World Maker Faire – 3 Favorite Projects
The Periodic Calendar
This is a different type of calendar. Its inventor, Joey Sellers, calls it a “perpetual” one. In fact, it can be used for any year from the 21st to the 24th century.
I liked this project because it was totally unexpected. I was very surprised to see a 2D printed visualization in Maker Faire. Besides, its solution is really ingenious.
If you want to know more about how it works, check the periodic calendar website. The project is very well documented there.
Beautiful and easy-to-use cubes that, once plugged in, can trigger different actions and behave like robots. Created by Modular Robotics.
For each robot, you need at least one battery cubelet. Than you can add a sensor cube — temperature, light, distance — and an action cube — drive, rotate, speaker etc.
There was a lot of projects in Maker Faire about building simplified frameworks for electronics, like Little Bits, for instance. But I have the impression that even when they don’t require any programming skill most of them are still to complex for a child to play with.
Cubelets was astonishingly simple. I just had to plug the cubes and it immediately worked. For a toy, I think that this is important. Once you have fun with it, then you can start to engage in building more complex stuff.
An art installation made of several obsolete gadgets. As far as I could understand, the only interaction is stepping on the scale. That triggers some apparently random behaviours in the semi-broken devices. It was created by Leo Kang, Taezoo Park and Steven Jackson.
I was first attracted to this piece by its aesthetics. The devices give a vintage look to the scene, even though most of them are probably not older than 2 decades. The lighting creates a great dramatic effect, too. In spite of its simple interaction, I think that this installation creates a strong emotional connection to the user.