SAN MATEO, Calif.--"They're putting Josh in the cage!"
It was early this afternoon, and a group of school kids were excitedly screaming those words over and over. And it was true. A kid called Josh was being put inside a cage that was part of a performance by a group called Arc Attack. Soon, the cage would be bombarded with electricity from two of Arc Attack's signing Tesla coils. No Joshes would be harmed in this experiment. But an awful lot of grinning would be done.
This is Maker Faire. Well, almost. The famous DIY festival begins in earnest tomorrow morning, and over the course of the weekend, in excess of 100,000 people may well get themselves to the San Mateo County Event Center here to see countless examples of do-it-yourself robotics; 3D printing; steampunk kinetic sculptures; and much, much more.
But today was setup day, the day the thousands of so-called "makers" arrive, drop their gear, and start building the projects they'll show the tens of thousands of visitors over the next two days. Being at Maker Faire on setup day is both a treat--it's always great to see the process behind something as cool as Maker Faire, and it's nice not to have to compete with 50,000 people to see something--and a curse: Only about half the projects are finished.
One thing that's definitely cool about being on hand for setup day is that each and every time you return to a specific spot, there's more there than there was the last time you went by. Even if that was just 30 minutes ago. A steady stream of trucks, vans, cars, and other conveyances arrive, and with them, the festival comes to life.
Maker Faire started here in 2006, and is now a worldwide phenomenon. From 20,000 visitors that first year to 80,000-plus last year, attendance figures are now expected to hit six figures. At the same time, the festival has planted its flag in other cities, such as Austin and New York. … Read more