Lessons That Go Beyond Tech

Lessons That Go Beyond Tech

LittleBits CEO Ayah Bdeir said her company's electronic kits have been used to help teach grammar to students.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Towering Technology

Towering Technology

An array of kits from LittleBits were used to create a game where players could move a ball down through the levels of this mock skyscraper.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

3D Printed Living Space

3D Printed Living Space

NASA put the call out in May for ideas to use materials found on Mars and 3D printing techniques to create places for future astronauts to live in.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Home Fit for a Martian

Home Fit for a Martian

The Martian Domes team presented the Hemispheric Habitat, their concept for dwellings to be built on Mars.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Homemade Satellites

Homemade Satellites

Garrett Skrobot, mission manager for the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNA) in the launch services program at NASA, talked about the creation of CubeSats by inventors outside of the space agency.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Entering a New Realm

Entering a New Realm

There are more and more players in the desktop 3D printing market, all looking to show their printers can be more than novelties.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Going Big in 3D Printing

Going Big in 3D Printing

The early days of tiny figurines being staples of desktop 3D printers is giving way to much larger creations.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

More Than a Hobby?

More Than a Hobby?

As increasingly complex creations get produced through 3D printing, the industry wants to show it has more uses on the horizon.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Netflix and Really Chill

Netflix and Really Chill

Netflix showed off a life hack called the Switch, which lets people construct a button that will turn on Netflix, dim the lights, mute their smartphone, and order pizza...all with one push. Netflix posted the plans for the Switch online: http://makeit.netflix.com/the-switch

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Robot Carnival

Robot Carnival

Maker Faire was a chance to display what a bit of tinkering, ingenuity, metal, and pyrotechnics could create.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Build a Bot at Home

Build a Bot at Home

The folks from FIRST Robotics, an annual competition where students design and build robots to complete tasks in tournaments, showed visitors at Maker Faire how they could create robots at home.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

The Droids You Are Looking For

The Droids You Are Looking For

R2-D2 Builder Club brought out their functional reconstructions of the famous droid from Star Wars.

photo by Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Xconomy New York — 

Show and tell is reaching out to the solar system.

Over the weekend, the local edition of Maker Faire opened up shop at the New York Hall of Science in Queens. The annual event, born out of San Francisco and produced by Maker Media, is held simultaneously at cities around the world to give the public the chance to see ideas and creations developed out of the “maker movement” of tinkerers, hackers, and inventors.

The slideshow above is a nano-sampling of the different technology, hacks, designs, devices, drones, and robots that were on display. In addition to showcasing these ideas for technologists and hobbyists, the fair tries to encourage kids to take interest in different aspects of science and making.

Ayah Bdeir, CEO and founder of New York-based LittleBits, spoke about not only getting more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) lessons in schools, but also including the fundamentals of logic. She said LittleBits, which are kits of electronic components that kids can assemble, are used in classrooms in surprising ways—including by a teacher in Michigan who created a way to help teach grammar. “It used the color code of the modules to introduce what a subject is, what a dependent clause is, and what a predicate is,” Bdeir said.

Last week her company announced LittleBits Education, a set of programs to help educators use the electronics kits to teach STEM and STEAM—which includes the arts—lessons.

There was also a notable presence from NASA at Maker Faire, which included talks about the Hubble space telescope, exploring ways to create habitats on Mars with 3D printing technology, and the growing community of CubeSat creators.

CubeSats are space research nanosatellites, said Garrett Skrobot, mission manager for Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNA) in the launch services program at NASA. These tiny satellites are typically four inches across, and can be designed by private tinkerers outside of the space agency for potential launch into space.

Maker Faire had a few other intergalactic ideas. Plans to send astronauts to Mars are not just the stuff of movies such as The Martian, set to debut this week. NASA launched a competition, started in May and run by America Makes, for concepts and designs to build habitats on Mars that would be constructed in advance of astronauts traveling there. The idea is to use materials such as basalt from the planet itself, along with other composites, and 3D printing technology to help get the job done.

A team called Martian Domes developed the Hemispheric Habitat proposal, which would locate the mission on the planet’s flat plains, known as Meridiani Planum. Their design was a cluster of domes shaped into hemispheres to form rooms. The surface of the habitat would be dimpled, much like a golf ball, to cut down on drag from sandstorms.

All of the proposals included using 3D printing techniques for construction, but naturally the technology needs to evolve further from its hobbyist roots before it is ready to create parts of functional buildings.