Hard to believe - but somehow, until today, we had never made it to Maker Faire: the incredible two-day festival of delirious DIY-engineering-crafting-creativity that happens every year a short 30 minute drive from our home in Palo Alto.
This year, our friend Christopher invited us to help at his booth: LEDlabs makes an iOS app that drives LED displays - using anything from live video, to shadow puppetry, to photos of the world's youngest climate scientist:
We had been warned in advance that Maker Faire was huge, and crowded, and overwhelming. It was all true. We decided early on to treat it like New York City: to accept that we'd never be able to see it all, and that whatever we saw would probably be pretty cool. Overall, the approach seemed to work.
I got really inspired at a talk by designer/builder/educator Emily Pilloton, of Project H. She shared several projects in which she had worked with teenagers to design and build meaningful, useful structures for their communities - building not only community resources but also resilience and self-esteem. SO COOL!
Maker Faire can be overwhelming - the noise, the crowds, the lights, the constant stimulation. But towards the end of the afternoon, I found the perfect antidote at the SJSU interactive media booth: a biofeedback station that tracks your brainwaves, and allows you to control images of rocks on a screen by making your mind clear and focused. Who knew it would be possible to meditate right next to a Tesla coil powered by the sound of grinding guitars? And that it would feel so great?