Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013

Before the event:

I had a lot of respect for the organizers of Ingenuity Fest since I started dating my lovely wife a few years ago. I have some fond memories of spending time at Ingenuity Fest because of the types of activities and artists the festival promotes.

The organizers of the event expressed a desire in 2013 to hold a Mini-Maker Faire in Cleveland, and that allowed me to – for a lack of a better word – get really excited, in fact enough to assist them in any which way I could. Here’s James Krouse the Director of Programming describing the event:

I picked up the phone and spoke with James Krouse briefly a few months before the event. I was glad I called.

Since the time I bought my DSLR camera, I had been video taping artists like Johnny and the Apple Stompers (JATAS), technical talks, SYN/HAK speakers and everything I found interesting and of educational value and through those activities I had come in contact with a lot of cool people doing a lot of cool things. Some of them had to belong at the Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire, this I knew from the get-go.

Matt Beebe and James Krouse

One such talent is Matt Beebe, of King Midget Motors. A musician, as well as a fabricator of a kit car from a bygone era, Matt is a great example of a Maker in North-east Ohio who manages to help his family sustain the business and dream about much greater things in the future.

I was able to network Matt and James. As you will read in a bit, it became one of the most memorable experiences for a lot of attendees, me as well as James included.

Lauren Egts and Cleveland Game Developers

I am a member of Akron Linux Users Group (ALUG) as well as the Cleveland Game Developers Group.

Just before the Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire, ALUG had a meeting where my friend Dave Egts mentioned that his daughter Lauren created a simple game using MIT’s Scratch programming language.

As soon as I heard about it, I advised Dave to consider taking Lauren to demo her game along side Cleveland Game Developers at the Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire. As you will read in a bit, it became a memorable moment for Dave’s family.

G and James Krouse

I had bought the Cubelets kit a while back. Since then, I shared the kit at the Akron Digital Group of which I am a member as well. The joy of cubelets is that you don’t need to be a programmer, know electronics or any of that. Cubelets are small blocks that when put together create a robot. The kit I have came with 20 such blocks each with their own personalities. They are magnetically attached, and have one block that powers the entire system. A few blocks have wheels on them and enable the final robot to be able to move.

I spoke with James about me representing Modular Robotics at the Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire, and he was more than happy to arrange a table for this!

During the event:

I started my day by grabbing a quick breakfast at Burger King. Next, was a stop at SYN/HAK to car pool with Trever and Xander so we could reuse our parking voucher at the parking garage. The organizers of the event requested that we do so out of courtesy to other exhibitors. After all parking is a problem in big cities.

We arrived in Cleveland on time, circled around the library a few times till we finally located the garage, parked and saw ourselves into the library. We got a bit late in the process.

Here’s the event’s schedule that day in PNG format:

Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 Schedule Page One
Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 Schedule Page One
Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 Schedule Page Two
Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 Schedule Page Two
Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 Schedule Page Three
Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 Schedule Page Three
Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 Schedule Page Four
Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 Schedule Page Four

Here’s the same schedule in PDF format:

Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 Schedule PDF

I knew Cubelets was allocated room on Level 3 of the library, so went straight up there and setup my laptop and monitor and the kit of 20 cubelets for attendees to enjoy. I stayed on floor 3 till noon, and then moved to the lower level (near the King Midget yellow car) as I promised Matt Beebe that I will be video taping his talk; the auditorium I learned was at the same level.

Before Matt’s talk began, I complained to the Audio-Video person in charge about having the ability to video tape all 8 talks that afternoon, but not taping them anyway for the Cleveland Public Library and the public at large. I learned no one requested this valuable service. Next year, I’ll have to convince Ingenuity Cleveland as well as the next host of the event to factor that into their programming.

Shortly afterward, Great Grandpa Beebe played some music on the in-house piano. Check it out here:

Finally time came for Matt Beebe to deliver his talk:

After the talk there was a brief Q&A as well:

Here’s a few photos of his car, which I learned the organizers insisted be displayed at the lower level. A mystery remains still as to how they managed to get inside the library! When you meet James next, that could be a great topic of discussion!

King Midget Motors Car
King Midget Motors Car
King Midget Motors Car
King Midget Motors Car
King Midget Motors Car
King Midget Motors Car
King Midget Motors Car
King Midget Motors Car
King Midget Motors Car
King Midget Motors Car

After Matt’s talk, I spent my time explaining attendees about Cubelets as well as SYN/HAK. It was particularly delightful to see the faces of children light up when they saw me describe which blocks when put together form a lighthouse; or which blocks when put together become a robot that chases your hand. I had read earlier some comments from CEO of Modular Robotics – Eric Schweikardt that during a similar Maker Faire from 2011, he couldn’t help but notice that the kids would get so excited about Cubelets that they would actually start moving the table towards the exhibitors! Well folks, I can now tell you first hand that is what I experienced too!

Xander from SYN/HAK shows Cubelets at Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013
Xander from SYN/HAK shows Cubelets at Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013
Trever from SYN/HAK peeks at a 3D Printer (Image Credit: Frank Lanza Photography)
Trever from SYN/HAK peeks at a 3D Printer (Image Credit: Frank Lanza Photography)

Later in the afternoon, I got to meet with other exhibitors and network.

Margarita with her OSLOOM
Margarita with her OSLOOM
OSLOOM at the Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013
OSLOOM at the Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013
Sudhir demonstrates aquaponics at Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013
Sudhir demonstrates aquaponics at Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013
Sudhir demonstrates aquaponics at Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013
Sudhir demonstrates aquaponics at Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013

I didn’t know where Lauren was demo-ing her game, but wanted to video tape her demo as well. Here she is describing her game to the camera:

Right across from Lauren, my friend Jarryd was sharing a game he re-created. I learned that this was the very first video game ever created, many years before Pong got famous. See Jarryd describe the nostalgia first hand:

Here’s what Tennis for Two, his replica’s photo:

First video game ever - Tennis for Two replica by Jarryd Huntley
First video game ever – Tennis for Two replica by Jarryd Huntley

The event was over slightly before 6pm. We packed our stuff and were on the way home back to Akron.

I’d like to publicly thank all the sponsors below for their support which made Cleveland Mini-Maker Faire 2013 a success!:

  • Cleveland Public Library
  • MAKE Magazine
  • Scene Magazine
  • NESCO Resources
  • element14
  • The George Gund Foundation
  • Cleveland Foundation
  • Ohio Arts Council
  • Art Works
  • All the makers and exhibitors at the event
  • All the staff members handling the 3D Printers at the Cleveland Public Library

After the event:

I don’t know why, but my voice took a beating. I had a very good time at the event, and am excited to help James with more activities next year. Its been a satisfying experience sharing my Cubelets Kit with the attendees and educating them about robot construction, as well as talk to attendees about hackerspaces and their place in society. Hopefully in coming months, SYN/HAK will organize a similar event in Akron area too!

In the meantime, relive the event by watching a video I wish I had taped.

davelhs03 on youtube does justice to covering the event’s highlights:

References:

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