Maker Faire is a popular event here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve been going with my kids for several years now and all of us look forward to it every year. I describe it as everything from embroidery to fire breathing robots, anything you can make is there and everyone is passionate about making stuff and everyone enjoys sharing their passion.
However this year I was there as staff with the Apps Lab who were providing a DIY activity for the Java team who are a big supporter of Maker Faire, Jake explains in detail in his blog. My summary is we showed use of embedded java on a Raspberry Pis to control a variety of devices with input from other devices, for example I could use a motion sensor to turn on a fan, or send a tweet or send an SMS message. It was an interesting experience showing this off to people, explaining what we mean by the internet of things and seeing people’s reaction. There are a huge range of ages and types of people at Maker Fairs, so it was cool to see young and old alike enjoying making things happen. The most interesting thing to see first hand is how young children (as young as 4 or 5) can just figure out how to do things with minimal guidance and in fact seem to prefer to explore on their own, older people are much quicker to get help or listen to me explain rather than do it. I have no idea what this means, if anything, but it was interesting to me at least.