Maker Faire 2011: Your help needed

Maker Faire is the World’s largest hands-on DIY festival. We’ll be at the Bay Area fair later this month,  along with the Gadget Factory and other makers, in the Seeed Studio booth. Flights are booked, hotels reserved, and new business cards just arrived.

Stop by to mess with a Bus Pirate, IR Toy, or Logic Sniffer. We’ll also have some new prototypes to play with, like the Bus Pirate v4, POV Toy, Dangerous Superprobe, and more. Our roving blogger who will also cover the entire Maker Faire throughout the event.

Your feedback will help us figure out what we should do. Here’s some of our ideas, what do you think fits with the hands-on demonstration theme of Maker Faire?

Most of our projects need a USB connection, so we plan to take a couple junk laptops with Linux installed.

  1. Bus Pirate. We have a demo board with a bunch of different parts that are easy to explore. It’s simple to demo an EEPROM write/read, etc, but it might be too involved for a hands-on display. Do you have any ideas for a hands on demo?
  2. IR Toy v2. This is an easy one. One click start’s Jawi’s impressive OLS client and anyone can point, shoot, and visualize a remote control signal. A more indepth demo could clone a signal and play it back to a second IR Toy.
  3. Logic Sniffer. Also easy. Connect an OLS to a device and record the output. Jawi’s OLS client is intuitive and easy to use.
  4. POV Toy. If it’s done this will be an easy thing for anyone to play with that doesn’t need a PC.
  5. Superprobe. Doesn’t need a PC, but it’s helpful to have a sheet of instructions. A breadboard with some parts to measure is a simple hands-on activity.
  6. Web platform. Unfortunately internet is not available, or we’d do a giant interactive online art piece with the web platform so everyone could be involved.
  7. You can bet there will be free PCBs!

Are we going the wrong direction? Would it be more interesting to do stuff with kit-biz, hardware design, surface mount soldering? Maybe we should build, test, and debug a project live.

If you were there, what would you like to do or try? What would be cool and interesting, and not just another attempt to sell you stuff?

…because this is our attempt to sell you stuff. Back of Dangerous Prototypes business card, artwork available in SVN. We go to lots of conferences and forget why we have most business cards, this is a handy reminder that we’re the site with the $30 hacking tools.

Join the Conversation


  1. For the buspirate it is nice to have a visual feedback like a display or a light, like:
    – BP lcd adapter
    – blinkM led

    That is easier to follow with a large adience. Doable both as a presentation and handson.

    Perhaps a combo with the OLS and BP. Use the OLS to find an unknown protocol and replay it afterwards with the BP. Or sniffing memory access and alter some bytes with the BP (like the laundry card hack). BUt we don’t endorse fraud, do we? :P

    Too bad internet is unavailable, but a 3g modem connected to a laptop will fix it (dunno if a flatfree mobile internet is available in the US). Together with a #twatch.. :)

    BTW nice design of the businesscards!

  2. I agree with the BP and OLS combo. Even if you are not sniffing an unknown protocol it would be cool. Just have the BP with an EEPROM or shift register with LEDs. Have a print out of the commands to send the BP and how to use the OLS. I need to get an OLS and learn how to use it.

    KC should be providing internet access. I happen to know the people who are organizing it if that helps. I am not sure when the maker applications close but I am sure we could get you in.

  3. I would love to go to the SF Maker Faire. I will be in the States during that time but unfortunately I will be somewhere in the middle of Wyoming or Utah. I will be in Denver from May 26 on.

  4. I will be at the Bay Area Maker Faire and think it would be great to see some of your projects in action.

    I also think it would be great to talk about open hardware as a business. What your experience has been in building your projects and selling them. Also what you think about the future of open hardware.

    I’m also interested in connecting with Seeed Studio to learn more about their business.

    Hope to see you there.

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