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Our 2013 Event Program is now online! Hardcopy versions are being printed courtesy of Dex Imaging in Tampa, who graciously donated printing services last year, too. ! Thank you, Dex Imaging, for your support of the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire!
At least some of them – More are coming on board in the next couple of days, bringing a rich variety of science, art, craft, engineering , music, food, and more, showcasing and celebrating the inventive spirit and the amazing work of all kinds of makers across Tampa Bay and beyond.
The great folks listed here are bringing art, music, robots, games, puzzles, inventions, ham radio, crafts, trades, jewelry, electronic gadgets and gizmos and much, much more for everyone to experience and enjoy!
Keep watching our Maker page throughout the rest of the week, to see the growing list of Makers!
Our 2013 Makers so Far…
See you at Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013!
Neal Ekengren is a Maker from Longwood, FL, where he works for Thompson Reuters creating Real Estate Valuation software. He is a recognized Master Gardener, historical miniatures gamer, and world traveler. But probably, he says, his longest running hobby interests have been chemistry and electronics.
The old Radio Shack electronic kits and Chemistry sets from the 1960′s were his favorite boyhood “toys”, in a time when “There were no integrated circuits or microcontrollers and a single transistor was a big deal. “
He survived the perils of these toys to graduate from the University of Kansas with degrees in Biochemistry and Petroleum Engineering.
Neal was introduced to the Maker world by a Wired magazine article on the Arduino. His indulgent wife got him one for Christmas. Neal thought he’d just play around with the thing, “learn about these fancy new toys, and light up a few LED’s. “
Then, he says, ” the Maker bug hit. “
He envisioned a single multi-project combining many of his interests. It would use an Arduino with chemistry, software development, and woodworking. MEOWSER was born.
MEOWSER is a (M)ineral (E)lement Br(owser), and consists of a cabinet full of rocks and mineral samples, with cabinet LED lighting is controlled using an Arduino microcontroller driven by a Laptop computer periodic table.
Why? Well, because Neal had been viewing all the great online chemistry periodic tables that were showing up (because who doesn’t love to do that?) , as well as the great element and mineral collections online that were linked to periodic tables. (So what do you look at online?)
And he realized he could use the same mouse-over interfaces to drive lighting in a wood cabinet full of minerals. (What do you do with your wood cabinet full of minerals?) He only wanted very specific APEX minerals (defined by Neal as, “A mineral that contains the highest concentration (by weight) of a particular element that is readily obtainable from primary ore samples in a quantity that can be viewed with the naked eye.”) How hard could that be? he wondered.
“Well, you don’t know what you don’t know,” says Neal.
Two years later he has finally completed his MEOWSER. Among the challenges he faced:
- LED selection took several months of orders from China and testing in various cabinet configurations. High power wide field LEDs were needed.
- Three versions of wooden cabinet configuration were constructed and discarded to arrive at the final “simple” repeatable version. A woodworking Router had to be broken in.
- Transistor Array and Shift Register integrated circuits were part of the discovery process after learning about Arduino power and pin limitations.
- Different cabling schemes were tested to allow modularization of the cabinets.
- The APEX mineral for each element had to be selected and ordered from China. Investigation and delivery took more time than expected.
- Software development issues were encountered with the serial communications between the computer and Arduino. Several versions of Arduino code were developed until the final “simple” version was created.
You can see the MEOWSER in action in the video, and get a first hand look at it at Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013.
We think Neal ROCKS!
Fresh from showcasing in in Ann Arbor and Detroit’s Maker Faires, Wesley Faler, now in the Tampa Bay area, is bringing his remarkable FRETS1 Satellite to Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire in March. Powered by a homemade miniature ion engine that will actually fly in space, FRETS1 is a TubeSat-style nanosatellite that will fly at 310 kilometers high and over 17,000 miles per hour.
Intrigued, we asked Wesley to tell us more about his project.
“One day I was minding my own business in high school physics class,” he relates. ” We were learning about voltage and charge, new yes but not terribly new considering a friend and I had built a particle accelerator years prior. What was new was an idea for using high charge for accelerating particles, something that seemed so much easier to do than using high voltage. So I tinkered and built a basic, and working, ion engine in the barn. (It still hangs in my lab, all wooden and full of steel wool and nails.) It was great fun but college came along then a decade focused on my career.
“In all, it was 15 years before I started tinkering with my own ion engine design again – being inspired by “Lifters” and their stranger cousins Asymmetrical Capacitor Thrusters. It turns out all of the easy things have been done for ion engines, so I’ve been on a quest to find new effects to apply. It’s taken me into some odd corners of physics and I finally found a way to significantly boost the thrust from an ion engine.
“That was well and good until one day I read two Internet articles. The first was from the Interorbital Systems company about their low cost satellite kit and launch package. $8K for most of a small satellite’s parts and it included the launch to orbit! Fantastic, and maybe someday I’d sign up I thought. Then I read an article about MIT’s brilliant idea for a new ion engine. (You see, the world is looking hard at ion engines these days.)
“The article said the engine works in the lab but they wanted to study it for several more years before launching. I thought that seemed ridiculous when they could have several flights per year with this new company, that they should really stop theorizing and start building. Silence. Silence. Sigh. I checked my savings account and opted for a satellite instead of a new car.
“Bottom line, I build a satellite to test an ion engine because I’m never done dreaming.”
We can’t think of a better reason to build a satellite!
We are! Maker applications and ticket sales go live January 2, 2013! Click here to see what we’re looking for in Maker applications, for a head start on your application. We’re deeply grateful to our event partners, The Concourse, Pasco County Libraries and Learning is for Everyone, and to our fantastic event planning team who will be working behind the scenes to do everything possible to help Make Your Day, at Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013
Some inventions are creations of convenience, like the Snap-a-Loop media device holder. Some are fun, like BrickStix. Some are useful in very specific ways, like SnapIt Screw eyeglass repair and the E-sort potato sorter. And some have enormous social potential, like adjustable focus eyeglasses.
The Pacifier Activated Lullaby, or PAL, is a niche invention that falls into that last category, in a marvelous and touching way. Developed by music professor Jayne Standley at Florida State University to help premature babies learn the proper muscle movements to be able to suck and feed.
According to the PAL page at Florida State University,”More than 500,000 premature babies are born in the United States every year, each requiring significant medical treatment to ensure their survival and minimize life-long health challenges.”
Officially, the “Pacifier Activated Lullaby (PAL®) is an FDA-approved, patented system that utilizes music reinforcement therapy to stimulate non-nutritive sucking and the breathe-suck-swallow reflex in pre-term infants.” And results are already producing shorter-term hospital stays with a commensurate reduction in hospitalization costs (on average saving $10,000 per infant) and a higher likelihood that premature babies will thrive once they leave the hospital.
IEEE-Spectrum gives some interesting technical details. “The pacifier is outfitted with proprietary piezo sensing technology that detects the baby’s sucking motion. Feedback algorithms determine when the motion is correct, and a signal is sent via wire to a speaker that plays a soothing song when the baby gets the breathe-suck-swallow reflex right. The system can be calibrated to each baby’s needs.”
Check PAL out at http://www.research.fsu.edu/pal/about.html
We’re delighted to welcome MOSI, Tampa’s Museum of Science & Industry, to our Tampa Bay Mini Maker Fair line up! They’ll be showcasing a variety of activities, technologies and projects representative of Idea Zone, MOSI’s new makerspace and technology playground, including 3D printing, CNC milling, design/media technologies and even a FIRST FRC robot built by MOSI’s Youth Enriched through Science (YES!) Team .
Check back soon for a complete program and event schedule!
The line up for our very first Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire is amazing! Check it out! There’s robots on the land and in the water, music, arts, crafts, toy making, inventions, inventors, amateur radio, and food galore!
That’s right – Make will be at the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire, showcasing their wonderful wares!
We erred! MakerShed is unable to join us, but will be sending along some materials for us to share. And of course we’ve got the Maker spirit in our blood -Check out our great roster!
Our Commercial Makers include:
And we’ve got an amazing collection of community Makers!
Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire Food Truck Rally -Our Culinary Makers
Our Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire Food Truck Rally vendors are donating a portion of proceeds from the day to the University Area Community Center Complex!
Please note, large companies or commercial entities do not qualify as Commercial Makers. If you are a large company or commercial entity, please see our Sponsor page.
Maker line-up and schedules subject to change.