Maker Faire Bay Area
At Arduino, we usually spend our time “making” electronic circuits and programming the sensing and control of the components using microcontrollers. The work is often done sitting at a desk with a computer -- not much physical exertion. We have to find other times to exercise. However, on setup day, after unloading many boxes from a truck into the Expo hall, we then spent the morning “making” the booth -- out of 100% cardboard pieces, pre-cut and pre-printed by CartonLab. It was a physically healthy way to start the long weekend event -- we were sweaty afterward!
Maker Faire Bay Area started slowly on Friday afternoon since only students, press, and a few guests were allowed from 1-5pm. Our press briefings were packed one after another, but the booth was not overwhelmed with other visitors. Because of the earlier press releases, we already had quite a lot of interest in our new boards: Arduino Primo and Arduino Star Otto. We also had the first showing of the Arduino Primo Core - a small coin-cell-battery powered version of the Primo, not much bigger than a large coin itself.
Our partner Brick’R’knowledge from AllNet were also present in our booth with their Brick-based electronic circuit technology. It helps kids learn about basic electronic circuits and makes it easy to put them together.
The students happily took part in our game of running around to ST Micro’s and Nordic’s booths to get their bags and Arduino notebooks stamped with logos. We had so much fun talking to the students and we were satisfied that our goodies went away to kids with smiling faces!
The students’ favorite demo was an Arduino Esplora (game controller like board) that controlled the new Braccio robotic arm. Both adults and kids enjoyed trying to fetch objects, or using a pen pad mounted in the grippers to touch the Android screen that controlled yet another demo. The “RobOtto” (autonomous robotic car) using the new Arduino STAR Otto board also got a lot of attention and questions about all the new possibilities -- audio in/out, touch screen display, and camera port. We had light-detection and object detection sensors as well to give RobOtto it’s ability to be autonomous on a tabletop (ringed with an LED light string). The touch screen “faces” that changed based on whether RobOtto could “go” or had to “stop” because of an obstruction were also a hit.
Our partner Nordic displayed the amazing “Physical Web RC Car” project that was made by four students of electrical engineering at NTNU in Trondheim, a project that was done for their Bachelor degree. Credit goes to: Henrik Malvik Halvorsen, Martin Sivertsen, Jan Tore Guggedal, and Hilde Lagnason. They created NorRadio controlled cars that were able to play a game of laser tag utilizing the Physical Web and Bluetooth Smart. If you missed it check out their github page and the youtube video!
Physical Web RC Car Video
Our partner STMicroelectronics demonstrated the new Arduino Otto connected to an object sensor, similar to the one used by our RobOtto demo. When you swiped your hand past the two sensors from left to right, a matrix of LEDs changed color. When you swiped from right to left, the intensity increased. Holding your hand stationary in front of both sensors turned the LED matrix on and off. Even without telling booth visitors how it worked, it was fun to watch them quickly figure it out. A quick hand swipe in front of the Otto sensors got people interested to try it themselves.
Saturday night was full of laughter and good moments with our partners STMicroelectronics, Nordic Semiconductor, Brick’R’knowledge, Runtime, and various other friends and partners who attended Maker Faire. We networked and relaxed around a good Italian dinner. We enjoyed your company and plan to continue the tradition with another amazing party next year!
Sunday at 11 am on the Make: Live! Stage we were tremendously entertained by our own Tenaya Hurst -- #ArduinoWoman -- who performed two of her music videos about “Making”, one before and one after her main presentation about “I don't show samples at workshops“. A lot of people attended and were not disappointed by her boundless energy singing songs and describing the love she has for teaching kids to make. She educates them from basic circuits to full Arduino-programmed control with no instructions to follow, so they really learn through trial and error. She even taped little make-your-own paper circuit kits as a surprise under the benches. We hope you got one!
Tenaya Hurst at Maker Faire Bay Area
By 6pm we were sad that the Maker Faire Bay Area had to come to an end (also because then we had to pack everything back up), but we had a wonderful time with you and plan to see you again next year!