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 scan the screen for dangerous asteroids and shoot or avoid them before a collision. He admits that his code is better at playing the game than he is. Check out both watches:
Another glaring example of how cheap microprocessors have become was the table dedicated to BlinkM, the smart LED. Each BlinkM is essentially an RGB (red, green, blue) LED with a microcontroller on the back. That means that you can easily adjust the color, hue and brightness of each BlinkM without using larger or more complicated microprocessors in your DIY projects. Tod Kurt showed off some nice BlinkM demos at the booth: