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Maker Faire 2011

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This weekend, Maker Faire—dubbed "the world's largest DIY festival"—took over the San Mateo County Event Center for its two-day do-it-yourself, show-and-tell extravaganza. There were hundreds of makers proudly parading their homemade and home-built wares to the estimated 80,000 people in attendance. Click through our slideshow for some of our favorite finds at the festival.

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  In 2006, Make magazine hosted the first Maker Faire in San Mateo, California (located in between San Francisco and San Jose). Since then, it has launched annual "faires" in Detroit and New York City as well as "Mini Maker Faires" in Ann Arbor, Durham, Kansas City, Aspen, Oakland, Boston, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. (Find upcoming festival dates at here.)  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    In 2006, Make magazine hosted the first Maker Faire in San Mateo, California (located in between San Francisco and San Jose). Since then, it has launched annual "faires" in Detroit and New York City as well as "Mini Maker Faires" in Ann Arbor, Durham, Kansas City, Aspen, Oakland, Boston, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. (Find upcoming festival dates at here.)

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  There was something for everyone at Maker Faire. Areas were grouped by theme such as solar vehicles, homegrown, steampunk, digital sounds, robots, crafts, and more.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    There was something for everyone at Maker Faire. Areas were grouped by theme such as solar vehicles, homegrown, steampunk, digital sounds, robots, crafts, and more.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Next to Google's big setup of shipping containers turned into shelters were a few more modest outdoor structures, such as this module wooden hut by Zome Builder.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Next to Google's big setup of shipping containers turned into shelters were a few more modest outdoor structures, such as this module wooden hut by Zome Builder.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  These curved-roof structures are the first of an envisioned series of Makerspaces. Developed by Robert Bridges and Bill Young, of ShopBot, a Makerspace is a place, perhaps in a backyard or public park, for kids to craft and create and start DIYing early in life.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    These curved-roof structures are the first of an envisioned series of Makerspaces. Developed by Robert Bridges and Bill Young, of ShopBot, a Makerspace is a place, perhaps in a backyard or public park, for kids to craft and create and start DIYing early in life.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Members of Astromech were zooming their hand-built R2-D2s around the festival space to the delight of children—and many adults—in attendance. The carnival food gave the event a real fair-like feel.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Members of Astromech were zooming their hand-built R2-D2s around the festival space to the delight of children—and many adults—in attendance. The carnival food gave the event a real fair-like feel.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  In the Fiesta Hall, Purin Phanichphant displayed its Tap Tap Animation wall. Festival-goers were encouraged to tap the lights on and off to create patterns and images that were captured via a time-lapse recording booth.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    In the Fiesta Hall, Purin Phanichphant displayed its Tap Tap Animation wall. Festival-goers were encouraged to tap the lights on and off to create patterns and images that were captured via a time-lapse recording booth.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  The Fiesta Hall's main attraction was the Tesla Stage. Here, Austin-based group ArcAttack! set up its Tesla coils and Faraday cage. The coils create electricity, which become electrical arcs, which look like lightning bolts. Where the arcs connect to the Faraday cage and panels determines the sound they make. ArcAttack! created its own DJ setup to play songs by adjusting the voltage of the arcs so that they produce tones in certain patterns (like in the end of the Nicolas Cage flick The Sorcerer's Apprentice). It was pretty awesome to see and hear.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    The Fiesta Hall's main attraction was the Tesla Stage. Here, Austin-based group ArcAttack! set up its Tesla coils and Faraday cage. The coils create electricity, which become electrical arcs, which look like lightning bolts. Where the arcs connect to the Faraday cage and panels determines the sound they make. ArcAttack! created its own DJ setup to play songs by adjusting the voltage of the arcs so that they produce tones in certain patterns (like in the end of the Nicolas Cage flick The Sorcerer's Apprentice). It was pretty awesome to see and hear.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  MakerBots was also exhibiting in the Fiesta Hall, with three Thing-O-Matics on display. The rapid-prototyping machines are robots that melt plastic and reform it into small items like plastic gears of small toys. Machines such as these used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, but now companies like MakerBot have brought the price down to just over $1,000.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    MakerBots was also exhibiting in the Fiesta Hall, with three Thing-O-Matics on display. The rapid-prototyping machines are robots that melt plastic and reform it into small items like plastic gears of small toys. Machines such as these used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, but now companies like MakerBot have brought the price down to just over $1,000.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  I unfortunately have no idea what this forest of inflated tree lights was, but I loved the look of it. The trees were popular with attendees, and the tops were always moving around from kids running into them and tugging on their branches.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    I unfortunately have no idea what this forest of inflated tree lights was, but I loved the look of it. The trees were popular with attendees, and the tops were always moving around from kids running into them and tugging on their branches.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  The Homegrown Village was one of the outside themed areas. Greywater Action was on hand helping people understand water reuse.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    The Homegrown Village was one of the outside themed areas. Greywater Action was on hand helping people understand water reuse.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Back to the Roots Mushroom Kits were a big hit. For $20, you got a box that will sprout a crop of mushrooms within ten days. Each box is reported to grow at least two crops. Perfect for apartment dwellers and available online.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Back to the Roots Mushroom Kits were a big hit. For $20, you got a box that will sprout a crop of mushrooms within ten days. Each box is reported to grow at least two crops. Perfect for apartment dwellers and available online.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Another area housed outdoor play structures. The Ravenna Ultra-Low-Altitude Vehicle is a treehouse shaped like a rocket ship. It even sprays water (to look like exhaust from thrusters) and shakes to emulate take off.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Another area housed outdoor play structures. The Ravenna Ultra-Low-Altitude Vehicle is a treehouse shaped like a rocket ship. It even sprays water (to look like exhaust from thrusters) and shakes to emulate take off.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Though the robot here is physically painting this piece of art, its motions were controlled by festival attendees. The Move.Me software tool lets people use a PlayStation Move game motion controller to control the robot's movements. It's like robotic surgery just on a far more basic level and using video game equipment.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Though the robot here is physically painting this piece of art, its motions were controlled by festival attendees. The Move.Me software tool lets people use a PlayStation Move game motion controller to control the robot's movements. It's like robotic surgery just on a far more basic level and using video game equipment.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Throughout Saturday and Sunday, Make and its sister publication Craft hosted demonstrations. Though much of the festival featured technology-based projects, there was a large area dedicated to fabrics, clothing, knits, jewelry, and other crafts.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Throughout Saturday and Sunday, Make and its sister publication Craft hosted demonstrations. Though much of the festival featured technology-based projects, there was a large area dedicated to fabrics, clothing, knits, jewelry, and other crafts.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  I spotted these Wood Ties by Wood Thumb and immediately thought of our senior editor Aaron Britt, aka @ThePocketSquare. The ties are segmented so they move easily and are made of reclaimed wood.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    I spotted these Wood Ties by Wood Thumb and immediately thought of our senior editor Aaron Britt, aka @ThePocketSquare. The ties are segmented so they move easily and are made of reclaimed wood.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  There were lots of solar- and human-powered projects to see. The parents of the four kids on this Cyclecide swing ride powered it by riding stationary bicycles.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    There were lots of solar- and human-powered projects to see. The parents of the four kids on this Cyclecide swing ride powered it by riding stationary bicycles.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Before calling it a day, we watched EepyBird's Coke and Mentos geyser show. The duo of viral video fame put on a Bellagio-fountain-like display and also explained the mechanics behind the reactions.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!   Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Before calling it a day, we watched EepyBird's Coke and Mentos geyser show. The duo of viral video fame put on a Bellagio-fountain-like display and also explained the mechanics behind the reactions.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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