More impressions from the European version of the greatest “show and Tell on Earth”

Flipping out for Flip & click

A chubby kid with curly hair, maybe six years old, was strolling by our stand. Just tall enough to peer at all the hardware atop the tables, he studied everything with equal unblinking attention: the mikromedia boards with mini games, the gesture board, various click board examples…

Then the kid saw the Buggy, and he froze. The rest of the Faire blurred into the background. The humdrum of the crowds, the music which was blasting from a speaker built in someone’s backpack, the echoey Italian voice from the PA system announcing 3D-printing workshops, his mom standing behind him – everything disappeared, except the Buggy.

Then came the outburst. “Una machina! Una machina! Una Machina!” the kid yelled, flailing his arms about, jumping on his toes. We handed him the tablet with the remote control app and he hit full throttle before we were able to take the Buggy off the table, so the wheels made a mess out of our neatly stacked flyers.

Maker Faire, “the greatest Show and Tell on Earth” is full of moments like these. Adults have mini outbursts, same excitement, just more contained. You let out a “whoa”, and you do it many times throughout the day.

Like when you see the 12-meter tall BigDelta WASP 3D printer that can print “zero-mile houses” by using the surrounding earth as the filament.

3D printer

Or the lighting/lego installation on Google’s stand. A large surface of white legos with a configuration of portruding blocks which cast shadows to form an image. Illuminated from one angle, the shadows paint a Yoda, switch the lights, the same configuration of blocks casts shadows to form a Darth Vader.

Vader and Yoda at Google

Then there’s the parachute simulator rig. They strap you up until you hang by cables from a metal frame and put an Oculus Rift on your head. Virtual reality transports you from the grounds of La Sapienza to the skies above.

Parachute simulator

We’re glad to say that we contributed to the overall count of these mini outbursts of excitement.

We were flipping the Flip & click all day long and the majority of interactions followed a similar script:

– See, it’s an Arduino on one side, but when you flip it, you have four sockets for these mini shields we call click boards
– Whoa
– And if you look at the whiteboard over there, you can see there’s over 160 of these click boards
– Woooow

click boards

It’s rewarding to see genuine appreciation like this. It makes standing on your feet all day long easier. That, and the anticipation of trying a new pasta for dinner after the show closes at 7 P.M.

Yours sincerely,

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