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Destination: World Maker Faire New York

FYI: The Rundown

November 2015

Business travelers heading to New York City soon could be just in time for the World Maker Faire New York, taking place September 26 and 27 at the New York Hall of Science. This is just one of the fun festivals celebrating do-it-yourself artists and technologists taking place in communities around the globe each year.

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What will attendees see in New York City? We asked Oracle AppsLab’s Raymond Xie and Mark Vilrokx, who attended Maker Faire Bay Area in May, for insight into what types of projects attendees can expect—and for tips for getting the most out of attending a Maker Faire. Xie’s overall advice for attendees? “Try to have fun like a kid.” More at makerfaire.com.

Getting connected:

It seems like everyone is thinking about the Internet of Things (IoT), so get ready to immerse yourself in IoT projects. “There were many, many vendors promoting their brand of IoT hardware,” says Vilrokx of the Bay Area show. “There was also a whole ecosystem developing around them, from tools that let you visualize all the data collected by your ‘things’ to remote configuration and customization.” But Vilrokx points out that there is still plenty of room for the IoT to grow. “All these ‘things’ have to be tethered to a phone or other internet-capable device,” he says. “They cannot connect to the internet directly.”

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Drone on:

Building on the IoT trend, makers continue to launch fleets of flying drones. In the Bay Area, for example, one drone connected to a Kinect sensor. “The camera was positioned underneath the drone, pointing upward to the drone flying overhead,” says Vilrokx. “If the drone would stray from view, the Kinect would see this and send a signal to the drone to correct its position.” Other makers battled it out in in-flight dogfights known as the Game of Drones. No word yet on which Maker Faire will be the first to see a drone delivering a pizza, but New York City would seem like the obvious choice.

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Kid power:

At Maker Faires around the world, children love making art and construction projects, gaping at robots and art cars, and seeing adults play like little kids all over the festival grounds. Plus there’s so much fire! But Vilrokx says now a lot more high school and college students present their own projects. And they have skills. In the Bay Area, for example, one girl showed off a cave-mapping robot she started building when she was just 8. “It wasn’t just that kids build these things; they gave solid presentations to a majority adult audience, talking about their builds and future plans,” says Vilrokx.

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Low-tech love:

OK, it’s hard not to get sucked in by a fire-spewing metallic octopus or robot battles. But it’s not all about high-tech presentations at Maker Faire, Xie says. Make sure to leave time to check out some ideas around growing your own food—or projects made of more-everyday materials, such as Legos, fabric, marshmallows, or duct or masking tape.

These low-tech projects remind attendees that they don’t need a 3-D printer or the IoT to be able to make things they love—or to learn important lessons about the value of multiple iterations.

Photography by Shutterstock