You’re Never Too Young for a Sonic Screwdriver
All makers are dreamers. But not all dreamers are makers. Makers don’t only dream, they also learn, discover, invent, fabricate, and — often with great enthusiasm — share not only what they’ve built but what they’ve learned along the way.
I found all of this and more on display this weekend at the 5th annual Kansas City Maker Faire, filling every imaginable space — and then some — at KC’s historic Union Station.
Lots of makers are inspired by science fiction, and enjoy making the fiction come alive, which explains not only the row of R2 droids, but also Doctor Who’s TARDIS (keeping company with and a shiny red Dalek, besides!), the convincing Iron Man suits stomping around the show floor, not to mention the wicked-looking, space venturing alien a la the Predator movie franchise. It also more than justifies the behind-the-scenes glimpse of movie-making magic on display.
The larger share of science and technology here is plenty real — and accessible, too. Robotics displays, droids, drones and other embedded systems mostly leverage inexpensive, credit-card-sized Raspberry Pi computers and Arduino controllers — while how-to sessions teach aspiring builders the essentials, from woodworking to soldering and welding.
The sheer enthusiasm and joy of tech on display is inspirational, and infectious, maybe most for the youngest makers among us, who — entranced by competing robots, whirling 3D printers, or pint-sized motorsports — might themselves get switched on to the possibilities of science, technology, engineering and math.
Truth be told, it’s pretty insipirational for some of us big kids, too. So hand me that soldering iron, already…