fw: BLOG

The Madness of Maker Faire

BY Jonathan Strickland / POSTED July 11, 2013
mf-arm-470x275 This wired up nightmare glove controls a gigantic robot arm — perfect for crushing.

This week’s episode of Fw:Thinking is all about invention, tinkering, hacking and making. Today, we consider it a hobby. But back when Ugh the Caveman needed to bring home the wooly mammoth bacon, being able to create and refine tools was a matter of survival. Necessity may well be the mother of invention but as it turns out it’s not actually a requirement for folks to get creative. Nowhere is that more evident than at a Maker Faire, the events where mad scientists, crazed artists and garage tinkerers get together to show off their work.

Take Fenrir, the fire-breathing wolf. No one outside of the Stark family needs this thing. And yet, someone has built it and it’s pretty amazing. Here’s a video of our good buddy Patrick Norton getting up close and personal with the monstrosity.

Then there’s Arc Attack, the performance group that uses Tesla coils to create music. I’ve seen these guys perform live at Dragon*Con and they are real crowd pleasers. Then again, when the musicians are wielding the power of lightning, it’s only good sense to clap.

And we also mentioned the giant robot arm that can crush huge, metal dumpsters. I think I need at least two of these for a little plan I’m working on. Let’s just say New Year’s Eve will be pretty spectacular if I can pull this off.

These projects and others like them really illustrate how creativity is a core human trait. There’s a special kind of joy that you experience when you make something, whether it’s a sweet gaming rig packed with powerful graphics processors or an amazing chopper. I think no matter what the future holds we’ll always find humans applying ingenuity and creativity to build amazing, unnecessary, ridiculously awesome projects.

You know. Like a car covered in singing fish.

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