We took the Nerd Quiz at Nerd Nite last Thursday on the Frying Pan. See these ladies and a lot more tomorrow at Submerge! NYC Marine Festival, 11 – 3pm, Pier 26. 

Maker Faire 2012., a set on Flickr.Photo’s by Andrew Kelly
Maker Faire 2012. Day 1.Maker Faire 2012. Day 1.Maker Faire 2012. Day 1.Maker Faire 2012. Day 1.

Maker Faire 2012., a set on Flickr.

Photo’s by Andrew Kelly

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

We didn’t know exactly what to expect on our way to Queens, NY for the 2011 World Maker Faire NY, but we did knew that it was going to be awesome! We had spent some time on the Maker Faire website, which is chock full of videos of people making all sorts of things. The emphasis is on science and technology, and the flashy gadgetry drew in Matt and The Boy like moths to flame.

As the world’s largest DIY festival, it’s a celebration of making “stuff” with your bare hands, with an emphasis on inventing entirely new stuff, or finding a better way to create the stuff already out there! …

Ah…Maker Faire moments…

Mix it up with the Wheelchair DJ

RAMPS is a wheelchair DJ interface - the left wheel fades between tracks while the right wheel scratches the music. Users bring their existing wheelchair skills to the show, RAMPS detects the speed and direction of each wheel. The wheelchair becomes an interface to music, games and new computer interactions.

The maker, John Schimmel, is also heavily involved with NYSCI’s upcoming Human+ exhibition, and is developing an app with crowd-sourced data about in-depth accessibility features of places in our neighborhoods.

Check out the Wheelchair DJ this weekend at World Maker Faire, NYC.

Colorful Making

From post-it notes and highlighter pens, to color-coded staff calendars, Nancy Schenk utilizes color to help organize her tasks as executive assistant to our president and CEO, Margaret Honey. At night, Nancy uses color in a more creative way – to create her traditional rug hooking projects.

For the past six years, Nancy has been creating rugs of various sizes using rug hooking, a traditional craft where rugs are made by pulling fabric, ribbons or yarn through a base such as burlap. One of the most important steps in the process is choosing the fabric to be used in the rug.

“You don’t know how the colors and patterns are going to turn out in the end,” said Nancy. “You can guess what it will look like, but until you actually work on the rug, you don’t really know. That’s one of the things I like about rug hooking.”

Nancy will display about a half dozen of her rug creations at this year’s World Maker Faire, a two-day event celebrating creativity and innovation in everything from knitting to robotics. Nancy’s rug hooking projects will be on display at our Science Technology Library and will include two rugs made from patterns that she designed herself.

World Maker Faire takes place at NYSCI on September 17 and 18. If you’re the forgetful type, write the date on a yellow post-it note and stick it on your fridge!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … a man walking around with metal wings

Most kids dream of being a superhero when they grow up. Adiel Fernandez, science instructor at NYSCI, gets to be one for two days this month.

Or at least he’ll look like one, thanks to his project Metal Wings, which he built for this year’s World Maker Faire. Inspired by X-Men superhero Archangel, the aircraft-grade aluminum wings have a wingspan of 12 feet and are mechanically controlled by motors. These motors, or more technically “servos”, will be connected to special gloves he has created that will allow him to open and close the multiple segments of the wings just by moving his fingers, giving the illusion that the wings are moving on their own. The beating of the wings will also be linked to Adiel’s heartbeat, although that aspect of the project may not be ready in time for the Faire.

Adiel came up with the idea for the project about a year ago when his brother showed him photos from a comic book convention. “Archangel is such an interesting character,” said Adiel. “His wings are so unique and different from any other winged superhero or villain. I can’t believe no one has tried to put together a set of wings like his.”

Although he has been “making” since he was a small child (he often took his toys apart to see how they worked), the Metal Wings project included some relatively new territory for Adiel: microcontrollers and metalworking. But in true Maker spirit, he tackled the project anyways.

Check out Adiel’s wings along with projects from more than 500 other Makers (all superheroes in our book!) at this year’s World Maker Faire, which will be held at NYSCI on September 17 and 18.

Hooking Up at World Maker Faire

Not many people can say they’ve hooked up with the four elements, but NYSCI Librarian Rebecca Reitz is working towards doing just that.

Wielding only a crochet hook, Rebecca will use yarn, beads, seashells and other decorative items to create her fiber art piece EARTH.AIR.FIRE.WATER. The first part of the project will focus on Earth and will be displayed at World Maker Faire, a two-day festival celebrating the do-it-yourself movement.

Rebecca’s EARTH project was inspired by a recent vacation in the Adirondacks. Using yarn with various hues of greens and browns, and lots of improvisation (inventing the patterns as she crochets), she has created afghan squares of various Earth-themed subjects, which will be exhibited at World Maker Faire.

“I like reinterpreting the world in crochet – a medium I love,” said Rebecca. “People find a form of expression that best suits their character, and I found crochet.”

Since she was a teenager, Rebecca has been crocheting a variety of items including hats, scarves, blankets and even some molecule-inspired jewelry. At last year’s Faire, she presented three-dimensional, crocheted mushrooms attached to real pieces of wood. And NYSCI’s Science Technology Library displays some of her yarn-bombing work year-round.

To learn more about her art, hook up with Rebecca at World Maker Faire, which will be held at NYSCI on September 17 and 18.

Meet Karla: the gal behind NYSCI Village at World Maker Faire

Blow, Blow, Thou Maker Wind

At this year’s World Maker Faire, event organizers and Faire-goers alike will be hoping for warm days with sunny skies. But one Maker will be cheering on the wind.

Karl Szilagi, NYSCI exhibit technician, will be presenting his project, Listen to the Wind at this year’s Faire. Comprised of 30 kites of various sizes attached to one main line, Listen to the Wind showcases the sound a kite string makes when it’s under tension. The sound created by the kites will be amplified and transmitted to a pair of headphones, which will be available to Faire-goers. Karl hopes that his project inspires people to think more deeply about the seemingly simple act of flying a kite:

“I would like visitors to take away from the experience an understanding of how the humming of a kite string can reveal powerful forces at work that are often inaudible and otherwise invisible.”

Karl became interested in kites in the late 1980s after seeing several people flying kites high in the air in Central Park. He then started creating his own kites and has since built approximately 1,500 kites, although this is his first kite involving sound. 

So what exactly does a kite sound like? Find Karl at World Maker Faire to find out!