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Posts Tagged ‘legos’

Maker Faire, Part Two: Robots and More Robots

This part is going to be brief. There were robots. And more robots. Then tacos and some amazing strawberry lemonade, and then more robots.

Makers love robots. Next to the craft pavilions were two more huge tents: one filled with adult robot enthusiasts and the other, Youth Makers, with kid robot enthusiasts. (Not Kid Robot, that’s entirely different.) OK, so perhaps a few of the exhibitors showed creations that weren’t robots, like light-up anglerfish sculptures and various plushies stuffed with lights. Maybe there was one guy making digital name tags, another scanning book pages and oh, these metal sculptures were pretty cool. Also, I enjoyed watching the little Kelvin Generator make sparks. And someone had created a pulley system that generated music. But seriously? 80% of what I saw involved robots, Arduino boards and/or remote-controlled conveyances.

LEGOSThe Young Makers tent was almost identical except for the youthful excitement and a lot of LEGOS. We had trouble getting the kid to leave the Robofun booth, because they handed him the controller to a LEGO car. I thought we were going to spend the whole morning there.

Inside the museum we found one hundred more exhibitors, most with their own special type of robot. I don’t mean to sound snarky, but I did reach a point where enough was enough. Just because you can successfully build a kit that you ordered online (or matriculated in NYU’s ITP program) does not mean you have earned your own exhibition booth. And if you have one anyway, you should be required to be able to hold an intelligent conversation about what you’ve invented. That said, I had my voice turned into a sculpture with speaker wire, turned a story into knitting and played with various RC devices. We also were able to enjoy the NY Hall of Science itself, including its blissful air conditioning, and to spend a few minutes with the best museum exhibit ever, Mathematica, which I recall fondly from many, many visits to Boston’s Museum of Science. We now return you to your Maker Faire programming:

The best low-tech spectacle I saw was undoubtedly the Egg-Bot, “an open-source art robot that can draw on spherical or egg-shaped objects.” It was incredibly mesmerizing…


What did we miss? Everything large-scale. I can’t speak to the life-size mousetrap, the MakerBot and ShopBot, the Diet Coke and Mentos fountains, anything presented by a car company or that required the signing of a waiver. But we did glimpse bicycles that emitted fire, Science Friday’s Ira Flatow and a steampunk guy on a giant tricycle who informed me I was a brave woman for crossing his path.

Did I love it? Yes. Was I the target audience? Only partially. Would I go back? Absolutely.

The Missing Heads of Harrison Ford

A couple of months ago, Mr Apparently purchased a 5-pound box of Legos on eBay. The contents were said to be a mix of pieces from several Lego sets. Along with numerous wheels, about 200 little green L-shaped pieces, two plastic spiders and some random weaponry, the box contained the distinct trappings of an Indiana Jones set: a gold treasure chest, a bullwhip, and not one but three brown satchels. And, the headless figure of Mr. Jones himself.

We found it of particular coincidence that the other figure in the set, also headless, is clearly Han Solo.