Maker Faire UK 2015 Dates Announced!

Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 April 2015

Maker Faire UK 2015 will take place at Life Science Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne on Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 April.

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Maker Faire UK 2014 – Official Video

We’re thrilled to present the official video of Maker Faire UK 2014 for your enjoyment. Perhaps you can spot yourself in it? Have a watch and relive that great weekend!

Maker Faire UK 2014 – that’s a wrap!

The Makers have packed up and gone home but the buzz is still lingering here at the Life Science Centre. Since 2009′s inaugural event, Newcastle has become a Mecca for Makers and they came again in their droves for 2014′s faire, the most spectacular yet. It’s been a fabulous festival weekend crammed with ingenuity, invention and good humour. We’d like to take this chance to thank you all!

The crew of Robohand

The crew of Robohand

The Times Square Showground featured some of the weekend’s biggest attractions. You can’t have missed the crushing power of Robohand nor the mobile giants Binbot and Turbo, but did you take a ride on the Flycycle or hear Joe Lowdon’s fascinating Gameboy music? Did you catch the cheekily choreographed drama of the Spark! drumming troupe?

Binbot takes to the streets of Newcastle

Binbot takes to the streets of Newcastle

Inside the Science Centre, 100 exhibits were spread across four zones. Discovery School blasted model Formula One cars down a miniature track whilst Stormtroopers paraded in the entranceway. We loved Nottingham Hackspace’s Floppy Disk Orchestra and Kickstarter success stories Mirobot and Ototo. Upstairs, Allenomis Enter the Fold screen-printed some awesome thermochromic tote bags and the Jam Jar Collective’s Waggler game put smiles on faces.

Crowds in Zone D

Crowds in Zone D

In the Science Theatre, Vinay Gupta, Sabrina Merlo and sci-fi author Cory Doctorow drew large crowds to hear their talks. Mitch Altman and MadLab ran popular soldering workshops whilst Intel’s pigeon flight simulator had visitors throwing some very funny shapes indeed.

Soldering Workshops

Mitch Altman’s Soldering Workshops

The 3D printed marvels of Shapeways and Ultimaker sat happily alongside some good old fashioned nostalgia, most notably Hitchin Hackspace’s giant BigTrak vehicle. The National Museum of Computing’s retro games consoles were a huge draw, as ever!

We think Maker Faire UK had something for everyone and can’t wait to do it all again. What were your favourite exhibits?

 

Buying Tickets – Important Info!

If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, listen up!

Online ticket sales will close at 12 noon on Friday 25 April.
After that tickets will be available to buy on the door on both days.

Got it? Good.

 

‘Blood lab’ inside a mobile phone could detect cancer

Plans to design a smart phone app that can detect leukaemia will be among the innovations presented by Northumbria University researchers at the Centre for Life this weekend.

Northumbria University

Worawut Srisukkham, a PhD student at Northumbria University, Newcastle, is in the early stages of an ‘e-health technology’ project aimed at developing a mobile phone app that can examine blood sample images and diagnose cancer.

It would work by taking a magnified image of a blood slide via a microscopic lens attached to the smart phone, which the app would then be able to screen for evidence of leukaemia – a blood cancer.

Worawut will present his idea at Maker Faire UK at Newcastle’s Centre for Life on 26 and 27 April. Fellow Northumbria colleagues will also exhibit, including demonstrations of 3D printing, targeted drug delivery and an app that helps research the effect of the Himalayan Balsam plant on British bees.

Northumbria University is a main sponsor of Maker Faire UK. Billed as the greatest show-and-tell on Earth, it is a two-day celebration across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.  A family-friendly gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, hobbyists, engineers, artists and more, the event aims to inspire and enthuse people of all ages.

Once created, Worawut’s smart phone app could be used for initial diagnosis of people living in remote rural areas in developing countries, enabling rural doctors to analyse blood samples and refer patients to the city hospitals for treatment or further investigation.

Worawut said: “Creating a phone app that can perform this screening role would be a low cost and efficient solution to detect leukaemia in remote and resource-poor regions.”
In 2012, approximately 352,000 children and adults around the world developed some form of leukaemia with a similar number dying from the cancer.

Once his project is complete, Worawut hopes it will help to prevent unnecessary deaths from the disease caused by delayed diagnosis and treatment due to poverty or living in remote areas far away from large hospitals and laboratories.

“Our aim is to use the high-performance and technology of smart phones to help in health care,” Worawut added. “Doctors working in remote areas could use the technology to screen patients in their community and refer those with an abnormal result to the larger medical facilities.”

More than 300 Makers will exhibit their work during the international event in front of an anticipated audience in excess of 10,000. Highlights of Maker Faire UK include RoboHand, a huge hydraulically-powered robotic hand able to crush small cars in its grip, and Roboknit – a life-sized humanoid knitting robot.

Linda Conlon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Life, which organises and runs Maker Faire UK, said: “Maker Faire is a celebration of science in all its forms and everyone will find it inspirational.  It’s imaginative and creative, and a truly innovative way to engage with science, technology and engineering – the ideal platform to show young people how exciting it is and how it can help open up a whole world of rewarding careers.  We’re thrilled that Northumbria University is involved not only as main sponsors of the event but as Makers too, showcasing some of their exciting research projects.”

Spotlight On: The Restart Project

Have you ever noticed that your electrical appliances have a habit of breaking just outside of warranty? Imagine, though, if buying new was not the only option – maybe you can fix what you already have?

The Restart Project is a community of fixers who are on a mission to get people mending and they’re coming back to Maker Faire UK in 2014!

Restart was founded in London by Ugo Vallauri and Janet Gunter to combat the fears and misconceptions many people have regarding their ‘broken’ electronics. Ugo explains, “We don’t like it when we see things that end up in a skip, or even recycled by our councils, when they could have a second or third life if only we use some basic repair skills.”

The Restart Project

With manufacturers building obsolescence into their products routinely it can seem as though the cycle of consumption is inevitable – we worry that professional repairers will leave us feeling bamboozled with jargon, or even worse, swindled. Restart believes that the best way to quell such fears is to get people involved directly in the repair process.

They do this by hosting regular ‘Restart Parties.’ Members of the public come with their damaged items and then work alongside a volunteer fixer to find solutions. An initial ‘triage’ stage aims to diagnose by describing the problem, but more often than not, the best way to learn and progress is to disassemble.  As fixer Francis Dove puts it: “the best technicians are nosy.”

The demystifying process is empowering and there’s no reason why anyone can’t be involved. 

Nearly a quarter of all electrical waste in recycling centres is repairable, Ugo suggests. If you’ve got a flat-lining phone or a troublesome toaster, why don’t you bring it along to Maker Faire UK? A Restart Party will take place on Saturday 26 April from 2-5pm in the Welcome Room on the Life Science Centre’s mezzanine floor.

Buy your tickets for Maker Faire UK in advance now.

Philip K. Dick Android Cancellation

We had some disappointing news come in today.

We’re sorry to inform you all that due to circumstances beyond our control, Hanson Robotics are no longer able to attend Maker Faire UK with their Philip K. Dick Android. We apologise for any disappointment that this may cause.

Maker Faire UK still boasts over 100 awesome attractions and promises to be a weekend of wonders for inquisitive minds of all ages. Read about our biggest spectacle yet, the car-crushing Robohand!

Headline Maker: Robohand

We’re very excited to announce that the immense crushing power of Robohand is coming to Maker Faire UK – after all, it’s not every day that you get the chance to see a car being pulverised in the vice-like grasp of a giant robotic fist!

Robohand

Originally commissioned for the 2007 Robodock Festival in the Netherlands, Robohand is the brain-child of American artist Christian Ristow. It’s a gargantuan prospect, 30 times larger than an average human hand and weighing 6000kg. Hydraulically powered fingers give this hand the superhuman strength to crush almost anything put before it.

Robohand was built from recycled scrap-metal and, ironically, due to its huge size, destined only for a return to the junk yard following its festival appearance. Thankfully, a few modifications saved Robohand and now it’s a sustainable and transportable art object which tours internationally, making its Newcastle début at Maker Faire UK.

We’ve had to scour far and wide but nonetheless managed to source a great haul of ‘squeezies’ for Robohand to mangle. Think wardrobes, pianos and of course, cars! As the fantastical centrepiece of our Times Square Showground, it would be a ‘crushing’ shame to miss Robohand on April 26-27 (geddit?). We doubt you will miss it though, seeing as it’s nearly eight metres long!

Book your Maker Faire UK tickets now and make sure you get a glimpse of Robohand at work, along with over 100 other fascinating attractions.

Spotlight on: Agnes Roboknit

Agnes Roboknit is set to return to Maker Faire UK following her head-turning debut in 2013.

Agnes, for those unaware, is a humanoid robot who uses a custom-made steel loom to knit hats and scarves. Eleven electric motors and a network of 8-bit micro-controllers serve to bring her to life with positional feedback for the arms and hands provided via digital encoders and potentiometers. The result is a mesmeric blend of idiosyncratic movement and mechanised precision.

See Agnes in action:

Creator Andy Noyes explains, “I wanted her to look human from a distance, but obviously be a machine closer up, with metal parts on show.” A silicone face and latex hands formed using casts from a real person help to blur the line between woman and machine further still.

Agnes is a peculiar prospect as she stops knitting to glance up at the gathered crowd. Her behaviour is playful but almost dares us to imagine what humanoid nature would be like. Have you ever wondered: “Can a robot have a mind?”

Agnes Roboknit

The name Agnes was inspired by Andy’s grandmother, herself a prolific knitter, but also chosen to evoke the acronyms so dearly loved in the science-fiction community (think KITT from Knight Rider and our favourite, DAVE from Batman). Automated Generic Neck Embellishment Synthesizer is one of the best we’ve seen for Agnes!

Capable of completing a 2m long scarf in just 5 hours, Agnes enthralled Maker Media CEO and Maker Faire founder Dale Dougherty at last year’s festival. He said: “I could watch this captivating robot perform its repetitive sequence over and over…”

You can check out Agnes and over 100 other exhibits at Maker Faire UK 2014 – tickets are on sale now!

April Fool’s

Happy April Fool’s Day everyone!

Did anyone see through our 3D printed sandwich story?

3D Printed Sandwich

Sadly, we’re not using 3D printing technology to produce sandwiches for our cafe – printing sliced white bread, cheese and tomatoes is a bit too advanced, even for us!  However, some pioneers in the fast-growing field of 3D printing are currently developing ways to 3D print edible items.   Here’s an interesting article about current developments: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-01-28/all-the-food-thats-fit-to-3d-print-from-chocolates-to-pizza

Maybe at a future Maker Faire you’ll be able to try some real 3D printed food.

For now, you’ll have to content yourselves with other 3D printed objects – at Maker Faire UK this year you’ll be able to see some real 3D printers in action, and find out about this amazing technology.