Maker Faire Recap

Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Blog, Etc | 2 Comments

This past weekend Ollie and I exhibited at Maker Faire in San Francisco.

Many of my favorite organizations were there, Exploratorium, Spark Fun, Digikey, Lego, Etsy, Instructables, Google, NASA (!!!)…. and many smaller individuals who haven’t yet grown into largeish organizations, MaceTech, Ira Sherman (chastity belts!!!), Sensebridge, Mark Lottor.

Setup was very easy- we shipped three gigantic boxes directly to Maker Faire. Our booth contained only three pieces, 2 radiation detectors and a new piece that has an analog lighting control that I’ve been writing about recently. Arduino-free artwork!

ear lamp 1

ear 2


The organizers of Maker Faire treated the Makers awesomely. Check out the Paella that was provided for us.

Here are some of the highlights.
Sally Ng is an Industrial designer who has won a bunch of design awards. I was really impressed with these portion control plates, both with the concept and with the execution. She has them in a red color, but they were stolen from her last show. Sort of a double edged compliment I think.
Sally Ng


I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to hang out at the Google (blog link here) area. They were showing off their SketchUp software and the Android software development kit. I heard something about self driving cars, which hopefully they will be ready to show soon!

Arc Attack is a Tesla Coil performance that incorporates music and light. It’s really fun to watch…. once or twice. We were placed right next to the stage where the performance happened six times a day. The result was that we got a ton of traffic (thank you Arc Attack!), but it was also loud!

Erik Larson stopped by our booth. He designs CymaScopes. This is a type of scientific instrumentation that make sound waves visible in water. I had never seen this kind of instrument before and I am blown away by the gorgeousness of the results. I only saw pictures on Erik’s phone and I plan to find somewhere to view this in real life ASAP. Here are some pictures that I snagged from the company’s website.
erik larson

erik larson

We visited the Exploratorium museum while I was in San Francisco. The exhibits were cool, but they saved the coolest ones for Maker Faire. One of the best pieces they showed is called Harmony Swingset, a prototype by Earl Stirling. The lengths of the swings are cut so that they are harmonically tuned to each other. When people swing on them, it looks like a wave going down the line. A video shows this best …flash forward to 1:35.

My friend Brian Malovany was there with his Lego Van. I went to visit him once during the show and he was mobbed with children.
Lego Van

I will close this post with a photo of a sign with a partial quote from Barack Obama’s Inaugural address.
Here’s a link to the full speech.



  1. Earl Stirling
    July 5, 2011

    Sophi! I’m so glad you like the Harmony Swingset, hope to bring it to New York. Your detectors are pretty awesome too, really a unique medium… and I work at a place founded by an Oppenheimer ;).

    Let’s stay in touch, I really like your work.


  2. MIX Engineering » Finger Pulse Oximeter!
    October 19, 2013

    […] back for more posts on the Oximeter. Here’s the link for the Maker Faire recap. I ordered a finger pulse oximeter online, which was waiting for me on my porch when I got home […]


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