Design Con 2015

Maker Faire grows up: World Maker Faire preview

-September 19, 2013

Maker Faire Preview: Catch these goodies if you can

Texas-sized dev

Texas Instruments will be showing off its latest modular hardware and software, including a new USB LaunchPadthe first new MSP430 LaunchPad since 2010. The LaunchPad starts at $12.99 and combines with a new near field communication (NFC) BoosterPack targeting Internet of Things (IoT) development.

Look for TI to show off how its existing Wi-Fi, Sub-1GHz, and ZigBee BoosterPacks can also plug into the MSP430 USB LaunchPad for wireless connectivity to smart home and building, health and fitness, and portable consumer applications at its World Maker Faire booth MP-38.

Also be on the lookout for plenty of TI BeagleBoard projects at the Faire, especially given the recent release of BeagleBone Black.  BeagleBoard.org co-founder Jason Kridner will be at the Faire where on Saturday at 1pm, he’ll take the Make Electronics Stage to present “Face Detection in Ten Minutes with BeagleBone Black.” In this, Jason will discuss how to use the OpenCV open-source library on the BeagleBone Black open-source computer to implement face detection applications. If you saw Jason at Design West, you’ll recall he was using this technology in the form of a “mustache camera” to add mustaches and other new features to attendees faces.

Atmel hearts Arduino

Atmel is betting big on Arduino with both its Atmel 8-bit AVR MCUs and Atmel 32-bit ARM-based MCUs powering a variety of Arduino’s easy-to-use boards. It’s a bet that's sure to pay off as the already well-known Arduino platform continues to gain ground among hobbyists, makers, and professional engineers. Look for the Atmel booth in the Arduino pavilion at World Maker Faire where they will be showing off Hexbug/hovercraft hacking techniques, AVR-powered 3D printing, the DIWire rapid prototyping machine, and more.

Atmel is also hosting a media/industry analyst panel on Friday, September 20, in New York, on the maker community and education. Members of the panel include Atmel’s Reza Kazerounian, co-founder of Arduino Massimo Banzi, Atmel maker and Hexbug guru Bob Martin, university engineer professor Annmarie Thomas, EDN’s Executive Editor Suzanne Deffree (yes, that’s me!), 12-year old CEO and maker Quin (Qtechknow), and MAKE Books Senior Editor Brian Jepson. The panel will be moderated by Windell H Oskay of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. If you can’t attend the panel, follow its live Twitter feed starting at 11:30 am ET on September 20 under #Atmelmakes.

Atmel’s Bob Martin will also take the Make Electronics Stage on Sunday starting at 12:30 to present “Prototyping is Easy as Uno, Due, Tres,” in which he will show how Atmel's MCU apps lab uses Arduino Uno's to test harnesses for LED lighting stress testing, SBC reset response, and power supply stress testing on a regular basis for a weather station prototype.

Farm Hack

EDN got to chat with Farm Hacker Louis Thiery at the Open Hardware Summit earlier this month and we look forward to seeing more from him and his group Farm Hack at World Maker Faire this weekend. Last year the group showed off goodies including a converted washing machine greens spinner, pedal powered compost chipper, and flame weeder. The group sees events like Maker Faire as a great way to educate the general public about the need to connect farms with better technology.

Hackable humans

If you enjoyed Dr Hugh Herr’s talk on biomechanical engineering at Design West 2013, be on the lookout for several makers showing off “human hacks” around Maker Faire this weekend.

Raj Singh, for one, will be on the grounds. Singh has been building a teleoperated robotic hand designed to be used by amputees. The hand uses a MakerBot Replicator 2, Arduinos, and linear actuators in each finger. With that, he’s designed software and hardware that he says read the muscle impulses in the user’s forearms to give it “intuitive individual digit control” (ie: think about moving a finger, and the finger moves).

Look for Singh and others interested in hacking humans for the better at the event.

Newbies makers welcome

David Lang’s new book Zero to Maker was released earlier this week just in time for World Maker Faire. It was inspired by David's visit to Maker Faire Bay Area in 2010, where he was appropriately dazzled. Soon after that, the startup he worked at failed and he realized that he didn't know how to do a single thing that didn't involve sitting in front of his computer.

Given his Maker Faire experience and excitement, he decided to become a maker. Today, he is the co-founder of OpenROV, a manufacturer of underwater robots. Earlier this month, he and his partner received $1.3 million in funding.

What I love about David’s story is that each year it seems people like David become easier and easier to find. They attend a Maker Faire in year 1, brainstorm through year 2, and by year 3 have their own booth.

David will be around touting the book and sharing his experience in going from zero to maker for any of the newbie makers or entrepreneurs out there.

Hope to see you at Maker Faire this weekend. Tell us what you’re looking forward to in the comments field below.

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