The growing community of inventors, designers, and tinkerers known as the Maker Movement has many adherents at Oracle. So many, in fact, that Oracle recently held its own sanctioned Maker Faire for employees and their kids.
“We have 80 Makers here today,” said Laurie Pattison, a senior director of user experience at Oracle who helped put on the event. The daylong Oracle Maker Faire featured speakers, workshops, and, of course, an impressive array DIY projects.
“We’ve got tons of robotics,” Pattison told The Oracle Blog during the event. “You’ll see some scooting around. Some [robots] you can talk to, and there’s a project called ‘taco bots’ that I want to check out.” Other Maker projects explored light, color, artificial intelligence, manufacturing techniques, and the Internet of Things (IoT). “We've also got arts and crafts, including origami,” said Pattison, “and we’ve got a color workshop based on the work of Joseph Albers.”
Oracle Maker Faire participants included kids and young adults showing off their inventions, including a water-saving IoT project by Hania Guiagoussou. The invention analyzes weather conditions, temperatures, soil humidity and moisture, and other factors to guide water usage. The prototype uses Raspberry Pi and includes online and live interconnection between sensors for instant sharing and social media visibility. “My dad is an engineer, and he likes to do projects and solve problems at home, so we have a lot of computers,” explained Guiagoussou, who said she began working with computers after attending one of Oracle’s Java programming workshops.
Pattison believes that the large number of kids at the Oracle Maker Faire is emblematic of Oracle’s long commitment to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education. “Volunteerism to expose kids to STEAM and to the Maker Movement is really high at Oracle,” said Pattison. You’ll find Oracle employees showing inventions at the public Maker Fair in nearby San Mateo and at Maker Faires all over the world, she pointed out, and Oracle employees are also involved with Design Tech High School (d.tech), a Bay Area high school specializing in design thinking for which Oracle is building a new facility on its Redwood Shores, California campus.
Oracle and Maker MediaThe Oracle Maker Faire is the first Maker Faire held by a single company and sponsored by Maker Media, the world-recognized leaders of the Maker Movement. “Oracle and Maker Media have a long history,” said Pattison. “I call it the ‘maker mentality’ and it’s really popular at the company,” she said. “Oracle people have always been part of the local Maker Movement and speak and display projects at the local Maker Faire,” she said. Pattison also points to the MakerCon held last year at the Oracle HQ campus, and an upcoming joint Oracle and MakerMedia panel at SXSW in Austin in 2017.