Maker Faire was in the Bay Area this weekend and, of course, Brit + Co. was on the scene getting our hands dirty with new, innovative and downright F-U-N ways to make, print, build, imagine and play. We tinkered with some new toys (the kind for little ones and big kids), tried out some gadgets that would enhance the IQ of our analog faves and found a whole lot of inspiration for future projects. If Santa wants to outfit our office with some new toys this year, our wish list is… everything we saw this weekend? We promise we’ll be good! Here are some of our favorite finds. It’s hard to pick just one, so we settled on five. Sound good to you? Sounds GREAT to us.
1. Xfab: Meet and marvel at the world’s first high end consumer 3D printer. This bad boy prints to make ceramic and rubber-like objects, in opaque and transparent materials. Anyone else’s brains exploding at the options? Everything from bike pieces, to footwear, to dishware, to medical devices, to toys to just about anything you’d need to fix anything broken around the house can be yours, in-house. The consumer-friendlier model (with a slightly less shocking pricetag of about $2,500) will be coming soon.
2. Lil DJ: This isn’t that plastic, plink-plink-plunk music-making machine that we were jamming on in our diapers, Lil DJ uses a Raspberry Pi to power an interactive turntable toy for kids that plays REAL tunes. Your tunes. You import tracks (even your own loops and, ahem, mixtapes, Miss Minaj) from your iTunes library for your little one to remix. This might be the last time you get to choose what your kids are listening to, so enjoy it. As your tot is spinning the two records, trying out different loops and effects, you’ll be singing, “Go, lil dj, that’s my, lil dj!” And, yes, this IS one of those toys we think works for big kids, too.
3. Helios Bar: We are in love with anything that turns our two-wheeled whips into whipsmart rides and think Helios Bar is a simple, super functional example of this idea. All you do to make your regular old bike a smart one is strap this handle on, download the companion app and you’ve got a blinker, a music controller, lights, turn-by-turn navigation, (we’re breathless already) a lock and alarm system and even GPS tracking.
4. Taktia: This one really brought out the builder in us. Taktia is a line of computer-augmented power tools, and at Maker Faire, they were showing off a handheld CNC router — think of it like a portable jigsaw laser cutter. We made a little cut out of the US of A, which we thought was pretty cool, but the folks there had used it to make FURNITURE. That’s one-upping that we’re totally fine with. What’s even more impressive is that you could do it too, even as a total n00b to woodworking. No really, see more of what you can make with the position-correcting router on their site. Does this prove that all you need to be a maker is creativity and perhaps the right tools? Yes, we think so.
5. PancakeBot: We love our friends and all, but this guy just moved to the top of our Brunch VIP List. This food-friendly printer wants to bring playtime back to dinnertime in the coolest way ever. It uses an Arduino Mega, two Adafruit Motor Shields, stepper motors, belt drives, plus a vacuum pump for batter control to make pancakes in any shape imaginable. Batter not included, but endless ideas and playing with your food are.
We just have to get Egg-Bot scrambling and frying and we’re all set…
Were you at Maker Faire? What inspired you at this year’s fair? Share below!