Tenaya Hurst at National Maker Faire
It was a unique opportunity for University of DC to host the 2nd annual National Maker Faire. Everyone said we were lucky to have such good weather - I know it rained on Thursday, so the scorching heat was I suppose the better alternative! Most of the faire was outside with a few makers showing & telling in the courtyards and shaded areas. The gym was a total drone zone and hopefully some makers made the slight trek to that area of the campus, but mostly all the makers were around a very nice central plaza which definitely channels the spirit of all the faires - nationwide!
One visitor to my booth wrote me and said, “This faire was basically a bunch of different 3D printers, and thanks for bringing something different.” I appreciate the compliment as I believe my fun wearable tech activity IS one of the most fun for kids at the faire! They fail and when they succeed have such a boost of confidence that they can do anything. And yes, there were indeed a lot of 3D printing looking machines, but with new innovations like the ability to recycle plastic scraps into new filament and 3D print conductors! I enjoyed my neighbors, several roller coaster physics toys of different materials. Since I got my start at the Tech Museum creating these kinds of marble-coasters using insulation pipe tubing, I’ve seen how this activity can be fun to do for any age group, but of course it would be great if there was more math and physics content that could accompany these building toys. Some were paper coasters, some were wooden, some were PVC style with connector pieces.
I also was lucky to meet representatives from the Navajo Technical University at the faire. They had a great booth with cool Arduino demos and more! A Solar medicine cooler, a walking 3D printed robot, a robotic finger (which could be implemented for amputees), an aerial drone printed in fiberglass, and an eye tracking device they call the Printed Eye-of-Horus. These students and faculty represented their Center for Digital Technologies and Electrical Engineering departments.
Though makers came from the nearby states and all the way from the Navajo nation, I may have been the maker who came from the furthest, it would’ve been cool to have a map of the U.S. showing a star for every maker’s origin! Overall though, the staff and volunteers from Americore helped run the event very smoothly. As someone who runs their booth alone, I appreciated just the little things of someone covering my booth while I gave my talk and fetching me gaffer tape to help me pack up. Right before we were ending the faire, my area manager, Michelle Yun, even awarded me an Editor’s Choice Maker Faire ribbon which I’ve never received! What a special threshold to achieve. My work with Rogue Making has several goals:
- to get alligator clips into kids’ hands
- to teach the basics of series and parallel circuits using Lilypad LEDs.
- to teach about the possibilities of all these technologies going wearable (and washable)
- to introduce kids to Arduino through my favorite project - Arduweenie (RGB LED strips!)
- to give some options to kids and adults who want to get started with circuits, but may not be inspired by what they want to make yet.