MAKERCON DAY 2 COVERAGE
By Mitchel Dumlao
Just when I thought I saw and learned some cool things during my first day at MakerCon, I was in for a treat on Day 2. After consuming a deliciously catered breakfast and a much-needed coffee, I walked over to the theater stage to listen to the day's guest speaker line-up.
I caught the 2nd half of Paul Saffo's speech about how technology is feeding a growing Maker Movement that will shape society for the next 20-30 years. His talk was filled with insightful points about the idea of ownership, the endangerment of the job market, and our self-inflicting invasion of privacy through our desire to engage the world in our activities.
Paul was followed by Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry PI, who showed an interested graph about the dip in Cambridge Computer Science Applicants in 2008 that rose to the record amount of applicants today due to the advent of the Raspberry PI and his team's efforts to educate youth and teachers.
The next speaker was Gael Langevin, who amazed me with his 3D Printed Humanoid Animatronic Robot named InMoov. I had seen Gael and his robot in the press room the day earlier, but had no idea of its capabilities. From its voice activated movement to its intuitive audio responses to Gael's questions, I was geeking out in my seat and recollecting the thoughts I had after I had seen the movie EX MACHINA just last week - Robots with AI are coming.
We were treated to a break, which was followed by a presentation about the state of Arduino with co-founder, Massimo Banzi, and senior interaction designer, Alice Pintus. They introduced the new Arduino IDE platform that replaced the old IDE 1.0.x by a more modern and more modular development environment, with a lot of usability improvements for the user.
Harbringer Kang from Cisco then stepped on stage and talked about the company's focus on curbing the youth unemployment problem around the world. With the staggering number of 75 million youth unemployed globally, Cisco has and will continue to educate the future generation of youth to transition from the internet of things to the internet of everything, to help solve future problems and create work for social benefit.
Next up was Dr. Glenn Green from the University of Michigan, who talked about his team's outstanding work in the medical 3D Printing field. With the use of 3D Printing technology, they were able to save the lives of a few children who couldn't breathe properly due to birth defects. 3D printing allowed Dr. Green to create customized splints for the babies' tracheas to open up airways for the struggling children, allowing them to breath regularly. It was an amazing presentation that showed the promise of 3D Printing in the medical field.
Sam Ortega and Steve Gattis from NASA gave a fun and inspiring speech about the governmental organization and our duty to help the space exploration program that we pay for with our tax dollars. They are openly looking for innovators and makers who will assist them in the many problems they are running into to expand humanity's reach in space, offering millions of dollars in prizes to find the missing links. Visit www.nasa.gov.niac for more information.
The rest of the day was filled with more awesome talks about the future of hardware, electronics, and 3D printing. I walked the floor and met a few cool companies. One was Dome Candy, which created a open-source bluetooth speaker. Another was SproutUp - a online community for makers and entrepreneurs who are looking for feedback on their projects.
After a few more panels and guest speakers, I was delighted to listen to the keynote speech by Thud Rumble and Dj Yogafrog. As a big fan of Dj Qbert and the Dj scene, I was happy to hear about their work with Intel to create a laptop-less digital music system that allows Dj's to play and mix music without a computer. The partnership between Thud Rumble and Intel showed the openness of the tech community to venture out to different industries to help solve other issues.
My time at MakerCon was inspiring and entertaining, and left me excited for MakerFaire coming this weekend. I'm happy to be around such open-minded and creative people who are eager to teach the world about new technologies and help society with their creations.
Here are more pictures from MakerCon Day 2