Bay Area Maker Faire has come and gone, and here’s what we saw and liked.  We set up camp in the dark room of the Fiesta hall, and set up our interactive Draw on the Wheel and Photobooth displays as well as demonstrations of our other lights.  We all got a chance to take breaks to check out the rest of the show.  Here are some of our photos and vines, as well as media from other sources.  What a delightful event!

view from our booth at Maker Faire Bay Area 2016

2016 Maker Faire Highlights

Life-Size Mousetrap

John’s favorite exhibit was the life-size mousetrap.

The world’s largest Mousetrap board game uses the tools of wonder and excitement to plant the seeds of curiosity with a 25 ton…Rube Goldberg machine !


The scale at which they’ve recreated the classic game is amazing.

Drone Racing

“This was the one section of Maker Faire 2016 that made my jaw drop the most.”  Flying a quadcopter looks hard, racing one seems so much more impressive.  From FPV Racing’s website:

Pilots [flew] head-to-head through a custom racetrack straight out of the future – made with with lasers, special efx, interactive tricks and power-up’s, it’s […] racing like never seen before.  Three full days of FPV racing action, including several special events, including a sponsored “GoPro” race and a brand new class – Outlaw Micro’s – sub 250 gram FPV racing drones!

The race track really did look like it was from the future.  Amazing skill and a treat to watch.

Circuit Playground

John really liked the Circuit Playground from Adafruit.

Circuit Playground

Circuit Playground

With unsurpassed ease-of-use and incredible elements of flexibility and functionality, the Circuit Playground is the ultimate tool to learn and perfect electronic system design creating future hardware and software experts. With almost every type of electronic sensor (temperature, sound, light, motion), buttons, switches and 10 multi-color bright LEDs, the Circuit Playground truly is the Swiss Army Knife of electronic design.

The Circuit Playground is based off of the popular ATmega32u4 MCU so you can use the standard Arduino IDE to code and program the platform. It also has an extremely flexible powering scheme so you can use USB power, a AAA battery pack, or even a Lipoly battery. Another incredible feature is simplicity of expansion. Around the circular design you will find pads that are alligator clip friendly. There simply is no easier way to clip and design with additional circuitry.

It’s an easy way to work with embedded hardware at an affordable price.  Very cool.


Giant Soap Bubbles

These giant soap bubbles were a huge hit with the kids.  Brian Lawrence is the creator of this delightful exhibit:

See giant soap bubbles and bubbles of all kinds. Learn about the science behind the “magic” of soap bubbles. Make your own bubble wand.   We use State-of-the-Art bubble wands and juices, made from stuff we find around. And it’s all open source.

Brian Lawrence is a world renown bubble artist. Brian is moderator of SoapBubbleFanciers on Yahoogroups, the premier online forum on soap bubbles.


Unnecessarily High Fives

This one was lots of fun as well.  High fives at a bunch of different levels, with many being unnecessarily high.

The Unnecessarily High Five is the ultimate high-five experience! This interactive art piece encourages participants of all ages to try and give the highest five that they can. Built from wood, conduit and mannequin parts.
The Unnecessarily High Five was conceived one late summer night in a dusty garage by a group of irresponsible dads in Alameda: Jason, the designer; Tony, the builder; and Hans, the engineer.

Game of Drones – Drone Wars

Like Battlebots, but including the Z-direction.  The drones are made to be bombproof, except for their propellers.  They describe their combat as “fight club for quadcopters”.  Check out the Game of Drones website.


Weeding robot

One neat thing one of our staff saw during a visit to Sweden was a number of robotic lawnmowers.   This weeding robot, made by Franklin Robotics, has a similar task.  It rolls around until its sensor detects a weed, and then a string trimmer (weed eater? weed whacker?)

Ritual Coffee

Ritual Coffee is a perennial favorite, with their Sputnik trailer.  This year, they brought along the farmer of the coffee that they served!

ritual coffee's sputnik at maker faire 2016

Häagen Dazs

They gave out a lot of ice cream.  So much ice cream.  How much?  22,000 cups the first day.

Haagen Dazs at Maker Faire 2016

Walabot depth sensor

See through walls with the Walabot 3D sensor. Whoa.  It’s a device that attaches to your Android phone, and communicates using the data port at the bottom.  It’s pretty low-res, but the demo had some neat applications – determine the location and diameter of pipes behind drywall, or check up on your kid in the next room.  You could “see” a hand through a wall, which is quite neat.walabot 3d sensor

“Walabot instantly turns a smartphone into a powerful 3D-imaging system at your fingertips. Our
advanced technology lets people see all kinds of things hidden in the world around them, adding yet
another dimension to the way people use smart devices today,” said Raviv Melamed, CEO and cofounder,
Vayyar Imaging. “Walabot makes highly sophisticated imaging technology approachable,
affordable and usable for everyone. It can help the blind avoid obstacles, sense – and alert you – if your
mother or father has fallen in the shower, help your robot become autonomous, and much more. We
can’t wait to see what other kinds of applications makers and curious inventors around the world will
create for Walabot.”

Moldable concrete

Ok, we were a little surprised when Aaron came back from a break with a giant tub of concrete powder.  But the applications of this moldable concrete are really neat.  Instead of a sloppy goop, it holds up like clay, so that you can shape it into all types of really interesting forms.  Like a succulent planter:

Moldable concrete - shapecrete

ShapeCrete™ mix is an easy-to-use, high performance, shape-able concrete that can be
rolled and molded, pushed and poured — into any shape imaginable.

Just add water and get clay-like concrete to create everything from garden objects and home decor to crafts and everyday repairs. It’s fun and versatile, like clay, yet becomes rock-hard and durable in about 24 hours without oven-baking or kiln-firing. Imagine that.

It’s pretty simple, just about anything you can imagine, you can make with ShapeCrete.
Play with ShapeCrete and you’re going to surprise yourself…every time.

Death Defying Pedal Car Figure 8 Racing

Silly vehicles racing around a figure 8 made of hay bales: very awesome to watch.  All by Fun Bike Unicorn Club.

Fun Bike Unicorn Club (FBUC) was formed in 2010 as a loose collective of whimsical builders, inventors, artists and rabble-rousers who happen to love bikes and unicorns!

We are a sophisticated group of driven individuals with plenty of tools and a sense of adventure who enjoy a crowd of fun people to play with.


Transformer vehicle

Project J-Deite is a REAL TRANSFORMER ROBOT.  I don’t even know what else to say about it.  Absolutely amazing to see this.

Unusual Cards

Ever need a card of a solar-powered crocodile on the moon?  A giant jello cake in a national park?  Unusual Cards – they’ve got you covered.

Unusual Cards at Maker Faire 2016

Solar Powered Crocodile

Solar Powered Crocodile



Flipbookit had a bunch of demos of their flip books.  You send them a 24-frame file, and they send you a kit so that you can put together your very own flipbook.  The winding knob makes it a lot of fun.  Here’s a video of me turning the flip book into an animation:


The original makers behind flipbookit are Wendy Marvel and Mark Rosen:

Kinetic artists Mark Rosen and Wendy Marvel have widely exhibited their series of original motorized flipbooks, which are based on the motion studies of Edweard Muybridge. In addition to exhibiting at the 2011 San Mateo and 2012 NYC Maker Faires, the original series was shown at the Kinetica Art Faire in London in March 2013. The flipbooks were also featured in the January 2013 issue of MAKE Magazine and in the February issue of WIRED Magazine.

Thanks for reading!

Our Maker Faire was a busy but incredibly fun experience.  Thanks if you stopped by our booth, and thank you to the rest of the makers for putting together such amazing products and demonstrations.