This past weekend, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and HackPittsburgh hosted the second annual Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire, showcasing makers from the Southwestern Pennsylvania region. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with what makes someone a maker, you’re not alone. A maker is any person who devotes creativity, energy, and time to simply creating. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a beginner’s crochet project or an expertly-crafted electric bike — you’re a maker!
Anyhow, the Faire was a really interesting variety of booths and displays, highlighting a wide spectrum of maker skills. I have to say, though, that the coolest part of the Faire experience was seeing that a number of the finished products were pretty complex, but they featured relatively simple concepts. I was surprised to discover that I could really understand what was going on in the displays, even though I have zero experience in robotics, mechanics, or electronics. The Faire made maker-hood very approachable, entertaining, and comfortable even for newbies like myself.
My favorite example of the simplicity of the maker products centers on the circuit displays. On one end of the Faire, visitors of all ages could be found fiddling with different motors, switches, potentiometers, battery packs, LEDs, and alligator clips to devise various circuit pathways.
The exact same concepts that were on display in that interactive display were also employed in a slightly more elaborate set-up in the souped-up Big Wheels car that participated in the day’s racing events.
Overall, the Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire showed me that makers come from all walks of life and all ages. There are countless ways to be considered a maker! In fact, later this week, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to recreate one of the maker projects from this weekend’s Faire. Stay tuned!