Sunday, 4 September 2011

Brighton Mini MakerFaire

This Saturday, 3rd September 2011, saw the first Mini MakerFaire come to Brighton.
And what a fantastic makerfaire it was - with over 5,000 people attending the one day event, running from 10am to 6pm. There are loads of photos all over the 'net, but videos are harder to come by - perhaps because it was such a hot and noisy event!




It was really nice to see so many HackSpaces attending - some of the more established ones like London and Nottingham, as well as the newer fledgling spaces like Manchester (Hac-Man, you gotta love it!)

There were some fantastic individual people displaying weird and wonderful gadgets too.  There were loads of midi- and arduino- based music making machines...



...a guy in a white coat so he must have been a bona-fida scientist...


...magic mouldable rubber compounds for hacking even greater ideas....


...create-your-own-furniture design and prototyping services...


...amazing self-balancing skateboards...


...H2O-based music making (probably playing Hadel's Water Music - see what I did there?)....


...local celebrity Jane Bom Bane...


...wasn't the only person creating weird and wonderful hats....



Everyone had their own personal favourites. For me, the robotic drawing arm, part of the AI-Kon Project was just incredible to watch. Stylised drawing - with a biro no less!



There were 3D-printers...


...a soldering workshop and drop-in hack room...


...a whole world of craft and techo-textile mash-ups...


... including beautiful flowers from recycled materials...


... and workshops where you could sit and make your own...


There were stunning mosiacs....


...chain-mail-like metallic textiles...


...knitted and felt-making classes...


... rampaging robots who squirted unsuspecting passers-by, and blew smoke rings at them from behind!


There were intricate gingerbread mini-masterpieces...


... a giant etch-a-sketch...


... geeks....

... and nerds of all ages!

There was loads more besides - but by this point I'd just forgotten all about the camera and was wandering around, staring in wide-eyed marvel at all the brilliant (and bizarre) things there.

One of the best things about the makerfaire is that it was a truly family event - mums and dads were amazed at the technology and work that had gone into a lot of the exhibits, while the kids laughed and squealed at anything that beeped, farted, or flashed. The overall feeling at the makerfaire was that the Maker Movement in the UK has finally got a bit of momentum behind it. And with so many kids taking an interest, it's not just a middle-aged big-boys-club of shed-dwellers: making stuff is really accessible to everyone now - it's an exciting time to be a geek or a nerd!