A SXSW for the Maker Movement, the Glastonbury of DIYBy Maker Media Inc
Maker Faire is what a giant futuristic carboot sale at Burning Man might look like, with a bit of TED thrown into the mix. It's a global showcase for the craft, projects and prototypes of the new ‘maker movement’ – crazily creative kitchen-table DIY geeks, Heath Robinson-esque engineers, artists and technologists.
New evangelists believe that 'making' is changing the world, and Maker Faire is central in that movement, making superstars out of kitchen-sink inventors in the process. 'Many makers,’ says the Faire’s founder Dale Dougherty, ‘say they have no other place to share what they do. DIY is often invisible. We make these projects and ideas visible.’
From very humble origins, of only 200 exhibitors, it’s grown to be a fully-fledged global phenomenon, fueled by advances such as Arduino and 3D printers. Close to 200,000 people attended its New York and Bay Area events in 2013, and 98 mini fairs occurred everywhere from Oslo and Rome to Shenzhen and Tokyo.
It’s the place to be to see everything that’s weird and wonderful in new tech: amazing electronics, a giant metal octopus that goes to Burning Man annually, a bicycle-powered stage, a solar-powered chariot pulled by a robot Arnold Schwarzenegger, or a nonprofit that rescues 70 tons a year of fabric scraps from landfill, to give them to educators and artists. It’s a bit like the 1990s Innovations mail order catalogue, brought to life, on steroids.
The fairs make these inventors realise their work has a market – not only of people wanting to buy the finished product, but also of others wanting DIY kits so they can make one on their own. ‘It’s about education and learning, really encouraging the next generation of builders and producers.’
2015 will be its tenth year, and will see Maker Faire move to the Olympic Park, capitalising on home-grown talent such as Sugru and Technology Will Save Us.
Image 'Creatures' courtesy of Eric Wagner
Last updated: 27th of May, 2014