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Maker Faire returns to New York

Maker Faire bills itself as a "family-friendly showcase of invention and creativity that gathers together tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, food artisans, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, artists, students and commercial exhibitors." The pop-up event hits cities around the world, from Europe to China to North America. And last weekend (Sept. 21-23), we visited the New York incarnation.

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Once again, the NYC Maker Faire took over the New York Hall of Science, the site of the 1964 World's Fair in Queens.

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This Burning Man project by Christian Ristow was extremely popular, attracting long lines of guests eager for their turn to control The Hand of Man as it picked up and dropped cars. 

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The Robot Arena was engaging kids with these colorful projects. 

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The Center for Architecture Science and Ecology's Second Lives / After Bottles project demonstrated how incredibly useful used plastic bottles could be if upcycled as wall construction materials in the developing world.

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FutureBit almost sold me on its Moonlander 2, a $39 USB-inserted Bitcoin Mining chip. It might take a long time to earn your money back, though. 

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Robotify Labs was getting people interested in its new esport, Roboduel, a battle royale-style competition involving lasers.

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Photobloom AR lets you upload a video, from which it will print the "best frame" in a presentational format of your choice, starting at $19. Open the company's app and aim your phone at the photo and it reads as if it's a QR code and plays the video through the frame of the image.  

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Ideal Farm was teaching people the process of creating biodiesel fuel at home. 

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DOT Mind Unlocked claims to increase your mental focus. It will cost $500. 

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Tiny homes are hot, y'all. Makers were excited to finally tour a Skoolie in person -- it's a converted school bus.

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These are crowdsourced 3D-printed sculptures put together by by We The Builders.

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I didn't wait to see what Live Arcade was, but I can only imagine that it involved interpretive dance and someone making "pew pew pew" sounds.

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3D Simo's MultiPro Tool bills itself as "a universal tool for every maker."

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The R2-D2 Builders Club was out in full force.

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This guy was dancing around delighting attendees with his beep-boops. Wanna make one?

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Moon Arrow is a moon-tracking mechanical sculpture created by Heidi Neilson.  

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PinBox 3000 was back this year with more cardboard arcade fun.

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Modern Forge was outside demonstrating the various metalworking techniques that they teach.

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The folks at Programmable-Air demonstrated their kit to be used with inflation and vacuum-creation in soft robotics.

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Silly Rabbit Crafts is Lori Mangione's pixel art-inspired "geekery decorum" made from melted beads.

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True to Maker Faire's family-friendly atmosphere, the event was attended by children of all ages. You'd see them crowded around interactive booths, learning skills in robotics and the like.

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Inside, Looking Glass Factory had a 3D photo booth set up to show off its hologram-making technology. 

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No, the CaNibble is not for carving up human flesh. It's a unique drill attachment that cuts sheet metal into fancy shapes. 

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Google gets into the maker spirit with a tent hosting free soldering classes.

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Ridwan Madon's project, entitled Mimosa, is an app-controlled necklace of fans that can be extended to hide one's cleavage and "subvert the male gaze."

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There were plenty of food vendors and picnic tables to enjoy a meal.

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Electric Marble Machines are reminiscent of the old Mousetrap game, and had these kids excited.

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This fellow was putting together an electronic Go board.  

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Bloomengine will help you grow those oh-so-demanding orchids, and has app control and a time-lapse camera built in.

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The I Ching Machine by Jason Yung answered my pressing question with two clips from Game of Thrones that had been selected to represent hexagrams.

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Mayku's Formbox is a desktop vacuum former to sit next to your 3D printer. 

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Want to make your own 3D printer? I Made 3D is showing off the Jellybox 2.

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RepRap, meanwhile, has a different approach. It's a "self-replicating" 3D printer -- meaning that it can print many of the component parts needed to build another one.

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NYC College of Technology's tent featured robots built by students.

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Game of Fire, anyone? Attendees took aim and were rewarded with a plume of fire when their ball hit the target.

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Zero Robotics offered interactive programming challenges that involve the International Space Station.

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Inside the Hall of Science there were lots of other projects. 

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Nicole Majewski of The Errant Stitch upcycles old cassettes and VHS tapes to create useful items like this table.

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Move over, Catan: According to Blinks Play System's representative, we'll all be doing stuff with these LED hexagons instead. You can check this project out on Kickstarter.

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BoseBuild set up a booth to promote its line of educational products.

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This project is called Instincts. It's a wearable tail that begins to shake when it senses that you are getting "excited."

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Let's go fly a kite! One booth had supplies and instruction for building your own. It was a great way to spend the first day of fall -- Saturday's weather in New York was perfect for the event.

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