We arrived at Maker Faire early on Saturday morning, ready to display and demonstrate several parts of the 10,000 Year Clock to the anticipated 40,000 attendees – and with our table located at one of the main entrances, we were soon surrounded! The Clock mechanisms and Danny Hillis’ blueprints received a lot of attention and when word got around that we had a sphere of almost solid tungsten – many people stopped by to test their strength with it.
Our mechanical bit adder display was hugely popular, and a surprising number of people understood how it worked although many a small child had to be dragged away from the shiny red button that powered it. With visits from enthusiastic members as well as a slew of unacquainted but interested people, the day went by almost too quickly.
For those of you that we not able to attend Maker Faire, let me briefly fill you in. The Faire is sponsored by Make magazine and can be essentially described as a venue for people who “make” – everything from robots to knitted hats. In fact I believe I heard rumor of a knitting robot being the main attraction at next year’s event…
With over 300 exhibitors, demonstrations, classes, lectures and competitions, there was more to do than you could in one weekend! Highlights included Tesla coils, battling robots, bicycle mash-ups, fire trucks shooting concussive blasts from propane-fueled cannons, and a smorgasbord of screen printed t-shirts and felt hats. After an exhausting but fulfilling day I took a little time to reflect on Maker Faire, Makers, and The Long Now Foundation.s place in this milieu of creativity.
In one sense much of the Maker Faire production seems, at first glance, to be a bit of a mess. However, the beauty of Maker Faire lies as much in the processes of inventing, recycling, and transforming things as it does in the final products themselves.
In the midst of all of this The Clock of the Long Now seemed quite serious, and it highlighted the fact that the reasons we have for making things are as varied as we are. In this light each object is a story, and what makes The Clock of the Long Now important and unique, is all of the possibilities for its story.
So if you missed it, don.t worry. The Long Now Foundation plans to be back at the Maker Faire next year, and we hope to try and inspire even more people. Plus, in the spirit of bigger is better we plan to bring down one of our larger prototypes next year.
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