3D Printing

The Bay Area Goes Maker Mad

And so it begins: the rallying cry has been made for Makers from all over to descend on the Bay Area to connect, learn, and make. The Bay Area Maker Faire 2013 begins this weekend May 18th – 19th at the San Mateo County Events Center in San Mateo, California.

The most relevant event to mention on a site devoted to 3D printing is the Future of 3D Printing, a panel made up of all of the industry’s top experts, including members of Autodesk, MakerBot, Shapeways, Sculpteo and iMaterialise. This will take place on Saturday from 2:30 PM — 3:30 PM. You will also want to see what the big moguls have to say about the technology because, whether you are a RepRapping hobbyist or an industry pro, 3D Systems and Autodesk will have a huge role in how these machines make it to the public at the practical and media level. CEO of Autodesk, Carl Bass, will be giving a talk on how to empower your children (with the use of Autodesk products). Make and Makerfaire founder Dale Dougherty will be interviewing Chuck Hull, CTO of 3D Systems and father of 3D printing. Both events, much like a visit to the Oracle at Delphi, are sure to reveal unforeseen truths about the technology that will ultimately cause you to question your choices in life and, maybe even, your relationships with your father and mother.

custom heart 3D Printing Baxter Eldridge

Aside from talks by industry leaders, you’ll come across some pretty exciting booths and workshops dedicated to 3D printing. Baxter Eldridge, a student at the Athenian School, will be presenting what he thinks is a customizable, artificial heart. Members of BioCurious will be present with their $150 DIY bioprinter! Sketchup is hosting a workshop on how to create 3D models with their intuitive program. There will be more booths and workshops focused on 3D printing and its role in education than you can shake a spool of ABS at. And, if you’re a boring, old pedant like me, you are going to be thrilled with Corynne McSherry’s talk on the legal rights of Makersand how to fight the copyright laws that are on the horizon.

sketchup 3D Models

Of course, some of the best events, speakers, and groups may not be directly related to 3D printing at all. For instance, one of the projects that appeals most to me is the MindMidi, by Aaron Thomen. With MindMidi, Aaron can translate a subject’s brain waves into music and, if you’re telekinetic enough, it’s even possible to will the musical output of your brainwaves through control of your thoughts – i.e. through meditation. It’s musical biofeedback!

Another really fun-looking, non-3D printing related event is the DroneGames, in which hackers will compete their Parrot AR Drones, small and simple quadcopters programmed with javascript, to see who can program it to do the coolest stuff (fly to the rhythm of a song or recognize and track a human face, etc.). And, in addition to the DroneGames, Chris Anderson, former editor of the US branch of Wired, CEO of 3D Robotics, and founder of DIY Drones, will be giving a talk on the potential positive use of UAVs, specifically in agriculture.

Dronegames Parrot AR Drones

I’ve been looking all over the net for some rumors about how the event will turn out and what sort of exciting secret projects might be unleashed at this year’s Bay Area Makerfaire.  I haven’t been able to turn up any dirt, so if you’ve got any juicy gossip, leave it in the comments below! What I did uncover was that, if you want to save money on your ticket, you can find a variety of deals from different vendors that will give you a small discount on the price of admission, such as a $5 discount if you purchase your ticket from a Whole Foods near the event.

It’s too late to present at the Maker Faire, but you might try joining the folks at Dangerous Prototypes who are willing to share their booth with those unlucky Makers who have found themselves tableless. Or you can still go and check it out as a patron. If you can’t afford the $32.64 Adult Single Day Pass, you can look into the Maker Corps at Maker Faire Program and volunteer with the Faire, scouring craigslist for some Maker Faire participants looking for help, or dress up as Suli the Cube Buddy to promote Sifteo Cubes, earning you a free pass inside! But, remember, if you can’t make it to this event, there are other Maker Faires and Mini Maker Faires happening all of the time.  And, if there isn’t one happening near you any time soon, you can start your own.  To make it officially connected to the original event founders, go through the proper channels here!

The Bay Area Maker Faire 2013

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