
This year saw an array of drones presented as one of the new frontiers for the “Maker movement.” Google’s tent offered a glimpse at their prototype drone-based delivery system “Project Wing.”
“This prototype carries 250 grams and four-by-six-inch packages, and we are working on prototypes that can carry more,” Ben, a Flight Test Operator for Project Wing at Google, tells BTR. “We are different from Amazon in our ability to fly faster and longer due to the wing design of the drone.”
Other techies were making revolutionary design more personal through the use of individual smartphones. For instance, Pietro Gabriele, president and cofounder of the Italian digital company Fonderie Digitali, presented the user-friendly capabilities of a smartphone 3D printer.
“It is cured by light instead of a projector, so we use the LED light from your smartphone in order to create 3D pieces right on your phone,” says Gabriele. “You simply get the app and download 3D models and that’s it.”
The small printer is called OLO and the revenue from selling it will be put into the research and development of giant printers to build homes for emergency refugees throughout the world, according to Gabriele.
“We are reinvesting the profits of the small [3D printers] to continue research on the big printer,” reveals Gabriele. “We are going to start in next six months a manufacturing factory in the Bay Area to build everything in the US.”
From ambitious dreams came also the humble, hobby projects. A software engineer named Will stood at a simple wooden table showcasing his wooden instrument, a small piano synthesizer with the use of touch-screen technology.
“I’ve always enjoyed synthesizers from the ‘70s and ‘80s and now as a software engineer I’m able to use my skills to design them,” admits Will. “I’m just here to explain what I enjoy making.”