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“A wise robot once said to me through Serial.println- that robots teach us about ourselves.”

Ottawa Mini Maker Faire!

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The Ottawa Mini Maker Faire was super cool! The previous Maker Faire that I was invited to go to was in San Fransisco, but I was in a car accident and it would have been unwise to actually go. This is why I was looking forward to the Ottawa one so much! It was a hit! There were tons of people to talk to, with lots of cool exhibits and stuff. About 500 people visited throughout the course of the two days! It was a fantastic turnout, for a “mini” Faire!

Ottawa MF 2010-25

Photo by emdaniels

For my table, I brought MANOI and Yoda Bot, and all the tools necessary to make repairs if they were needed. MANOI was going to play hockey, and Yoda was going to pass the ball to MANOI. What really happened was MANOI ended up doing dance moves every three seconds, and Yoda Bot moved back and forth a bit while conserving battery life. People really seemed to enjoy MANOI and Yoda Bot though!

Ottawa MF 2010-33

Photo by emdaniels

The most common questions that I received were…

  1. What does MANOI do?
  2. Is that a camera on MANOI’s headband?
  3. What does Yoda Bot do?
  4. What powers MANOI?
  5. I saw MANOI on Daily Planet! Right?
  6. Are you affiliated with any institution?

Ottawa MF 2010-14

Photo by emdaniels

Pretty cool questions that were fun to answer. I really enjoyed explaining how MANOI’s hockey stick works, as well as the wireless link back to the computer. People were impressed with the smooth motions that MANOI had, too. A lot of people thought I was going to MIT for some reason… The most in depth question that I got involved the robot mesh network idea and SLAM. Actually, I think that question was from Carlitos so check out his blog at Carlitos Contraptions!

There was a lot of reprap action at the Mini Maker Faire. There were so many MakerBots it was an army! It was interesting to see them up close in person. They really are interesting tools that do a precise job of making things. Many people only print stuff in black and white though, which is kind of boring. There’s a reprap loaner program that I might be doing with Foulab. I’m misty about how it works in the details, but essentially I will be able to either print or make a new reprap from the old one, and I document and make a Bill of Materials covering how I made it.

The other robots at the Mini Maker Faire were pretty interesting. There was a ping-pong ball robot that had a complex mechanical loading system. There were LED indicators too to tell it where it was in the process of firing ping pong balls at you!

There were the tiny sumo robots too. One of them played the first few bars of “I’m a Barbie Girl” in MIDI tones. There was another robot that could move its wheels to be on a 45 degree angle, that way it could spin in circles. There was also another robot that looked like it was made from a Vex kit, which was pretty cool.

There was a boat robot from one of the university’s clubs. It used OpenCV to detect a red buoy and fire off its propellors accordingly. Water and electronics is a super challenge, it was pretty nifty to see some people doing that!

All of the people were really nice. it was like a science fair but without the judges, so people were there to genuinely learn about the hobbies and projects that local Canadians were up to! It was a blast, really. I am really interested in seeing what changes in the various projects next year! The rumours going around are that there’s going to be a Maker Faire in Toronto and Vancouver sometime next year!

Ottawa MF 2010-1

Photo by emdaniels

Thanks a bunch to the organizers and volunteers for the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire! :)

1 CommentLeave a Comment


  • Carlos

    4 years ago

    Hi Erin,

    Thanks for the link to my blog! Indeed we briefly discussed about a sort of distributed SLAM.

    Keep up the great work!

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