Sunday, September 28, 2014

Portland Mini Maker Faire

The Portland Mini Maker Faire has become a much anticipated annual event for many families.  It takes place in September in a parking lot at OMSI. There were more than 110 exhibits. Jasper had a lot of fun this year.   I'm never sure what to think of the Mini Maker Faire myself. There are many engaging exhibits and hands-on activities that are definite winners.  But it seems  to me that to lump all people together who engage in any kind of creative act as "makers" is a little ridiculous.  I expected actual inventors demonstrating inventions, and vendors who sell components that can be used for inventions.  While there were some of these, they seemed to me to have only very superficial connection to schools that teach wilderness survival, clubs for rockhounds, singing pirates of dubious historical accuracy, chefs, auto body repair shops and artists, and some of these pursuits aren't really about making anything at all.  The term "maker" seems to have been coined to give access to everyone to the newly hip "geek culture". Of course, giving access to everyone is the surest way to make anything unhip in a hurry!  But Jasper skipped the philosophy and had a great time.  
A free soldering lesson.
The result- a little pin with flashing, color changing LEDs.
Playing catch with a robot.
Polishing a crystal.
Trying out a 3D pen.
Oh no!  A creepy spider Jasper made of pipe
cleaners, with LED eyes.
Meeting Ivan Owen, inventor of a 3D-printed prosthetic hand.

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