.Maker Faire Returns to Bay Area

San Mateo County Event Center hosts celebration of hobbyists and innovators

FLYING HIGH: Bruce Tomb, the creator of ‘Maria Del Camino,’ says his art car is as close as he’ll ever get to a flying car.

A massive bald eagle composed entirely of dimes, nickels and pennies spreads its copper-red wings. Journals bound by needle, thread and a bookworm’s deft fingers. A diesel-powered submarine designed to give maritime hobbyists access to depths once reserved for only the most advanced divers. All these objects and more will be at this year’s Maker Faire at the San Mateo County Event Center.

Since 2006, Maker Faire has given a platform and a playground to creative innovators and their fans. This year’s lineup features a multitude of makers—from vinyl screen printers to the pilot of “Maria Del Camino,” an art car that marries the body of a 1959 El Camino and the mechanical bones of a Komatsu excavator. Her driver, Bruce Tomb explains that the vehicle is the closest he’ll ever get to piloting a flying car.

At this year’s fair, virtual reality and augmented reality exhibits find their place among an audience that loves to transcend the everyday. Leo Madrid invites visitors to take a seat in his AEthernaut chair, an AR journey meant to elicit the sensation of a meditative state, simulated here without the deep breaths.

Casual and seasoned robot-builders show off their creations—a paintball cannon, life-size R2-D2s and BB-8s, and the 14.5-foot “Rearing Horse.”

Melodie Yasha, co-founder of SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture)—which won a top prize from NASA for a project that successfully 3D-printed with ice—will give a presentation on endeavors to 3D-print a habitable high-tech igloo on Mars.

Of course, Maker Faire is about more than robots and circuit boards. Expert woodworkers will demonstrate how relevant their craft still is. Matt Berger carves handmade timber skateboards and teardrop trailers, while Cal Poly engineering student Josh Warner shapes bicycle frames out of wood, adding a timeless finish to the classically eco-friendly mode of transportation.

This fair is family-friendly, featuring plenty of displays and activities geared toward children. Soap-making, kite-making and multiple Apps for Kids workshops provide space for learning and entertainment. Visitors of all ages can learn how to solder and code, and there are several young innovators participating, such as 15-year-old maker Walden Schafer and his remote-controlled “mean, clean washing machine.”

Other makers offer the opportunity to interact with projects that involve sustainable living, food making (cheese, sauerkraut, spice and tea-blending) and the electroformation of organic materials into metal. —

Maker Faire
May 17-19
San Mateo County Event Center


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