Photo: Matt Rosoff
If you want to understand the true culture of Silicon Valley and can’t make it out to the desert in September for Burning Man, attending Maker Faire is the next best thing.Now in its sixth year in Silicon Valley at the San Mateo Fairgrounds, Maker Faire is like a county fair for do-it-yourselfers, filled with weird science projects, giant robots, and the geeks who build and love them.
It’s put on by Make magazine, an O’Reilly publication for the do-it-yourself community, and this year had some big corporate sponsors like Google and GE.
But it’s still got an amateur and slightly dangerous feel, like a county fair meets rock festival. For instance, because a lot of the rides are built by tinkerers, everybody has to sign a waiver of liability before being allowed to ride them. The solar-powered merry-go-round took a few hours to warm up. The water swing, where the water was supposed to turn off right before you passed through it, didn’t work right and ended up drenching everybody.
We spent a few hours there this weekend, and here are some of the crazy things we saw.
See the green and red pole on the left? The bikers also powered an air pump that pushed an aluminium can up and down depending on how much power they were delivering. For the sound stage to work right, the can had to be in the red zone at the top.
This metal beast was controlled by a keyboard -- the musical kind, not the kind with numbers and letters.
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