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2016 Maker Faire Bay Area Highlights

Once a year I grab my media pass and head into the creative bliss that is Maker Faire! Here are some of the highlights from this year. You may notice that there are no 3D printers. This is because this particular creative technology was SUCH A highlight that I created a second post featuring my favorites of the many 3D printers and 3D printing tools that were being showcased during this event.

Highlights of the 2016 Bay Area Maker Faire

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Maker Faire Bay Area 2016 Highlights

Here are some of my favorite products and art exhibits from the 2016 Maker Faire in San Mateo! I divided my finds into three categories: educational tools and kits, hand crafts, and art + technology creations. There were a few products and creations that I adored that I did not feature here because they only had partially working sites or because their product is too early in the development phase. Hopefully I will be able to share them with you later this year once they get their product and/or website working!

Educational Tools and Kits at the 2016 Maker Faire

The MuddWatt harnesses electricity from the micro-organisms that live in mud! This is a pretty awesome STEM tool that is bound to capture kids’ attention. Use different soil samples and see which ones generate the most electricity!

Kamigami Robots are lightweight quick-build robots that kids can program through a drag-and-drop app. The robots are designed to move like real animals, and they come equipped with sensors. The robots can communicate with one another in order to compete and cooperate.

Tiny Circuits allow users to create tiny electronic projects using open source code

Tiny Circuits allow users to create tiny electronic projects using open source code. From mini arcades to watches, the possibilities are limited only by your own imagination! One of the other exhibitors I spoke with, nine-year-old Omkar, was using TinyCircuits technology to create O Watch kits for kids.

Hand Crafts at the 2016 Maker Faire

There are dedicated hand crafting stations for every year at Maker Faire. I passed welding stations, soap making stations, and stamp carving stations, as well as simpler activities like decorate a cardboard shield. Most of these activities were free with admission, but some (including soap making) came at an additional charge. Companies that create craft kits come to showcase their wares. I’m having a bit of buyer’s remorse over skipping the Woolbuddy kits for the second year in a row. Needle felting is a skill the kids and I are working on, and they had a great discount on their kits this year.

Can you believe that these flowers were made using masking tape? Check out the book and learn how to create with tape in ways you never imagined possible.

Can you believe that these flowers were created using masking tape? Check out more incredible tape creations at the Tapigami site. They sell a book through their online store so that you can learn how to create your own amazing tape art.

Fun Duct Tape creations from Sophie's World

Sophie’s World was a fun discovery for me at Maker Faire this year. This site is full of fun craft ideas for kids! The site creator also has a great book out that is all about creating with Duct tape called Sticky Fingers.

Art + Technology at the 2016 Maker Faire

Maker Faire is home to some incredible art + technology projects! Here are two of my favorites. I will be sharing more art + technology creations in the form of 3D printing projects in Monday’s post!

laser printed cardboard Eiffel tower created using Voccell

Can you believe that this Eiffel Tower is made out of cardboard? The Voccell laser cutter integrates with most design software (professional and open source) to create intricate projects using materials ranging from cardboard to granite. This company’s exhibit included a DIY speaker (see it behind the Eiffel tower in this photo?), a topographical map of the San Francisco Bay, and etched marble.

You can turn plywood into just about anything with Ply90!

You can turn plywood into just about anything using Ply90 brackets! I love that this product makes furniture building accessible to just about anyone.

Have you ever been to a Maker Faire? Which of these products was your favorite?

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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

8 thoughts on “2016 Maker Faire Bay Area Highlights”

  1. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    We opted out this year – it was so incredibly busy last year that I was about to have a full sensory meltdown :) We loved tapigami last year, and my husband even tried to make them, but it’s harder than it looks!

    1. I went to the first two hours of the Friday session. It was much calmer, but some of the booths were not open yet and demos/speakers were not running. I am guessing you would still have a better experience missing a few booths with many fewer people in attendance.

  2. Ok I just loved everything in your first section. I always struggle with buying the electronic kits because they can so easily be gimicky, and I’ve had very mixed results with them.

    They have one in Austin, but it’s a big huge media circus, and it’s driving into Austin….. Which is rarely fun.

    1. It’s a pretty big circus here. I got there right at opening during the Friday preview and only stayed a couple hours (would have loved to stay longer, but couldn’t). There is a lot more going on on Saturday and Sunday, but it is also a zoo – and I had family commitments.

  3. Elisa | blissful E

    Loved the wall desk on Ply90’s site. Everything you showcased is pretty amazing.

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