Tag Results for Maker Faire 2008 (7)

  1. The Babbage Engine: More family fun Silicon Valley style

    Ahh sunny California, where weekends are for beach picnics and hikes among the redwoods and rides on cable cars fighting crowds to see strange mechanical and electronic contraptions in operation. The first weekend in May I packed my kids into the car and headed off to the Maker Faire in San Mateo, where, after an hour sitting in traffic behind other geek families, we repeatedly watched a life-sized recreation of the game of Mousetrap go through its paces. Last weekend the big draw was the opening of the Babbage Exhibit at the Computer History Museum in Mountain …

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  2. Maker Faire Highlights: Good ol' Moore's Law at Work

    In contrast to projects that were throwbacks to the electronics of yesteryear, some Maker Faire gadgets would be impossible to build without increasingly cheap and small microprocessors. Take John Maushammer's booth, for example. Last year, he managed to shrink down the video game Pong to wristwatch-size. You don't play the game yourself; instead, the computer inside plays both sides, scoring a point for the right every minute, and a point for the left every hour. Now, armed with a more powerful microprocessor, John is working on a watch version of the arcade game Asteroids. He's programmed the tiny ship to …

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  3. Maker Faire Highlights: Mechanical Mathematics

    Probably the most complex mechanical contraption at Maker Faire was the Computer History Museum's model of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2. Babbage began working on the idea for a mechanical calculator based on the method of finite differences in 1846, but he never actually built the device. The museum showed off a scaled down, table-top model at Maker Faire and demonstrated how it works. If you're interested in the history of Charles Babbage and his work (both on the Difference …

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  4. Maker Faire Highlights: My Favorite Robots

    If there's one thing you can count on at Maker Faire, it's the presence of robots. They're everywhere in all shapes and sizes. Sure, it was impossible to miss the giant electric giraffe, but size isn't everything. Take Herbie the Mousebot (a robot kit from Solarbotics) - if you judged just by the number of delighted smiles and giggles coming from children's faces, this had to be the winner. The little robot has a light sensor that it uses to follow around a beam of light from a flashlight. It also has whisker and tail sensors that make …

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  5. Maker Faire Highlights: What's Old is New Again

    Maybe it's due to the rapid pace of technological development, but for some reason, nothing seems to bring a smile to a geek's face quite like antiquated electronics. If you have a soft spot for such relics, Maker Faire was a good place to be. Faire-goers constantly stopped by our booth to marvel at Keith Bayern's transistor clock, the winner of IEEE Spectrum's digital clock contest. Completely devoid of integrated circuits, Bayern's clock uses nearly 200 transistors and took him nearly two years to design and build. The finished product, in addition to keeping time, is a beautiful piece …

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  6. Maker Faire Highlights: Making Music the Hard Way

    I just got back from Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, a two-day event where hackers, modders, makers, and inventors (I could go on) converged to show off their homemade projects. Inside the main expo hall, DIY synthesizers filled the air with sound - all sorts of blips, bleeps, and buzzes. But of all the musical projects, there were two that really caught my eye (and ear). The Guitar Zeros are just what they sound like: a real band with zero guitars. Instead, they play using modified controllers from the video game Guitar Hero. The game itself is beyond popular …

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