Maker Faire Orlando is a community-organized, family-friendly celebration featuring local do-it-yourself science, art, rockets, robots, crafts, technology, music, hands-on-activities, and more. It’s an event where people show what they are making and share what they are learning.

The individuals behind these exhibits are known as “Makers” and they range from tech-enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. Makers are of all ages and come from many backgrounds. They all share a love for innovation and creativity, as well as an educational spirit to inspire and encourage new Makers. The even-larger, 2-day, 2014 Maker Faire Orlando at the Orlando Science Center and surrounding area will feature exhibits and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.


Unlocking the Secrets of Lockpicking at Lockpick Village

Jax Locksport , a chapter of TOOOL, The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers, is hosting Lock Pick Village at this year’s Orlando Mini Maker Faire.  The group, which meets monthly in Jacksonville, teaches Information Security professionals and hobbyists the art of lock picking.

“For hobbyists, lock picking is seen as a fun challenge, like solving a complex, mechanical puzzle, ” says Jess Hires, of Jax Locksport. ” There are certainly some locks more difficult than others, and it even begins to become a hunt for new challenging locks to add to the collection. For those in the Information Security field, lock picking can be a valuable asset on a Penetration Test, where a team of hackers are hired to break into a company’s infrastructure to reveal security holes.”

While the group caters to the Information Security crowd, Hires notes that there has often been some overlap with the Maker crowd,  and that they’d like to make the craft of lock picking  accessible to hobbyists and beginners.

At the Lock Pick Village, Jax Locksport will be showing several presentations on how to pick locks, and will help guests get some hands-on experience.

“We think lock picking is important, because it educates the public about the security mechanisms we rely on every single day such as our homes and vehicles, ” says Hires. ” Understanding what makes these machines work, how they can be broken, and how they can be manipulated, will make us all more secure in the long-run. And for those who just enjoy the art of lock picking, it can be a very calming hobby.”

Come unlock the secrets of lock picking with Jax Locksport at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire on October 5th!

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Guest blogger, Terri Willingham,  is founder and Program Director of Learning is for Everyone (LI4E.org) and has been lead curator and promoter  for TEDxYouth@TampaBay since 2010, and Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire 2012 and 2013, as well as lead organizer of Gulf Coast Makers.  She is also the Regional Director for FIRST STEM education programs in Central Florida.   And she likes  making stuff!

Meet the Maker: Joe Donoughe, Human Powered Snow Cones

The wait is finally over. Guilt-free treats, here we come!

Human-Powered Snow Cones are the brainchild of dreamer and inventor Joe Donoughe. This Maker has put his attraction in the hands (and feet) of those who use it. Using his homemade Ice Age snow cone wheel, Joe has enabled any individual the ability to be the “Maker” of their own masterpiece!

Imagine a life-sized hamster wheel that uses a conveyor belt and the result of your own energy to create a delicious, frozen treat; it all results in the show stopper that is the Human Powered Snow Cone.

Photo Credit: www.festivals-and-shows.com

Photo Credit: www.festivals-and-shows.com

The world’s largest snow cone machine works through easy-to-follow steps. You can walk or run your way in the wheel, and once you’re done make your way to the flavor station. Voilà, your snow cone is served!

This machine allows kids and adults alike to think outside the “wheel” and beyond the norm. The end result is in your own power, and eventually, your stomach too.

Profile written by Jamie Frishman, Public Relations & Marketing Intern at Orlando Science Center.

Meet the Maker: Tom’s Rocket Gear, Amateur Rocketry

After he began flying model rockets with the Boy Scouts of America, Tom Tweit discovered the world of rocketry appreciation. That was 20 years ago, and Tom has been working in the field ever since.

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Photo Credit: www.tomsrocketgear.com

Using mid- and high-power rockets, Tom has spread his knowledge for rocketry.  He even runs his own website dedicated to furthering and fostering growth within the rocketry community. Tom is also a member of the Tripoli Rocketry Association, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the advancement and operation of amateur high power rocketry.”

Tom plans to exhibit his amateur rocketry and experience with different model displays. He will show several rocket designs and unique building techniques. His presentation of fiberglass use, electronics, rocket engines and launching equipment will be sure to impress and inform! Tom will also exhibit videos from national launches.

Be sure to stop by the booth of our very own Rocket Man on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the 2013 Orlando Mini Maker Faire. Tom will have information on national and local rocket clubs, as well as launch sites.

And if you’re not a rocket scientist, don’t worry — we won’t tell!

Profile written by Jamie Frishman, Public Relations & Marketing Intern at Orlando Science Center.

Meet the Maker: Earthrise Outreach

When was the last time you helped to build a spacecraft? If you are a member of Earthrise Outreach the answer is probably yesterday, but it was after you finished all of your homework.

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Photo Credit: www.earthrisespace.org

As a part of the Earthrise Space Foundation, a Florida-based nonprofit, Earthrise Outreach is putting the future of the entrepreneurial space industry in students’ hands. Working together with industry and academic professionals, this organization is dedicated to advancing space technology. More importantly, Earthrise Outreach is fostering the growth of interest and participation within the STEM fields; science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students are given the tools and experience to propel them into a STEM career.

Meet members of the Earthrise Outreach team and interact with their Android tablet-controlled rover at Orlando Mini Maker Faire on Oct. 5, 2013! Learn everything there is to know about who they are, what they do, why they do it and how they do it.

This team of students is proof that the sky is not the limit, just a starting point of possibility.

Profile written by Jamie Frishman, Public Relations & Marketing Intern at Orlando Science Center.

 

Meet the Maker: RobotsAreAwesome

I have been a fan of RobotsAreAwesome since seeing HerArtSheLoves’ small, awesome robots at the inaugural 2012 Orlando Mini Maker Faire. As I walked past the different booths throughout the day, I couldn’t help but smile every time I saw RobotsAreAwesome. Sure, there were Legos and electronic kits, but there were only a few booths with a lot of very adorable, smiling robots. Local Orlando artist Melissa Witkowski (better known as HerArtSheLoves) was sitting behind the table creating new robots. The marquee box in front of her was lit up, warmly stating “Robot Making In Progress”.

Robot Making in Progress at Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2012

Photo Credit: Alicia Riggins

I had loved seeing so many new things that day, so I asked HerArtsSheLoves about her favorite OMMF 2012 moments, and she had quite a few, including: “the parade of R2D2s, the Steampunk costumes, seeing the CyberCraft Robots in person, meeting Ian Cole and his wife, ladies in LED, tables of Legos, a break dancing robot operated by a local high school and the waves of awesome people.” There were waves of awesome people at OMMF last year and I can only imagine what this second year will bring.

With RobotsAreAwesome, HerArtSheLoves has found a way to meld a favorite childhood hobby with nerd sensibility. As an artist with a background in polymer clay sculpting, she has been handcrafting statues with individual personalities since 2009. RobotsAreAwesome are available to purchase on Etsy, and OMMF 2012 marked the first day they were available to the public offline.

What inspires HerArtSheLoves is a “love of geekery, all things cute and touch of shabby chic.” Not only does RobotsAreAwesome offer robot statues, wall art, and unique solutions such as robot business card holders, but one can also have a custom robot made for any occasion such as a wedding or graduation. On making new robots, she states, “I ask myself what manner of robots I would like standing on my desk or shelf or wall? What style of robot haven’t I seen before? What kind of robot do I want to see standing on cake being awesome? It starts with moods, then moves onto color palettes.”

If you are an adult who is a geek-kid at heart, who thinks robots are awesome, this is for you. And of course, listen to the RobotsAreAwesome “3 Robot Laws”-

  • 1.0: Each Robot is, Unique, one of a kind.
  • 2.0: NOT intended for children, NOT Bendable, it is an art sculpture.
  • 3.0: Not intended for those that do not think robots are awesome.

HerArtSheLoves has already started gearing up for year two at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire, where you can meet RobotsAreAwesome in person. What does she expect for the event this October? “That it’s as awesome as last year, that the attendees are fans of geekery and all things maker, open minded, inquisitive and friendly.”

And speaking of geekery, I just had to ask her about something robot related that I have recently been geeking out on: the sci-fi film extravaganza, Pacific Rim. “It’s a live action movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters. This exists. Woohoo!” And for even further robot love in the realm of film, if you ever see a little indie B horror film called Hellbenders, you’ll also see some RobotsAreAwesome grungy bots!

Hope to see all you nerdy robot lovers out on the floor at OMMF in October!

Local Maker Publishes Book on Raspberry Pi

To a noob such as myself, the words Rasberry Pi stir feelings of hunger. To any gamer, coder or Maker, these words mean much more than a snack; they mean endless possibility.

In certain parts of the world, generations of students are to grow up with no formal introduction to computer science. This could have held true had a small, credit card-sized computer not been created. The Rasberry Pi, developed in the UK by the Rasberry Pi Foundation, emerged as a means of reintroducing programming to kids all over the globe. The PC device can plug into your TV and keyboard, play high-definition video, create spreadsheets and word processing, and more.

For local Maker Shea Silverman, it’s the “more” that matters — specifically, gaming on Raspberry Pi. In fact, when he’s not exploring the devices’ emulation possibilities, he’s collecting, repairing and maintaining arcade units.

Silverman, a web applications developer at the University of Central Florida, has written a new book, Instant Rasberry Pi Gaming, in which he introduces readers to follow a fast, focused guide. Simple step-by-step instructions will allow you to play classic and modern video games, use the Rasberry Pi app store, and make the most of your new Rasberry Pi computer.

Photo Credit: www.packtpub.com

The Instant Rasberry Pi Gaming e-book is available for preorder from PacktHub.com with the hardcover coming soon via Amazon.com.

Profile written by Jamie Frishman, Public Relations & Marketing Intern at Orlando Science Center.

Meet the Maker: Dog Powered Robot

Yes, you read the title correctly. Just let that sink in for a moment.

This is not simply a machine controlled by a dog creating cute chaos. Dog Powered Robot is a theatrical performance where the star happens to be a dog sitting in the chest of a blue robot, acting as its power source. The show combines cardboard-constructed suits and larger-than-life characters and props, all from what would be the perspective of a child’s imagination. The show has successfully been presented at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Evan Miga and his Orlando based company, Miga Me are the geniuses behind the production. The group is now working to spread the ideas of imagination and engineering to the public as Dog Powered Robot® Labs. Their team takes low-tech and high-tech items and transforms them into something you could only dream — or so you think.

Come meet the makers behind Dog Powered Robot on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire. Hear them discuss the creative process of fusing together engineering and art, and then see the bots in action!

Let’s be real, they have robots AND a dog. You’ll know where to find me.

Photo Credit: www.dogpoweredrobot.com

Profile written by Jamie Frishman, Public Relations & Marketing Intern at Orlando Science Center.

Meet the Maker: Barry S. Anderson, Ghoul-School FX Workshops

With more than 30 years of experience under his belt, Barry S. Anderson is more than a special effects makeup artist. He is a sculptor, prosthetic designer and currently, The Professor of Ghoul-School FX Workshops.

Mr. Anderson’s training has brought him to television and movie sets, such as Jeepers Creepers and Day of the Dead. He has been catapulted to other business ventures such as forensics and creating medical training devices for the Department of Defense and private sector.

Barry S. Anderson

Photo Credit: www.Ghoul-School.com

With the Ghoul-School FX Workshops under his masterful supervision, Mr. Anderson has designed a curriculum to take a novice of any artistic level and equip them with the skills to become a scream-queen (or king — either way, your work will be sure to fright and fascinate). All workshop information and pricing can be found on his website. You can also find Mr. Anderson’s work available for purchase.

Be sure to witness The Professor at work on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the 2013 Orlando Mini Maker Faire when he presents fun, creepy special effects makeup and art workshops.

Profile written by Jamie Frishman, Public Relations & Marketing Intern at Orlando Science Center.

Meet the Maker: Gabriel Anzziani, of Gabotronics

Gabriel at Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2012

I first met Gabriel Anzziani, founder of Gabotronics, a couple of years ago when he came out to our inaugural Tampa Mini Maker Faire in 2012. He had these remarkable, and remarkably tiny, oscilloscopes that captured everyone’s interest.

Gabriel’s been on the Maker Faire tour ever since! Since his last visit to Orlando Mini Maker Faire in 2012, he has attended Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013, and gone to New York for World Maker Faire, and to San Francisco for Bay Area Maker Faire. He’s also successfully funded two KickStarter campaigns: The Xprotolab Portable and the Xminilab Portable.

“KickStarter has been an invaluable channel for funding and to promote my ideas,” says Gabriel.

Gabriel will bring his main products (at discounted prices) to Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2013, and about a dozen demos, among them: an “etch a sketch” done by setting the oscilloscope in XY mode; data decoding from a Nintendo Wii Nunchuck; Xprotolabs flashing to the beats of music by using FFTs; a component curve tracer; and a robotic arm using servo motors, controlled by the waveform generator in the Xprotolab.

Gabriel will also be launching a new KickStarter campaign in mid-September for

ow his most ambitious project yet – the Oscilloscope Watch. He’ll have a prototype at Orlando Mini Maker Faire.

A little about Gabotronics

Gabotronics, based in Lakewood Ranch, FL,  specializes in design and manufacture embedded systems, a direct outgrowth of founder Gabriel’s lifelong interest in electronics.  Gabriel remembers disassembling RC cars, and building fans with the motors; creating door alarms from dial phone parts; and getting shocked when playing with relays, and  always imagined having his own company called Gabotronics. He got his bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering at Simon Bolívar University in Venezuela in 2003. Gabotronics was formally founded on 2009.

“I really enjoy designing, inventing, making,” says Gabriel. “When I receive feedback from my customers saying that my products are awesome, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

Gabotronics is also an Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2013 Sponsor.  Many thanks, Gabotronics, for supporting Orlando Mini Maker Faire!

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Guest blogger, Terri Willingham,  is founder and Program Director of Learning is for Everyone (LI4E.org) and has been lead curator and promoter  for TEDxYouth@TampaBay since 2010, and Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire 2012 and 2013, as well as lead organizer of Gulf Coast Makers.  I am also the Regional Director for FIRST STEM education programs in Central Florida.   And I like making stuff!

The Robots are Coming!

I’ve worked with FIRST teams for more than 7 years, as a parent volunteer, coach and mentor, and for the last two years, as Regional Director for  FIRST programs in central Florida.

Dr. Woody Flowers, FIRST founder Dean Kamen and Will.I.Am at 2013 FIRST Championship in St. Louis, MO

Founded by inventor and biotechnologist ,Dean Kamen , nearly 25 years ago, in an effort to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, FIRST is a K-12 nonprofit education organization that uses robot challenges to build science and technology skills and interests ,along with self-confidence, leadership, and life skills . In Florida, FIRST serves nearly 10,000 students statewide. At the high school level, over $16 million in scholarships are available to participating students.

2013 Orlando FRC Regional crowds

From an adult perspective, FIRST is building future well rounded science, technology and business leaders. From a youth perspective, it’s nerdvana! A technorock gear head geek fest – with scholarships! George H.W. Bush once famously described FIRST as “Like WWF but for smart people.”

One of my favorite jobs as RD, is working with teams at outreach events – essentially any event that offers an opportunity to share FIRST with the general public or the business community; business conventions like IBM Innovate, and PTC Users, and professional associations like the recent NAACP ACT-SO conference in Orlando a couple of weeks ago. The Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.

Boys and Girls Club Walt Disney Branch FTC Team 6090 and Orlando Science Schools robotics teams, FTC Team 5070 N.U.T.S. (Nerds United for Technological Superiority), and their FRC Team 4013 Clockwork Mania did a great job showcasing FIRST, giving students opportunities to drive their robots and talking about their competition experiences.

Checking out a big FRC robot at Otronicon 2012

Teams love outreach events for some obvious reasons – sometimes it gets them a field trip day, and even better, they get to run their robots, which you can never do enough! But outreach events are awesome because teams often get to see and meet some amazing people – like Grand Hank at the NAACP ACT SO event – and to see some amazing applied science, and technology, like outreach teams at last year’s Orlando Mini Maker Faire and at Otronicon last fall, at the Orlando Science Center.

Demoing an FTC robot at OMMF 2012

It’s one thing to build a robot for a high school competition, and something else entirely to realize that those fun tinkering skills can translate into building and programming robust industrial robots or highly specialized robotic instruments like the da Vinci Surgical system.

There will be FIRST teams at Orlando Mini Maker Faire again this year – FIRST LEGO League elementary and middle school teams, and FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition high school level teams. These are all student built robots, built in six to 12 weeks from scratch to meet each program’s challenge.

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FRC disc flinging bot at Gulf Coast Makers 2013 Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire

This year’s FRC robots are industrial strength ultimate Frisbee flinging machines; the FTC robots are grapplers and manipulators; the FLL robots are made out of LEGOs. What more do you need to know?!

So be sure to check out the FIRST Robot Makers at Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2013, where you can try your hand at driving , try out the Robot C Virtual Worlds simulator and more, and see this awesome Sport for the Mind!

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I’m founder and current president of Learning is for Everyone (LI4E.org) and have been lead curator and promoter  for TEDxYouth@TampaBay since 2010, and Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire 2012 and 2013, as well as lead organizer of Gulf Coast Makers.  I am also the Regional Director for FIRST STEM education programs in Central Florida.   And I like making stuff!