Beach-cleaning robots, wearable technology, 3-D printing: A look inside this year’s Maker Faire in the Glebe

October 13, 2016 | by glebeadmin
Check out this impressive selfie machine at this weekend's Maker Faire

Check out this impressive selfie machine at this weekend’s Maker Faire

A robot that can clean up the beach.

A medical incubator that can save a child in a developing country.

Wearable technology, digital whack – a – mole.

These are just a few things curious minds will stumble upon at this year’s Maker Faire, as more than 100 inventors in the area will invade the Aberdeen Pavilion Saturday and Sunday for a DIY showcase featuring everything from mini robots and drones to Daft Punk Helmets, and even software to build your own escape room.

And part of what’s so great about the Maker Faire is that it’s highly interactive. You won’t find any “Do Not Touch” signs or finger smudge security guards in front of any displays, in fact, you’ll find the opposite attitude at the event.

“It’s definitely about sharing and discussing ideas,” says Maker Faire Producer Remco Volmer.

“The event is meant for the makers to invite people up to ask questions, touch things, feel things and understand how things work. We don’t want the makers just sitting in a both, nodding politely as people stroll by. These are not presentations.”

Maker Faire began as a small idea six years ago at Arts Court. That year, just 20 makers showed up. Just over 5 years later, that number has spiked to more than 120 makers who will show up with their jaw-dropping creations this weekend in the Glebe.

It’s a clear sign that Ottawa has got the creative juices flowing, and Volmer isn’t quite sure what came first, the chicken, or the egg.

“I am not sure if people were already doing it and they now have a vehicle to express their creations, or if they are now inspired by what they are seeing,” he says.

It’s likely a bit of both.

Volmer adds that there is a social impact trend he is starting to see in the maker world right now that is taking over. The makers who used to build robots to clean their own room, or get them a beer from the fridge have taken things a step further – robots that will clean beaches and parks, affordable DIY prosthetic arms and medical equipment that can be printed from a 3-D printer and shared with developing communities around the world.

This is a device that lets one experience the tactile world with their nose in 3D.

This is a device that lets one experience the tactile world with their nose in 3D.

“A lot of makers are building their creations not as commercial products, but as an impact thing,” he says, adding that the maker mindset is all about “sharing,” and that 3-D printing plans, material lists and instructions are all available for anyone to try their hand at making.

“It opens it up to any one. You can make your own prosthetic arm, make your own cleaning robot, but not only for your house, but parks and beaches too. For us, we are more interested in the social impact, rather than economical gains.”

The Maker Faire runs Saturday and Sunday at the Aberdeen Pavilion. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and kids under 12 are free. Click here for tickets.

There always tons of events happening in the Glebe every weekend. Check out our events calendar here for more Glebe happenings.