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Local News / Technology

Thursday, 5 August, 2010 1:19 AM

The 2010 Maker Faire wraps up at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn

PHOTO BY MICHELE K. / ©AMERICAJR.com

An overview of the Maker Faire festival at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.
by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

DEARBORN, Mich. -- In 2007, organizers hoped to bring the Maker Faire to the metro Detroit area. However, it didn't work out. Last weekend, it finally came together. The event ran for two days at the Henry Ford Museum on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 31 and July 1. The Maker Faire is an event started by Make Magazine with the goal of celebrating arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the do-it-yourself (DIY) mindset. There were a lot of cool things for attendees to build and new inventions to admire.

"It's very cool, they've got lots of stuff that you won't find anywhere else," said Spencer Lee of Commerce, Mich. "We've mainly just looked at stuff. They've got a lot of cool stuff like the Twinkie car."

Featured makers for 2010 included Adam Savage, Eepybird, OK Go, ArcAttack, and The Crucible. ArcAttack is currently one of the competitors on the NBC competition show America's Got Talent.

"This is my Quadcopter, it's a remote control flying craft," said Eric Merrill, a member of i3 Detroit. "This one cost me about $2,500. I could build it again for $800. It's a trial and error thing, I learned a lot. This is just a personal project of mine. It's a 5 amp, lithium-polymer battery. I get about eight minutes of fly time out of that."

Some of the inventions include a giant Etch-a-Sketch, a Twinkie go-kart launcher and a larger-than-life mouse trap. In addition, there was a computer-powered skeeball machine, a toilet seat that automatically goes up and down when you're ready, a bike with seating for five people with a flame blowing out the top.

"This is the Solar Vox, a personal solar charger," said Eric Strebel, an industrial designer from Botzen Design. "It charges up some batteries through the solar panel and allows you to basically charge up a handheld device like a cell phone, an iPod, an MP3 player, a DS or a PSP or a Kindle. I started design on this project about six to nine months ago. I've made numerous prototypes. If you're traveling, camping, maybe you're in a place where this no power, maybe a desert would be a good place to use this product. It takes about four hours to charge up these AA batteries. You could charge your cell phone in about three hours."

The Maker Faire also featured a retail area with crafts, souvenirs and official merchandise. Locally-grown food was also available for attendees to enjoy. Vegan and vegetarian dishes were also available.

"We make 3D CAD software, our mission is to make it available to anybody who needs it," said Max Freeman, vice president of marketing at Alibre, Inc. "We price it within the means of any individual business to buy. Our software starts at $99. For that, you get all of the 3D modeling stuff that we offer. It moves up to $1,199 when you bring in things like motion simulating, FEA and add ons like that. We have an extremely lean business model. We do pretty much everything direct. It's only for the PC. We will not be making a Mac version."

There were additional makers and inventions inside the museum. Attendees could go inside to cool down as the temperatures were in the 90's outside on both days.

"A trademark is an identification of a good or a service that you're providing," said John J. Calvert, Administrator of the Inventor Assistance Program at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "A good one is Ford Motor Company. We're here at Ford Museum so you see the logo that says Ford on it. That's a trademark. A patent protects an actual product, how its made, what its used for, what the materials its made from. There are design patents that protect what an item looks like. Those are good for 14 years for design and 20 years for patents. Do your homework, know who you're dealing with. Be careful who you deal with."

The Maker Faire began in California in 2006. It has been making stops in the U.S., England and in Africa.

"I think this is awesome, it's the first time I've seen anything like this," said Karen Morrison of Dearborn Heights, Mich. "There's a lot going on. It's interactive. Kids can enjoy themselves, grown-ups can have fun. My nephews rode some of the cool bikes they have, made their own car vehicles like ice cream boxes. The bikes are a lot of fun. You can actually ride them. We got the ride the circular one where it fits five or six people on it. We got a discount through the membership of Henry Ford. It's really a lot of fun."

Organizers hope to bring the Maker Faire back to Detroit again next year and make it even bigger.

For more information on the Maker Faire, visit www.makerfaire.com.

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE K. / ©AMERICAJR.com

Things in the air lab

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE K. / ©AMERICAJR.com

Kid Robot's Wrecklab

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE K. / ©AMERICAJR.com

Lots of parts

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE K. / ©AMERICAJR.com

Flip the robot in the water

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE K. / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look inside one of the many tents within the Maker Faire event

 

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