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Maker Faire San Mateo

Maker Faire San Mateo
by Paul McLellan on 04-20-2014 at 9:30 pm

 A few years ago my then-girlfriend was an artist and she had some friends who were in the maker movement, one who ran a tool “lending library” and so on. So she wanted to go to the Maker Faire, which is a huge event held in San Mateo exhibit center. In those days it was more like an outgrowth of burning man but there were already early 3D printers, machine tools and some electronics around. The end of the day had the most amazing “mentos in coke” show you can imagine, set to music.

The Maker movement is a passionate one, and Atmel is passionate about being a part of it. So drop by with your family and invite your customers to stop by the Atmel booth to:

  • Hack some hexbugsand see a uTot robot platform with Bob Martin
  • Use a MakerBot 3D Printer
  • Visit with Quin Etnyre, 12 year old CEO of Qtechknow, and see his demo on Qtechknow Olympics – fun robotics challenges for all ages, using Arduino, XBee, and FuzzBots!

This year it is May 17th and 18th in just a few weeks. With a lot more electronics and a lot more 3D printing.

Atmel has been doing a lot of work with the maker movement, two things in particular stand out.

The first is 3D printing. Almost all 3D printers are actually driven by Atmel microcontrollers. Her, for example, is one inside the Atmel Tech on Tour truck when it came by San Francisco recently. It was (I think) just a demo part that it was making, but something that would be difficult to make with other processes like injection molding. 3D printers are a very big thing in the maker movement since, almost by definition, things are being made in very small volumes. Plus it becomes possible to have open-source hardware designs: just upload the design files and print them, the 3D equivalent of stock photography.

Talking of open-source hardware, then there is Arduino. This is an open source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible easy to use hardware and software. I first heard about it as the Linley Microprocessor Conference a year or two ago. It is open source so you can build it yourself, although you can also purchase it pre-assembled. It is built around either an 8-bit Atmel AVR or a 32-bit Atmel ARM processor. It costs about $30 although clones are available for under $10. Apparently it is estimated that there are about 700,000 boards in users’ hands. Arduino actually originated in Italy in academia but has since spread all over the world.

Obviously this is something of great interest to the Makers who can very cheaply add electronic control to pretty much anything without having to design their own circuit board, write their own operating system and so on.

Atmel is a sponsor of the Maker Faire. Tickets for Maker Faire are here.

More articles by Paul McLellan…

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