The greatest show (and tell) on Earth. Almost fifty years have passed since the last World’s Fair in New York took place at the fairgrounds in Flushing, Queens. Last weekend, the spirit of ingenuity rose once more at the fourth World Maker Faire New York 2013. Throngs of people of all ages amassed at the faire to take in the various and sundry visages and sounds. Creative works from all walks of life were on display: from acrobatics to robotics, and everything in between (such as acrobatic multicopters)!
AeroQuad’s open source multicopters could be seen elegantly hovering overhead. The grand prize for the autonomous robot design challenge was an AeroQuad cyclone.
An OpenROV was piloted by kids (and kids at heart) in a kiddie pool. The OpenROV was sending a video stream back to a monitor, where people could pilot it with a video game controller. These nautical bots can dive to depths of 100 meters to explore the underwater world. With a standard kit like this, one could image submersible robot competitions that build on top of the mechanical design and focus on automation. Maybe aquariums will one day let you swim with the sharks through the eyes of an OpenROV.
Dale Dougherty (CEO of Maker Media®) moderated the Board Room with Massimo Banzi (founder of Arduino®), Jason Kridner (founder of Beagleboard®), and Matt Richardson (contributor for Makezine®). Massimo and Jason spoke about the challenges of running an open hardware business, such as getting electronics sold through the customs and boarder control agencies of various countries. They also delved into the ways Arduino and Beagleboard nurture their communities. Since large manufacturers can legally put out exact copies of their hardware as per their open hardware designs, save for their trademarks, the open companies compete on something the large companies cannot offer: their good will and support for their communities of contributors. Massimo was considering how financial support might flow through open hardware companies in much the same way as their designs and licenses.
Arduino were exhibiting their latest projects including their own robot platform. They have a whole slew of awesome projects coming out soon. We at MathWorks can’t wait to start playing with them.
UDOO were showing off their single-board computer that combines Android, Linux, and Arduino in one. This convergence has been a long time coming, and UDOO is one of the first movers.
Intel is dipping their toes into the open hardware scene with their single-board computer called the MinnowBoard. It’s very interesting to see companies small and large, new and old, trying their hands at open hardware based businesses.
NASA displayed several projects started by makers that they picked up and gave a ticket to space. The picture above shows the KickSat project. The cube satellite you see in red ejects a couple of hundred miniature KickSats to form a swarm satellite.
Visiting the World Maker Faire was an awesome experience. Events like these instill confidence that science, tech, engineering, and math careers will still be embraced by the next generation.