The Denver Maker Faire was in town this past weekend. Having attended the Detroit Maker Faire as a sponsor for my company for the past three years I was very excited to see what the Denver Maker Faire had to offer. A classmate and I both went on Saturday the 14th, we arrived about an hour after they opened. It was held in the Denver Mart, a massive building on the north side of Denver. My initial impression was, sad to say, disappointment. We walked through the main entrance and the first displays we saw were all about clothing and textiles.
While this certainly falls under the realm of making and is overcool, it was not something I am super interested in. As we entered the main part of the Faire, things started to pick up and there were several very, very cool things to check out.
Computer Music with Cloudless Rain
This was cool to watch. There wasn’t a lot of information and he was clearly busy but it appeared to be a VR DJ booth that changed the music in real time. IT was a lot of fun to watch and listen too.
Fun with Pinball
This was one of our favorite things. An organization called Fun with Pinball was there and had a large variety of pinball style game mechanisms on display, basically showing all the mechanics of the machine. This was very interesting and a lot of fun. It has also inspired us to use the skills we are learning in the BDW program to build our own machine.
Sparkfun Mini Battle-Bots
One of the coolest things we saw was the Sparkfun mini robot battles. It was very crowded and there didn’t appear to be any additional information or booth about it but we managed to squeeze in and watch a bit. It was very entertaining and looked like a ton of fun.
Large Destruction Robots
I do not remember what the name of this display was but it was the coolest thing there. Large, remote control vehicles that were loaded down with some fierce armor and weapons. They were not battling each other but rather destroying various items in the arena. Items like a washer, a manikin, a dresser and other furniture items. The bots were equipped with weapons like flamethrowers, mallets, pincers, and bulldozers that allowed them to burn, crush, cut and pulverize their targets. The most entertaining was when the pilots would coordinate on one item and completely obliterate it.
The final thing that held our attention and inspired our imaginations was a booth by a company called Tiny Whoop. They make tiny drones but the cool thing is they also make a VR system where you control the drone via VR. They had a cool course for the drones to fly through and a monitor to show what the pilot saw. It was very cool and something that we thought we wanted to explore doing ourselves.
In summary, it was a great experience and the few ideas we got made it worth the cost many times over. A couple things that would improve the experience would be signage and more makers. It was very difficult to navigate and there was very little or no signage explaining what things were. This discouraged people from approaching a lot of booths in addition to making the event difficult to locate. As for more makers, when I compare his to the Detroit Faire, it is about 1/3 the size. I would have loved to see more people here driving whacky vehicles, or making things explode. It surprised me to see so few makers there considering the robust maker community in the Denver area. Despite those two things I would recommend anyone interested in the word of making to attend the Denver Maker Faire. It was a great experience with a lot of cool things to see and a variety of like-minded people eager to share their knowledge.