Maker Faire is the premier event for grassroots American innovation. As the World's Largest DIY Festival, this two-day family friendly Faire has something for everyone - a showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness and a celebration of the Maker mindset.

Some Robotic Highlights from the Maker Faire

Bob Hetherington | RoboticsTomorrow


One of the best things about my job is that I get to poke around to find interesting (at least to me) stuff to share with our readers. RoboticsTomorrow is a new site ... and a new adventure for us. While looking for article ideas I came across a bunch of videos from the "Maker Faire" in San Mateo.

Now this is fun stuff. Here's how they describe it:
 

Maker Faire is the premier event for grassroots American innovation. As the World's Largest DIY Festival, this two-day family friendly Faire has something for everyone - a showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness and a celebration of the Maker mindset.

In my humble opinion and somewhat limited mastery of the written word --- a bunch of nerds and intellects showing off some of the most innovative and off the wall concepts known to man!

So, I fished around and came up with these videos that relate to Robotics --- now and Tomorrow.

Here is a presentation by Tully Foote of Willow Garage - "Open Source Robotics for the Home" which covers ROS, TurtleBot, and more.

ROS is an open source Robot Operating System that is catching on and promises to allow faster development of robotic systems.



Needless to say --- we seem to be paralleling the good old days of PC development where it's open season for development of systems and platforms to bring robotics to the average man. The difference is the social internet. The robotics "community" can accelerate the development of open source solutions astronomically.

Next I found this one from Chris Anderson describing Arduino Robotics. In this one Chris introduces us to Robotics in a very real way --- starting through the eyes of his kids and evolving to a system build on a stable and simple robotic platform called Arduino --- that can autopilot a remote control airplane with ease --- and at affordable prices.

Again, stress is put on the "Community" where ideas are shared among people with common interests and development takes place at the speed of light.

 
My favorite concepts from this:
  • Modularize everything. Build a solid platform / brain and just ad skins to make it do individual stuff that you want to do --- fly, float, walk --- whatever.
  • Use the robotic platform or brain to do all the stuff to keep the device stable and safe --- and save the creativity for human beings. --- fly the plane safely --- I will just tell you where I want to go.
I know none of these concepts are new --- but seeing these guys actively following their dreams brings it to life in a 3D world.

One more --- and a bit more off the wall --- but feasible???

Neil Gershenfeld: The Future of Fabrication

He says we should be striving to get away from the practice of destructively modifying materials to make what we want and instead design and build materials that are programmable so they can take on the shapes we need --- and consequently revert back or modify themselves if we change our needs.  I must admit I have a hard time getting my head around this --- but here you go --- make of it what you will.


 
Needless to say, I'm going to do my best to attend one of these "Faires" in the near future --- and I will be sure to write up a story for you. Here is the website in case you want to go too.


 

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