Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Gaudin makes good: Mini Maker Faire coming to NLR

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Two years ago, Argenta developer, artist and idea man John Gaudin told the Arkansas Times he wanted to bring a what's called a Maker Faire to North Little Rock.

He's as good as his word. Today, Gaudin announced that a Mini Maker Faire — a place where tinkerers and inventors and entrepreneurs show off what they're working on — will come to the Innovation Hub on May 2. It will be a big day: The 2015 Argenta Arts Festival will bring artists and craftsmen to several blocks on Main Street, just a bit away from the Hub, 201 E. Broadway. Both events will run 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The first Maker Faire was in San Mateo, Calif., in 2005, and the event "has blossomed into a world phenomenon," Joel Gordon, director of the Hub's Launch Pad, said. Mini Maker Faires are held in smaller cities, like Tulsa.,

click to enlarge The Rasberry Pi computer
  • The Rasberry Pi computer
But before Maker Faire is the third annual Raspberry Pi Bake-Off on Saturday, which is 3/14 and therefore perfect for a date equal to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. The Raspberry Pi is a tiny $35 computer that fits in your hand and can be plugged into your television, speakers, etc., perfect for hobbyists. The men demonstrating the Raspberry Pi were having lots of fun with their Arduinos, magical little cards that you can program to do whatever. Bill Rech and Kyle Neumeier, describing themselves as "big boys," were busy knocking their Arduino-run vehicles into one another, while another was tracing a track it had been programmed to follow. 

But back to the faire: Gordon was beside himself, saying maker faires were "life-changing," bringing together engineers, carpenters, stay-at-home moms, CEOs  to collaborate on bringing ideas to life. "Nothing I can say will give you any inkling of how exciting" the faire will be. Dan Williams, CEO of Garver and Garver Engineers, is chair of the event, which he said will introduce young people to STEM and Garver engineers to the ideas of the young. 

Entry to the Maker Faire, which will cover three acres downtown, will be $10. The Arts Festival is free, and there is still time to apply for a booth, Argenta Downtown Council Director Donna Hardcastle said; deadline is March 31.

click to enlarge Then Arduino-run car.
  • Then Arduino-run car.

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