The weekend of May 15th was my first experience with Maker Faire, and I must say, I couldn’t have chosen a better one. It was the 10th anniversary of Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo, California, which was supposed to be one of the two flagship events for Maker Faire. My company was proud to support the event as a “Maker Faire Booster”.
According to the organizer, the 3-day event was the biggest so far in exhibitor participation and fan attendance. By the afternoon of the second day, San Mateo Event Center was filled with attendees to the point where going from one “Zone” to another was an obstacle course, trying to avoid bumping into people.
In the midst of the Maker craziness that can only be described as one huge, supercharged, geeky, crazy science and craft fair, one thing stood out to me.
Many of the exhibits were indeed DIY marvels that were created by those passionate “makers” who must have spent countless hours in their garages and backyards with their power tools. But then, there were also these sleek professionally crafted and facilitated booths by high tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Intel, HP and others.
And then, there were a whole list of microcontroller manufacturers. Being the “heart” of DIY electronics and robotics nowadays, these little electronic wonders have been gaining popularity among makers, and it showed. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Texas Instruments, BeagleBoard, Particle (formerly Spark) and other microcontroller brands were all present at the event. Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of Arduino, and Eben Upton, the Raspberry Pi CEO, even spoke at the Center Stage to a packed crowd; and they were received like rock stars.
At the end of the day, it took only one glance at the mob of attendees to realize that technology is indeed taking the center stage of our lives. Most of them, young and old, had their smartphones, taking pictures and videos and posting them on social media. Yes, technology has come a long way since the inaugural Maker Faire Bay Area 10 years ago, and it was great to see the Maker Community continuing to embrace new technologies to make new things.
The spirit of creativity was ever present at the event, and I could see the wings of high tech lifting it higher than ever before. It was a sight to see.