A couple of weeks ago, my mom pointed out an interesting event that was taking place in Decatur and asked if my sister and I wanted to go. The 2015 Atlanta Maker Faire was held last weekend — it’s a family friendly showcase of invention, creativity, resourcefulness, and innovation. People from all trades host booths to showcase new strategies, cool inventions, and overall interesting stuff, new or not. They also network with like minded individuals to expand their own understanding as well as ‘share the well.’
At the Maker Faire, I met so many interesting people, including Mr. Stan Berry of the Gwinett Experimental Aircraft Association who told us about a program for teens at Lawrenceville airport that lets you build and fly your own airplane and take flying lessons for free on Saturdays.
The Google booth fascinated me and, judging by the crowd, tons of other people. They had all sorts of circuit boards and hacking tools. They also had a bunch of Google phones that when placed in cardboard Google glasses created a virtual experience for you to enjoy. My virtual experience was a roller coaster ride — my brain could feel going up and up and then a sudden drop. This is really cool because even when I clearly know I am not on that roller coaster, my brain still feels like it is and makes my body reacted to all the drops even though they weren’t real. I experienced VR (virtual reality) for the first time in August at Samsung’s booth at Lollapalooza, a music festival in Chicago. Samsung’s experience was more interactive, let you spin in your seat and look around, while Google’s offering at Maker Faire was just watching a video up close.
Another great guy I met was Adam Mangone, a local startup expert and entrepreneur who was filling in for his wife at the Innovation in Action booth. Innovation In Action is a project based design thinking training program for Atlanta high school students. If you have the weekend free, I highly recommend their event at Atlanta’s Center for Civic Innovation on November 14 and 15. High school students will get a chance to participate in a real world design thinking challenge (or competition) either with a group of friends or strangers or just yourself. Groups will bring a design problem with them or choose to solve a problem for one of the corporate sponsors. The task is to find a solution, prototype it, and present it to a group of judges. It sounds exciting and I plan to convince some of my iDiploma friends to join me in November
I also saw a group who came up with all sorts of creative designs for bicycles. They had everything from couch bikes, to bikes with a welded sculpture of a fish around you as you drove. I didn’t get to try out the bikes as the line was very long, but it looked pretty fun and intriguing.
Finally, for all you drone fans out there, I met Marcy and JC who told us about the F3 Expo. The F3 Expo is the place to go in November (same weekend as Innovation in Action’s design challenge) to see real drone races and drone acrobatics where some of the drones will fly up to 80 mph. Marcy and JC introduced us to “hacking” drones, taking regular drone parts and manipulating them to fly faster, achieve new heights, and can be rebuilt easily when they crash (they always crash).
If you are on the fence about visiting the Maker Faire next year, I 100% recommend that you go to this very fun and fascinating event and work up the courage to talk to the people running the booths who are so friendly and knowledgable.