Author Archives: Nick

Makers Go National

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There’s no doubt that the Maker Movement is an international phenomenon, with 130 Maker Faires in 25 countries last year. But we couldn’t help but think that this whole “making” thing was finally catching on when we found out that last year the White House hosted its own Maker Faire. Following the success of that event, this year the White House has declared June 12-18 a National Week of Making, including an expanded National Maker Faire on June 12-13.

We’re thrilled, of course, that our own Faire coincides with these dates, and we hope that the national attention will highlight Eugene’s place at the forefront of do-it-yourself science and technology. Eugene’s own Mini Maker Faire is not only a homegrown party, but now also our local contribution toward this nationwide celebration of making.

If you think that promoting learning and innovation through making is important to recognize on the national stage, we’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts below, or better yet, show us by signing up to be an exhibitor at our Faire!

SERT does it again!

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Update 4/10/15: SERT had a great showing in Washington last weekend, placing 34th out of 153 teams. This has earned them an invitation to the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis! They are currently raising funds to cover travel and registration, and we wish them the best of luck as they compete against 600 teams from around the world.

(Original post below)

As this post goes live, our friends on the South Eugene Robotics Team are a few hundred miles from home, in Cheney, Washington for the 2015 FIRST Robotics Pacific Northwest District Championship. They will be competing against the best teams in Oregon and Washington in the culminating event of a very exciting and rewarding competition season.

This year’s competition is quite different from previous years — there are no balls or frisbees in play. Rather, “Recycle Rush” requires robots to collect and stack plastic recycling bins — the higher the stacks, the more points.

The team from South Eugene fared well in its two preliminary competitions. At the Oregon City competition on February 28, SERT placed fifth overall and also won the Creativity Award. One month later in Philomath, they placed 11th and received the Excellence in Engineering award.

Here’s a video of one of the Philomath matches. Look for SERT (2521) on the Blue Alliance.

Congratulations to SERT on a great season so far, and best of luck this weekend! If you’d like to see “Nessie” in action, be sure to join us on June 13 at the Science Factory! Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the first notice of advance ticket sales, which will be available soon.

Woohoo! We’re off and running!

Our Launch Party on Wednesday night was a great success! Thanks to everyone who turned out, including Mayor Kitty Piercy for her remarks.

Of all places in this world that should be in front of the Maker Movement, it should be Eugene, Oregon.
— Mayor Kitty Piercy

Thanks also to Claim 52 Brewing and The Barn Light for their sponsorship of the Launch Party, and to the makers who brought just a small sample of what we expect to see at the Science Factory in June: Eugene Maker Space, Lumidax Electronics, LagerBot, South Eugene Robotics Team, and the eNABLE community.

If you were at the party, we hope you’ll share your feedback with us so that we can improve next year’s event. And we also hope you were inspired to submit your own project to display at the Science Factory on June 13!

We’re throwing a party…

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and you’re invited!

To celebrate our Call for Makers, we’re holding our first-ever Eugene Mini Maker Faire Launch Party! Please join us on Wednesday, March 18th from 6PM to 8PM at the Broadway Commerce Center, 44 West Broadway. Special thanks to The Barn Light for sponsoring this brand-new event!

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy will be on hand to share her thoughts on the role of making in Eugene and her reasons for signing on to the Mayors’ Maker Challenge last summer. We’ll also have some light refreshments and beer for those 21 and over courtesy of Claim 52 Brewing. The Science Factory, LagerBot, Eugene Maker Space, and other makers will be on hand with a few demos and activities to give everyone an early taste of Maker Faire. If you’ve never been to a Maker Faire, or if you’ve attended one but want to find out about exhibiting as a maker, this is the perfect opportunity to meet makers and find out how to get involved.

We appreciate your RSVP by e-mail. See you downtown on March 18th!

 

We’re back!

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Greetings, makers! I’m thrilled to announce that the 2015 Eugene Mini Maker Faire is on! We’ll see you at the Science Factory on Saturday, June 13th for our biggest and best Faire yet!

We will have lots of updates to share with you over the next few weeks and months. Be sure to check back often for:

  • Maker profiles to catch you up on your favorite makers from past years;
  • Updates from Eugene’s rapidly growing and changing maker scene;
  • News from the worldwide Maker Faire community;
  • Our plans for bringing new features and exhibitors to this year’s Faire;
  • and much more!

I’m especially excited about working on this year’s Faire because we’ve put together an enthusiastic team of volunteers to help make it all happen. They have already put in lots of work behind the scenes, and you’ll have the chance to hear from them here on the blog. You can be part of this team, too! E-mail me if you’d like more info about joining our planning committee.

We’ll also be posting news and updates on Facebook and on our new Twitter account, so be sure to follow us. What do you want to see at this year’s Mini Maker Faire? Leave us a comment!

Whew! Made it!

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It was a mad rush in the last few days to get everything ready, but the payoff was well worth it! Thanks to all of the makers, volunteers, and attendees who made the third annual Eugene Mini Maker Faire possible. You can check out Ken Olsen‘s recap of the Faire over at his blog. Take a look at our photo album on Facebook, and leave us a note about your favorite part of the Faire.

We’re already thinking about how to make next year’s event even bigger and better — everything from choosing the right date and venue to recruiting makers, sponsors, and volunteers. If you’d like to help in this effort, drop us an e-mail and we’ll add you to our Steering Committee list. Thanks again for celebrating Eugene’s do-it-yourself spirit!

And of course, don’t forget to keep up the Maker spirit all year long! In addition to more than 100 other Faires happening around the world, the White House is hosting its own Maker Faire on June 18th. In honor of this event, President Obama is declaring the 18th a nationwide “Day of Making.” What will you do to show that we are a Nation of Makers?

Update: EMS member Rick Osgood put together a great video compilation of Saturday’s event. Take a look:

Tiny copters, giant slingshots

IMG_20140527_201918_991I went down to Eugene Maker Space last week on their Open Hack Night and got a small (very small!) preview of what they’re planning for the Faire. Piotr is an EMS member and proprietor of 1 Bit Squared, a company that makes UAVs (sometimes known as “quad copters” or “drones”) — and makes them as small as possible. His latest project, shown above, is quite possibly the smallest and lightest UAV currently available anywhere. And you’ll be able to see it right here in Eugene this Saturday!

TrophyShotIf tiny flying machines aren’t your thing, how about giant projectile launchers? Last fall, if you were lucky enough to be at the Eugene Maker Space first annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ contest at the Science Factory, you would have seen Team LEO, whose three-pronged slingshot sent a 2-pound pumpkin almost 400 feet across our front lawn! I’m thrilled to announce that Team LEO will be back on Saturday, launching… well, we’re not quite sure yet, since pumpkins aren’t in season. But I’m sure they will come up with some fun projectiles to fling.

There will be lots more from EMS, including sewing projects, a solar tracker, an air track, and much more. And that doesn’t even include all of the other makers who are bringing their projects to share! So what are you waiting for? Tickets are on sale online until Friday!

Get your tickets!

It’s finally here — advance tickets for the Eugene Mini Maker Faire are officially on sale! Our confirmed lineup of makers is posted, and will be updated over the next two weeks with any changes. Don’t miss out on all the fun — get your tickets today, and we’ll see you on June 7!

Stunned silence

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For those of you watching this blog closely, I hope you haven’t been hitting your browser’s refresh button obsessively over the past few days, waiting for my Maker Faire Bay Area recap. I had every intention of doing a weekend wrap-up as soon as possible after the weekend was over.

This is, actually, as soon as possible for me. It’s taken a few days to digest everything that I saw, heard, and did. I knew that Maker Faire was big. I didn’t quite anticipate how very overwhelming it would be.

Not overwhelming in a bad way, mind you.

Overwhelming in a larger-than-life-game-of-Mouse-Trap kind of way.
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Overwhelming in a synchronized-dancing-robot-minion-army kind of way.
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Overwhelming in a pancake-printing-robot-made-of-legos kind of way.
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I think you get the idea.

(Okay, one more: overwhelming in a preschoolers-on-a-pressure-sensitive-light-up-dance-floor kind of way!)
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I am in awe of all of the amazing projects on display by kids and adults of all ages. I was thrilled with the enthusiasm that every last one of the makers displayed in talking to the public about their projects — passion for making is contagious! I saw kids intensely engaged with projects and exhibits in ways that many teachers and parents wouldn’t think possible. It was the type of learning that I want to see happen every day at the Science Factory.

While I can’t promise a giant pyrotechnic octopus, I can assure you that our own Eugene Mini Maker Faire will do its best to live up to the name. And because we’ll have slightly less than the 900 makers of the Bay Area Faire, I’m certain that it will not be quite so overwhelming — but I hope just as inspiring! Stay tuned over the next few days for a complete list of our makers and their projects, as well as information on advance ticket sales!

Maker Faire possibilities

BnywBBqIYAAdPpKToday’s Mini Maker Faire Producers’ meetup was very different sort of program than yesterday’s program. There was much more listening and much less “making.” Of course, there was a TON of making going on around us, as preparations were in full swing for Maker Faire Bay Area all around us at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds.

I had the chance to meet Mini Maker Faire producers from more than a dozen locations around the world, from the Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, San Diego, North Carolina, Calgary, and even some potential producers in Mexico and Guatemala. I learned a lot from talking to the producers of these larger “Mini” Faires — ones that draw four or five thousand visitors over a weekend. When the Eugene Faire looks like that someday (and it will!), I will have the benefit of the other producers’ experiences to draw on.

I’m sure I’ll have much more to share after the weekend event is over, but for now, I’ll leave you with a few of the preview exhibits that we were able to watch as they were tested. The giraffe had some pretty cool moves…
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…But the octopus had fire, so I think the octopus wins. Can’t wait for tomorrow!image (1)