Thing One and I just got back from the Ann Arbor (mini) Maker’s Faire, an event for DIY technologists, whose bible is the quarterly journal Make. Twenty five booths displayed projects as diverse as screen printing and home-made computer-controlled tooling machines. There were computer controlled musical instruments, laser light shows, ham radio, vortex cannons (and pistols and rifles), book binding demonstrations, and lots of robots. An especially nice touch was the booth where kids were taught to solder a small LED kit.
My favorite item was the Nixie Vacuum tube clock, shown in the photo above. It’s beautiful and elegant, and I desperately want one. You can get them either assembled or as a kit.
Officials of the Faire likely will correct me, but my guess is that five hundred or so guests passed through the doors in the hours we were there. That’s a very good number, considering the decided lack of publicity, and a last-minute change of venue. It seemed successful, so hopes are high for a bigger, better Faire next year. Ann Arbor is full of people inspired by technology and art.
While there, I also learned of a very worthwhile project: i3 Detroit. i3 stands for Imagine, Innovate and Inspire. The group’s goal is to create “a collaborative environment for people to explore the balance between technology, art and culture. We feel the best way to create this environment is to bring like mind people together that share a common passion for technology, art and culture.” If Michigan will ever shed the image of a dying, rustbelt state, it’ll be through the efforts of people like this: the Henry Fords and Ransom Olds of the 21st Century.
You can see more photos in my Flickr gallery.