Last weekend, the third Seattle Mini Maker Faire took over the EMP museum in Seattle Center and filled it inside and out with neat things. Billed as a place where “people show what they are making, and share what they are learning,” the all-ages faire featured some fantastic projects. A few of my favorites:
Open ROV: Open source underwater robots for exploration & education
If you’ve seen those videos where people send their camera up to the edge of space using a weather balloon, this is kind of like that, but in the ocean. And it’s a robot. Or, it’s like scuba diving, but instead of you diving, it’s your robot. (Scared of open water? Unable to dive because of an injury? Not trained for technical diving? No problem! The OpenROV can explore to depths greater than 200 feet deep). ROV stands for “Remotely Operated Vehicle” and OpenROV is a Do-It-Yourself community of people who want to build robots to explore underwater–“open” refers to open source: designs and instructions are free and shared among community members). “We’re a group of amateur and professional ROV builders and operators from over 50 countries who have a passion for exploring the deep,” explains their website. Check out this video an OpenROV took during a dive in the Sea of Cortez.
Suspension of Disbelief: a giant playground crocheted by hand
This giant, adult-sized jungle gym/interactive art piece is being created by hand-crocheting (as in, crocheting using your hands, not crochet needles) white industrial strength nylon rope. Colorf-changing LED spotlights connected to motion sensors will light up the rope at night. Suspension of Disbelief will debut at Burning Man, but look for it around Oregon (Portland) and Washington (Georgetown and Burien). Check out their website, or help them buy more rope!
Two versions of a pinhole camera
There were quite a few “pinhole camera” projects at the Mini Maker Faire, but my favorite were these two: the world’s cheapest and easiest way to have fun with a pinhole camera, and a pinhole camera you can walk inside. Seattle ReCreative, an art and creativity space in Ballard that reuses materials, had pinhole cameras made out of cardboard boxes, paper, tape, and aluminum foil. They didn’t have film to develop photos with, but by putting your face up to the box you could see the view from the pinhole projected on the back of the cardboard box. The giant pinhole camera worked the same way, but used a tent (instead of a cardboard box). Walking inside, the view from the “pinhole” (actually a hole about the size of a tennis ball, with the lens from a pair of glasses taped over to focus it) was projected on the back of the tent.