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Local inventors share secrets at Mini Maker Faire

OMSI sets stage for exhibits, talks and demos


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: OMSI - A 20-foot-tall trebuchet will be used to launch objects such as watermelons, pumpkins and jugs of water during this weekends events at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.The first launch will be at 10:30 a.m. each day, followed by launches every hour until 5:30 p.m. OMSI will pique the senses and stretch visitors' creative boundaries at the inaugural Portland Mini Maker Faire, a family-friendly showcase of creativity and cool technology taking place on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a. m. to 6 p.m.

Exhibits, talks, demonstrations and performances will bridge arts, crafts, science and engineering. Hands-on activities are designed to inspire and stimulate the maker within.

The first event of its kind in the Portland area, the faire is presented by Intel and MAKE Magazine. It celebrates the "Maker movement" and brings together makers of all fields with the goal of supporting grassroots innovation in the community.

Makers of all ages and backgrounds range from tech enthusiasts to crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, science clubs, students, authors and commercial exhibitors.

OMSI invited anyone who embraced the do-it-yourself (or do-it-together) spirit and aspired to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience. The sheer variety of the nearly 100 exhibits, most of them hands-on, will boggle the mind, said Andrea Middleton, an OMSI spokeswoman.

The Portland Mini Maker Faire will run the gamut from the latest technology, including demonstrations of 3D printing and home 3D photography production, to the ancient techniques of sword forging and chainmaille making.by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: OMSI - One of nearly 100 makers participating in the event, Red Troll Forging makes swords out of iron or steel using traditional blacksmith methods.

"Create wooden toys crafted from reclaimed/upcycled natural woods and sport rockets that go hundreds of feet," Middleton said. "Be mesmerized by a contraption that does nothing but look cool as a group of motorized machines built entirely of LEGO Technics moves soccer balls from place to place and machine to machine using mechanical principals, such as wheels, levers, eccentric crankshafts, cams and more.

"From a 19-foot canoe that visitors can help stitch, to demonstrations of survival skills, letterpress and chocolate crafting, there is truly something for everyone."

Other highlights include:

• A giant trebuchet that will be used to launch objects.

• A large-scale sculpture made out of “gazillions of origami folded paper” to which guests can contribute their own origami creation.

• An Insider look at OMSI’s exhibit workshop, where staff research, design and produce exhibits that travel the world, which will be open to the public for self-guided tours during the Faire.

In addition to the interactive exhibits, the Innovation Stage will showcase a variety of Makers and projects. A complete schedule will be on the website, but confirmed speakers include:

• Dale Dougherty, editor-in-chief of MAKE Magazine and founder of Maker Faire.

• Kelley Roy of ADX Maker Space.

• Ed Sobey, global evangelist for Creative Learning, who will speak about topics from his book, "Unscrewed."

• Jeff Potter, author of "Cooking for Geeks."

• Jay Silver, inventor of MaKey MaKey and research scientist at Intel Labs.

• Colleen Flanigan, an artist and diver who works to re-establish coral reefs worldwide with the Biorock process.

• Jeff Mandel, owner of Exit Shoes, who will demonstrate the art and science of shoemaking.

• Eric Thompson, engineer with Low Voltage Labs, who will teach a class on releasing your hardware hacker potential with KiCAD.

• Rhys Thomas will perform a Science Circus Show.

• Genevieve Bell, Intel fellow and director of interaction and experience research at Intel Labs.

The event will take place in OMSI’s north parking lot. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for youth (ages 3 to 13) and seniors 63 and older. Two-day packages are available. OMSI Members receive 50 percent off all tickets, and all Maker Faire attendees can show their wristband to receive 50 percent off admission to the museum. Food carts will provide food for purchase.

OMSI will collaborate with several organizations in town to provide a free shuttle service throughout the weekend. For more information, visit www.makerfaire.com.