Innovation Inundation

There’s plenty of hype about disruptive cultural shifts in this time of billion-dollar apps that apply faux-Polaroid effects to digital photos. But in the case of the self-styled “maker revolution,” the hype might be justified. It was inspired by DIY and open-source culture, the availability of futuristic innovations such as 3-D printers, and crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter. Now, tinkering with hardware and making stuff from scratch is no longer restricted to solder-wielding geeks and garage-bound dads. The Maker Faire is ground zero for the movement, where hardware hackers, robot inventors, hipster knitters, civilian scientists, foodie chemists, and enterprising kids reveal their creations, get inspired, and crib notes. True to the movement’s democratic ethos, the Maker Faire isn’t only for the crafty and industrious, but for anyone interested in seeing what folks with materials and moxie can create. The dizzying array of implausible creations emerging from the Maker movement — such as former NASA contractor Kristian von Bengtson’s DIY spaceship project Copenhagen Suborbitals — is a wonder to behold, even for hardened cynics like ourselves. And if nothing else, the Maker Faire provides a good opportunity to keep tabs on the robot army your neighbor is building in her backyard.
May 19-20, 10 a.m., 2012

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