March 16, 2009
Maker Faire UK
The first ever UK Maker Faire was held this past weekend in the centre of Newcastle. Around 5000 people visited the marquee over the two days, and got to see a host of different exhibits, including a life-size, fire-breathing mechanical horse; a physical (rather than on-screen) version of the old classic Lunar Lander; a collection of 3D-printed ornaments; and of course Bubblino and the Mazzini monitors.
Annoyingly, as I was manning the stand on my own, I didn't get to explore the event as much as I'd have liked. It was good to catch up with the guys from the recent Makers and Hackers event and Alex from Tinker.it, and to meet lots of interesting people for the first time.
As well as the exhibits there were lots of practical hands-on workshops that the public could join. On Saturday there was a marching band procession through the marquee, made up of people playing their electronic instruments that they'd just built, and over in one corner you could learn how to solder whilst building a flashing-eyed bug or an LED throwie. There was a wonderful air of you-can-do-this-too throughout the whole event.
The kids all loved Bubblino, and there was also plenty of interest in the Mazzini monitors and what they were measuring. I spoke to three different crews from the BBC over the weekend, so once any of that surfaces online I'll be sure to post links.
Well done to the Newcastle Science Festival guys for bringing Maker Faire to the UK, and to everyone at O'Reilly UK for putting on such a great festival of making and hacking. I'm already thinking about what else I should make to take to the next one...