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Maker Faire Cheat Sheet

Written by Guest Blogger Sean Montgomery
Posted on September 10, 2013

How-To: World Maker Faire

 

The World Maker Faire is just around the corner and presents a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the latest and greatest innovations and chat with their creators. On September 21st & 22nd 2013, the World Maker Faire lands at the New York Hall of Science to give New Yorkers an annual taste of what's up and coming. Whether it's getting exposure to new ideas, meeting talent in the NYC area, talking to experts, gauging a sophisticated early adopter market and taking stock of what's hot, or just having a fun and educational day with your family, Maker Faire is worth checking out.

 

First timers

Maker Faire is a bit like CES meets Burning Man in a family friendly forum that has something for just about anyone. Every year over a thousand Makers comprised of established companies, hungry startups, engineers, scientists, artists and DIYers come to the Faire to share their passion for making the stuff that's changing the world we live in. The Faire has hundreds of exhibits dedicated to sharing ideas and/or selling products, a constant stream of talks on topics from 3D printing to bio-sensing, and performances and participatory events ranging from Tesla coil generated music to a life-size rendition of the board game Mousetrap. There are also plenty of workshop opportunities to get hands-on experience, learning to solder or printing a 3D model.

 

Do your homework

With all the excitement at Maker Faire it's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the awesome things to see. Maybe that's a good thing, but it's a great idea to plan ahead so you don't miss that talk or exhibit that could change your life. Some tips:

- Look over the program [LINK] in advance

- Plan your day(s) around talks, performances, events and workshops Program and Schedule  [LINK]

- Check out the Meet the Makers page [LINK] and note any exhibits you don't want to miss

 

Expand your mind

From 3D imaging to wearables to biotech, Maker Faire has it all. Take a look at the online program "Meet the Makers page" [LINK] where you can sort by interest and find projects on your favorite topics. But don't stop there. Take time to visit exhibitor booths covering a range of interests. You'll be surprised where you find the most inspirational projects. My favorite projects have ranged from conductive materials to platforms for tracking honey bees to uncover the causes of colony collapse.  If you like a project, be sure to ask how it works and take notes and pictures so that you remember the details when the dust settles.

 

Connect with others

The Maker Faire community is all about collaborations and is a great opportunity to meet some incredible makers, artists, scientists and engineers. If you're stoked on someone's work, exchange information and learn about how you can contribute to their future projects, or invite them to contribute to a project that you're working on. Even if you aren't exhibiting, Maker Faire is still a chance to talk about your work and, you never know, you might just meet the future CEO or CTO for your next startup.

 

Sat, Sun or both?

With over a thousand Makers, if you go all day both days you would have a bit less than a minute to talk to each, so if you have the time I recommend both days. Morning is a bit less crowded and a good time to see popular booths. Early Saturday you may find exhibitors working out the kinks in their demos and patter. Late on Sunday can start to show the wear and tear on the exhibits and exhibitors. Whenever you decide to go, don't let variable weather stop you. With exhibits inside the Hall of Science and tents spreading out on the grounds at large, there is plenty to do while you wait out that scatter of September rain.

 

Come see us

SENSORSTAR Labs will be exhibiting a project we call EngageSense. The project demonstrates the future potential of biosensing in classroom settings to show how sensing biometrics with standard webcams can give teachers additional tools to tailor lesson plans and improve student engagement. I'll also be giving a talk expanding on the topic of bio-sensing and how it is poised to change the way we engage nearly every aspect of our lives from health and wellness to education and retail experience. Please come say hello.

 

Good eats

Queens is the land of plenty for great food of all flavors. Here are a few of the many highlights near the Hall of Science in Corona and along the 7 train back into the city.

Corona:

Tortilleria Nixtamal, Mexican

Park Side Restaurant, Italian

Jackson Heights:

Phayul - Tibetan

Ayada - Thai

Sunnyside:

Salt & Fat - American, Asian fusion
Tito Rad's Grill & Restaurant - Filipino, Barbeque

Long Island City:

LIC Market - American Traditional

Casa Enrique - Mexican

 

Find out where the conversation has already started

Maker Faire is the annual celebration of an on-going and exciting movement that is rapidly expanding New York City's role in the world of technology. Every week there are meetups, hackathons, conferences, classes and expos that will blow your mind. Here are some places to check for ongoing listings of events:

http://www.siliconalley.com/events

http://www.garysguide.com/events

http://www.meetup.com

And be sure to check out the upcoming Hardware Innovation Workshop.

 

About the author

Sean Montgomery is an engineer, professor and new-media artist in New York City. After finishing his Ph.D. Neuroscience, Sean co-founded SENSORSTAR Labs, an agile R&D consulting group that utilizes a depth of expertise from electrical engineering and circuit design to algorithms and app development to transform product vision into product reality. http://labs.sensorstar.com/