Pittsburgh Makers Faire - WOW!


Well, it happened again!  We signed up for our Second Year of the Makers Faire and was accepted (again)!  In preparation of getting ready for the event, we made some improvement based on the great feedback we got and observation of the real-time user study garnered from all the eager individuals.

This spot is the place where we will update on all the going's on regarding the event and this project - meanwhile take a look around at what happened last year!


Just got back from the Maker Faire and like the title says "WOW" - the exhibits, the people, the energy were really something to behold. Sadly working the booth meant there wasn't much time to see all of the activities that were available-in fact, it's estimated that we only had 15 to 20 min. of free time (total) for the six hours that we were demonstrating.

So what was our project you ask?

This past June we had the opportunity of being funded* for a project by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, we called "NRG2DO". This project allowed us to explore the development, creation and implementation of a low-cost educational aid utilizing gears that can be freely move about and then be powered by a participant.  When the project is completed they are then provided to local area schools to use for free!

To find more information about our project
go here

There you'll find information about the initial scope and proposal of this project, as well as some of the secondary information that this project contains and its current status so you may follow-up in areas that interest you.

The Results

As we were saying, to see the energy coupled with curiosity of the children in attendance working with this project was extremely satisfying and educational for us.   The steady pace of children and the high volume of interest in general made the day go incredibly fast.  In fact, we jokingly considered having a bouncer next time inside a roped off section around bicycle, the gears, and the board itself.

Below are some of the images from that event, undoubtedly they'll be edited and re-released as they're cleaned up (cropped, etc.)


A couple of other interesting notes, we have to admit that we weren't expecting the pounding that these children gave it.  Not only did they manage to break records on our gear speeds, but they actually were able to "smoke" the wood gears from the friction (wow!). From a durability standpoint, we are personally very pleased with how well it held up.

We were learning a lot ourselves when we were not herding children. While some of the handling of the various components were "as designed", there are always a few that provide an added surprise in the thought process of pulling things together for their particular solution.

There were those that instinctively took to the assembling of the gear train, others challenged standard convention with more artistic results, and still others managed to associate the mechanics more aptly than others-each of them with usually no more than one of these aspects more dominant than the other.

By the end of the day was overly clear that these children provided a wealth of information for us to consider in our design as well as reinforce the original premise that spawned the project to begin with. And to be honest,it really is a trip to watch children figure things out and adapt to the outcomes.

The Response

Apart from the children, it was exciting to hear from educators and others the type of visual impact that our project had with them. Not only did they recognize the high level of interaction that the children were receiving but were equally interested in the ability of cross disciplinary areas this system has to offer.

If you have an interest in bringing this
to your own classroom in the Pittsburgh area (for FREE)
go here

Based on the enthusiasm of some of these educators, we hope to gain some feedback on how these panels work in their own classrooms.

Lastly, one aspect that we had no idea that would come of this event was the interest by some in bringing this type of interaction to their own organization or institution. While it is always beneficial for a young organization to gain this level of interest, it can be rather daunting and we look forward to working with those organizations that are interested in a more custom system for the classroom or venue.

If your organization is interested
in discussing something specifically for your needs.
go here

If you made it to the end of this section, quite clearly you are very interested in what we're doing here or you're denying the fact that you are very interested in what we're doing here. In either case, feel free to move to our project page to find out some other information you may (or may not) be interested in.

= remember it is what we share with one another that fulfills our higher purpose in life =

*This project was generously funded by
The Grable Foundation and The Pittsburgh Foundation with support from The Sprout Fund
as a part of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s MAKESHOP Maker Micro Grant program.