A Visit to Maker Faire Berlin

First ever Maker Faire in the German capital last weekend. My visit was cut short by the onset of a superflu… but I managed to catch a fashion show, wander past the myriad booths, and talk with the creators of:

  • Vai Kai, pairs of wooden dolls that interact with one another (for example, on one setting, the “heartbeat” of each doll grows quicker–palpable through the wood, unmistakeable– as they get closer, facilitating a game of hide and seek)
  • LaCoolCo, an “open source personal smart greenhouse,” outfitted with lights and sensors, built to fit on top of an IKEA clear plastic storage box. I totally want to make one of these.
  • Woelab, a Togo-based initiative that makes practical new things like mini-tractors and 3D-printers from e-waste. So cool!!!

Overall Berlin’s version of Maker Faire seemed more commercial– with stands like electronics giant Conrad’s dominating the entrance and first floor– and less playful. Old-fashioned crafts were virtually absent, except for a lonely corner where a lady made shopping bags from old denim wear with her sewing machine. Except for two LED-topped hats, no one in attendance had donned anything like the glorious steampunk-inspired wardrobe explosions I saw years ago at the San Francisco Bay Area Faire. Still, as my friend A. put it, the best part was all the smiling nerds. Legions of them. Here a few more photos:

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