Maker Faire: Innovation Incubator

I love innovation, and I’ve found a great place to see new technologies and innovation, often in their infancy, is at the Maker Faire! The Maker Faire is an outgrowth of Make: Magazine, which specializes in all things DIY.

The Maker Faire phenomenon has spread around the world, with large “flagship” Faires that draw hundreds of thousands of attendees to small “mini-Maker Faires” being held all over the world in local communities and smaller cities. Over 130 Maker Faires were held around the world in 2014. The 2 biggest Faires in the U.S. are the Bay Area event (last held in May 2015 with over 140,000 attendees) and the New York event (coming up on September 26-27, 2015!).

Why are we talking about the Maker Faire in the context of PostalVision? Because there is much to be seen at a Maker Faire that pertains to our postal industry, and the technologies, ideas and innovations born at these events may shape the future of our manufacturing and postal ecosystem.

The very first 3d printers were created, demonstrated, and sold at the Maker Faire. Now each Faire has numerous 3d printer manufacturing companies in attendance, as well as those representing an entire industry ecosystem that is growing up around 3d printing. Printed electronics – something that the USPS and printing industry have talked about as being a potential to add more innovation to hardcopy print media – also are part of the Maker Faire community.

And the Maker Faire does not just feature a little bit about drones…it features DIY drones, drone air combat competitions, drone designs, drone functions, and more! There are more robotics, incorporating numerous innovations and functions, than you would think to see in one place! And there’s more areas of innovation and technology at the large Maker Faires, including electric cars, automation, “smart” controlled everything, the latest Arduino and Raspberry Pi developments (if you don’t know what those are…you need to get to a Maker Faire!), rockets, electronics, crafts, and just about anything DIY you can think of!

For those planning to take the opportunity to visit one of the largest and most cutting edge Maker Faire shows — which will be the New York World Maker Faire, held in the New York Hall of Science in Queens on September 26-27, 2015 – leave your suit and everything you thought you knew about “outside the box” thinking at home… In a recent article about the Maker Faire craze, Smithsonian Magazine dubbed the Faire “[e]qual parts steampunk convention, craft show and Bill Nye extravaganza….”

I’ve been attending the annual New York World Maker Faire for years now, along with my husband and two sons. It is a great family event in addition to being a great place to get a look at the latest innovations and ideas. Our whole family walks away inspired after every event, looking for ways to DIY our own ideas (and we’ve had many innovative projects built in our house as a result!). See Time’s article on how families are discovering the Maker Faire phenomenon and its STEM benefits!

And family attendees aren’t the only ones catching the Maker Faire craze! Smart businesses (Intel, Google, Facebook, Amtel, Disney, HP, NASA, Lego, Microsoft, Dremel, Qualcomm, Netflix, McGraw-Hill, Sony and more!) are there as sponsors, running booths demonstrating innovation, or as attendees checking out other innovators and their creations.

So if you have the chance, check out the New York World Maker Faire in September! It may change the way you think about innovation… Hope to see you there!

By Kathy Siviter

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