Maker Faire Bay Area is a really great opportunity to show off the interactive technology that we’ve been working on.  It’s also a trill to see and hear about new ideas from attendees and Maker exhibits.

Here’s what caught our attention:

TapGlo Ping Pong

We’re a little biased because they were our booth neighbors, but what a cool take on the ping pong game.  This special light-up table can sense where a ball lands and can change the color of squares accordingly.  You can then play games where you try to hit the ball onto certain areas of your opponent’s side of the table.  A funny side effect was that dozens of ping pong balls ended up in our booth, which we were happy to pass back over.  This was a hit with the crowd too.  We wish we had a chance to play more, but the lines were too long!

Check out their website.

Ritual Coffee

Maker Faire 2018: Ritual Coffee

Ritual is here every year with their fabulous Sputnik coffee trailer, keeping us caffeinated during our long days at the show.  Drip, cold brew, lattes, and espresso all from one of the best coffee roasters out there.

Furrion Exo-Bionics Mech

Maker Faire 2018: The Furrion Mech

Totally didn’t expect to see anything so crazy this year.  The human pilot on this Furrion mech gave walking a go for the first time on asphalt.  We watched it lurch forward with hesitant, massive, and suspense-filled baby steps.  The mech mirrors movement of the human pilot, so there’s a huge learning process involved, which we had the opportunity to view real-time.

LED Luminescent Grand Piano

Robot dance party at #MakerFaire2018

A post shared by #LEDpiano (@luminescentgrand) on

The this light-art piano’s coolness was only exceeded by the talent of the piano players.  It was a pleasure to hear your music, William!  Thank you for Luminescent Grand!

Rabid Transit

Steampunk meets singed eyebrows.  Loud and fire-y and very unique.

Rock the Bike

A pedal-powered stage.  All of the power generated from Rock the Bike’s special bikes is transferred to the stage to keep the music coming!

Unusual Cards

Maker Faire 2018 - Unusual Cards

Pizza Jesus.  It’s always a pleasure to see these Unusual Cards.

Chronos Camera

Maker Faire 2018 - Chronos high-speed camera

The Chronos camera by Kron Technologies represents ultra-high speed photorgraphy made available to normal folks who can’t spend $18k on a camera.  They stopped by our booth and gave us a live demo of our Monkey Light Pro in slowmo.  Very cool.

Burn Hot Sauce

Aaron went by the Burn Hot Sauce booth, and seems really enthusiastic about their variety of organic, fermented hot sauces. He bought three different kinds and says his favorite is the Bulgarian Carrot Pepper sauce, but the Serrano and Golden Cayenne are also pretty great. The Agave spirit barrel-aged, fermented sauce apparently had a “really interesting flavor”, and he’ll probably check out their chili powders and pickles at some point.

Thanks for a great show!

It was a pleasure seeing all these other makers in action.  Until next year!

A little different

Maker Faire 2018 was a different experience this year. In the past, the dark room was set up in the larger Fiesta hall.  This year, we were located in Redwood hall.  It’s quite a bit smaller.  The vibe was a little different, but we had a grand time as usual with our interactive exhibits: The Selfie Bike, The Speed Bike, and Draw on the Wheel.

We felt a little caged in with the chain-link, but got along just fine at our booth.  The show got off to a somewhat humorous start when the electrical contractor cut the overhead lights and power.  No big deal though.  Fifteen minutes later, we were back in business.

Selfie Bike

Our Selfie bike was powered by one Monkey Light Pro and a bike on a trainer, and an implementation of our API for the Monkey Light Pro.  We transferred photos from an iPad to a Macbook for image processing and then sent the images over to the Monkey Light Pro via Bluetooth.  We took photos of volunteers in the crowd, and then they got the unique opportunity to see their face lit up on a bike wheel in full-color LEDs.

Our “normal” bike lights

We also put our M204, M210, and M232 on our wheel spinners for full display.  We brought along our new USB rechargeable battery pack, which was funded via Kickstarter, and is now a reality thanks to Kickstarter backers.  We also displayed our newest models, the M204R, M210R, and M232R.

Draw on the wheel

Our Draw on the Wheel exhibit is a great one for kids: They can draw their own art on a paper wheel, and once again, using our API, we put their image into a spinning bike wheel.  We scan the image with a standard flatbed scanner, then do some image processing, and then run a Perl script to send images up to the wheel.

Speed bike

Maker Faire 2018: Speed Bike

Our newest exhibit was the speed bike, which featured the first public debut of a prototype A15 light.  This is one of the lights from our most recent Kickstarter, and is still in its development.  The light turns on automatically when the wheel spins, and can change colors depending on how fast you are riding.  While their kids were pedaling, some parents joked about this being the only way to get them some exercise!  These lights are not available yet.  When they are, Kickstarter backers will get first dibs, and then we’ll make it available to the general public.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks for visiting our booth, if you were able!  It’s always great to share our experience with our lights and to share some good conversation with you all!

The MonkeyLectric Selfie Bike in action!

The Selfie Bike in action!

Another Maker Faire is in the books.   If you stopped by, thank you!

Our booth

This year, we showed off our Selfie Bike: a bikey take on a photobooth.  We took photos with an iPad and beamed them to a Monkey Light Pro on our bike wheel.  (Shout-out to Detroit bikes for the gorgeous Made-in-the-USA bike!)  We also brought back our crowd favorite, Draw on the Wheel.   It’s a fun, interactive exhibit for children (and adults!) where we scan their drawings and broadcast them on a wheel for everyone in the exhibition hall to see.

What Maker Faire visitors saw

What Maker Faire visitors saw

We also had on display our M232, M210 and M204, as well as prototypes for our new, automatic A10 A15 and A30s that we Kickstarted last fall.

Another view of the Selfie Bike wheel

Another view of the Selfie Bike wheel

The Amelia Mouse Piano

We got a chance to wander about and see a lot of other DIY projects that Makers were showing off.  The Amelia Mouse Piano by Ramon Yvarra was a smart piano with a giant display that translated MIDI sequences to real songs and key strikes, complete with a giant LCD screen for visualization.

The Amelia Mouse Piano with Ramon YvarraThe Amelia Mouse Piano with Ramon Yvarra

An LED Piano: The Luminescent Grand

William Jerome and Zach Vorhies made this fully interactive LED grand piano.  It’s a beautifully responsive, musical light show.

Ephemeral Sand Painting Poetry

A serial Maker, Gijs Van Bon brought a new project to this year’s Faire.   Called Minuted, his device prints poetry on sand on a slow-moving belt.  The sand eventually falls into a pile, converting the temporary message into a pile of black and white sand.

Minuted Ephemeral Sand Poetry by Gijs Van Bon

Minuted Ephemeral Sand Poetry by Gijs Van Bon

Minuted Ephemeral Sand Poetry by Gijs Van Bon

Minuted Ephemeral Sand Poetry by Gijs Van Bon


It’s a remarkable device and a well-executed concept.

Robot Band

Tetsuji Katsuda made a merry band of charming robots who played songs on real instruments.

Watching Watchmaking

Amazing dexterity was on display at the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute booth.

We’d never seen a lathe so small make chess pieces so small.  It’s one thing to see a piece and appreciate the work that went into it, but watching it happen is on another level.

The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute - Working the lathe

The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute – Working the lathe

The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute - Tiny chess pieces!

The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute – Tiny chess pieces!



Unusual Cards

As always, we were happy to stop by the Unusual Cards booth!

Thanks for stopping by!

Many awesome folks stopped by our booth – thank you!  We were especially impressed by two folks from SCUL – a set of east-coast-based night riders who decided to fly out to San Francisco, buy bikes on craigslist, and then tour around California for a month through a series of long rides and bike camping.

We’re also thankful to Ritual Coffee for helping us stay caffeinated, our first taste of Mushroom Jerky from Far West Fungi, and the always fun, whimsical inventions of Steven M Johnson.





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.