High tech ‘Makers’ and ‘Innovators’ have me captivated, and for my third year in a row I toured the five pavilions at the Makers Faire in Rome . Why you may ask? Because it’s an opportunity to see new developments and understand how vast this land of Inventors is and the potential of the new technology. It’s astounding!
At risk of being repetitive I say for creativity Italians have it hands down, and the place was swarming with young, passionate, enthusiasts and smart designers eager to explain their new idea and keen to find support for funding the project, often via crowd funding. The Makers movement incorporates the idea of sharing knowledge, creating new, tinkering with the old and recycling to avoid waste, using the new technology at its best.
I headed directly to the ‘Life’ pavilion filled with new projects, particularly aimed at disabled. Too Wheels bowled me over – a wheelchair designed in a FAbLab inTurin with recycled bike wheels, pipes, plywood and instruction manual on how to DIY or buy the package…..accessible to anyone in the world!
The young Talking Hands designers won the first prize of €100,000 at the Fair which hopefully will get the project developed. A technological glove, that on the hands of a deaf person can translate sign language into voice to enable communication with people like us. The guys can be proud of themselves.
Or the Noon Care Talk project that allows our smartphone to communicate to our loved ones, who may not be super technological, on a simple Talk phone: sending reminders of pills to be taken AND confirmation, Dr’s appointments etc, with GPS location, direct contact and emergency call button so you always feel in touch.
Then there were various alternative energy projects for lighting using a plastic water bottle, solar energy powering old kerosene lamps (liter of light) to slick wind turbines.
A rush on the Smartphone 3D Printer- Ono….Oh No!!! and various other devices for cleaning and sterilising smartphone screens.
Not exactly essential in life and curious to see the presentation of the wiper being done by a robot!?
An unusual selection of new machines like the multidimensional electrical bike, 3D printed monuments that can show the weather, and lightweight sculptures reproduced by 3D scanning to create a mobile museum of important artworks.
And a superb array of artisan work in furnishings – Wally 3D printed lamp
cardboard stools and chipboard furniture
fashion design like the coffee bags by girls from Bologna – Re-Find of interlaced polylaminate coffee bean packaging
and digital fabrication and much more…….
I love it all; the creativity that sees no boundaries, the clever presentation, the smart use of lingo, the enthusiasm, the educational aspects, the philosophy behind it and the thousands of visitors of all ages looking on in awe at what can be made. Wow!
So if this has inspired you, you may need to update your toolkit and I highly recommend ifixit.com On my next order I need this Tshirt!
After all, I fixed my washing machine, brought my iPhone back to life after it finished in the washing machine and installed my new car radio….so I consider myself part of the Makers movement!