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.


Meet the Maker: Daniel Pikora, LEGO Mindstorms NXT Robotic Rock Band

We have auto-tune and electric dance music, and now, a robotic LEGO band? One particular Maker says, “Why not?”

LEGO rock band

Photo Credit: Daniel Pikora

Daniel Pikora grew up with an interest in robotics and began working with them back in 1998. Since then, this Maker has been creating, and within the past few years, producing! Using NXT-based robots (part of LEGO’s Mindstorms programmable robot series) he began making robotic rock music.

A Maker Faire veteran, Daniel has attended several Maker Faire North Carolina events since 2010. First premiering the LEGO rock band platform just last year, he has big plans for expanding the band instruments, which now feature guitar, keyboard and drums. The set-up also handles minor sound effects. Music can be configured in a number of ways, which can result in some interesting new tunes not heard anywhere else!

Come rock out with one of your favorite childhood toys at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire on Oct. 5. Just be sure to tell everyone that you’re with the band.

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

Meet the Maker: Nathan Selikoff, Giant Marionette Stickperson

Step aside Howdy Doody, there’s a new marionette in town (but really move out of the way, this thing is huge).

Photo Credit: www.nathanselikoff.com

Photo Credit: www.nathanselikoff.com

Nathan Selikoff is the Maker behind the larger-than-life art piece. He first created the Giant Marionette Stickperson for the first annual Cardboard Art Festival in 2013. The piece is made of recycled cardboard, recycled hammock chair crossbars, rope, strings, pulleys, and miscellaneous hardware. As the Giant explores the contrast between individual and collective action, it is a multi-player experience where you are in control of the Marionette’s every move.

Be sure to stop by and meet the Giant Marionette Stickperson at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire on Oct.5. Don’t forget to bring your friends, either! We want to see this stickperson dance.

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

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!

__________________________

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.

389874_3763277436330_1987621385_n

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.

DSC_0844v2

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.