As promised, Intel had a significant presence at the 2012 Maker Faire Bay Area, ranging across a wide variety of departments, from the Corporate Affairs Group sponsoring Education Day, Intel Labs supporting the Make Your World Booth, the Intelligent Systems Group demoing their Computer Controlled Orchestra, and Intel Studios documenting it all.
Education Day & Setup
Maker Faire started off with a bang with Education Day, two days before the main faire opened. Nearly 2000 students toured a selection of booths and exhibits to get a taste of what Maker Faire is all about. Around 90 volunteers from Intel, most from the Interaction and Experience Research Group at Intel Labs, acted as tour docents to help the student groups navigate the space.
Featured on the tour were a group of Intel Makers: Intel Labs employees who participate in the Maker movement in their spare time. Mario Alzate showed off his homemade electric-power tricycle and Eric Salskov found it easy to demonstrate his wind turbine in the gusts that blew across the San Mateo site. Lucas Ainsworth displayed his mechanical cardboard Kinetic Creatures while Jay Silver encouraged kids to make music with bananas and a Makey Makey kit.
Intel family members got involved too, with Karen and Josh Tanenbaum showing off their Steampunk props and superhero, Captain Chronomek and father-son duo Jim and Schuyler St. Leger printing Intel keyfobs on a MakerBot. Vicki Fang’s Peacock Chair was put out of commission by an early morning power surge, but still made a lovely display, and Mikal Hart showed off his Arduino-based “reverse geocaching” puzzle box, which demands to be taken to a specific location before revealing its treasures. Pete Denman demonstrated his custom wheelchair, electronics, computer interfaces, and utensils as well as provided kids an opportunity to create a collaborative art piece.
At the end of Friday setup, as the Makers put the finishing touches on their exhibits before opening to the public Saturday morning, Intel sponsored the traditional paella dinner that serves as a kickoff for the Faire.
Make Your World Booth
Intel Labs and the Lab at Rockwell Group co-sponsored the Make Your World booth, a playful environment for kids to learn about basic circuits and interactivity.
The walls of the booth held an assortment of Arduinos, lights, motors, and audio outputs, accessed via small gold terminals sticking out of the wood. Visitors to the booth were given alligator-clip wires that allowed them to complete the circuits by connecting terminals and seeing the effect in the space: blinking lights, spinning objects, funny sounds, and more.
Kids who wanted to learn more were encouraged to take part in our switch workshops, where they used foam board and tin foil to create more complex inputs to control the circuit. We also gave away sticker sheets of different “inputs” and “outputs” and a take-home kit containing supplies for making a simple circuit out of copper tape, LEDs and a battery. Many of the stickers ended up on the booth itself, along with notes, doodles, and other decorations.
Computer Controlled Orchestra
The Intelligent Systems Group, in collaboration with Sisu Devices, showed off the Computer Controlled Orchestra throughout the Faire in the Fiesta Hall. Intel Atom processors power a complex mechanical system that uses paintballs to play musical notes in a highly coordinated and graceful ballet of sound and motion.
Maker Education Initiative
Perhaps most significantly, Maker Faire 2012 witnessed the founding of a new non-profit organization, the Maker Education Initiative (MEI), of which Intel (through our Corporate Affairs Group and the efforts of Carlos Contreras) is a cornerstone partner. Along with Intel, the Maker Education Initiative’s founding sponsors are Cognizant and O’Reilly Media, and the goal of the organization is “to create more opportunities for young people to make, and, by making, build confidence, foster creativity, and spark interest in science, technology, engineering, math, the arts—and learning as a whole”. The MEI announcement got re-blogged and tweeted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.