Making Queens the Faire-ly Weird New Stomping Ground for Innovation

September 16, 2011 at 6:00 am

Even the creators of the World Maker Faire admit to having trouble defining it. Think combination engineering conference, science center, Burning Man, TED Talk, 1939 World’s Fair and early ’90s Nickelodeon show. The general idea is to bring together DIY creators from disparate backgrounds and practices in order to share ideas, often with splendidly strange results..

While makers from the world-over will be in attendance, some of the coolest inventions this year come from our own backyard.

Here’s a sampling of what you can do with local inventors at the “faire”:

  • Repurpose Junk: One man’s box of decaying cereal is another man’s rocket. RePlayGround turns literal garbage into operable crafts. At the Faire, they’ll teach you to turn bottle caps into lockets, and experiment with a large interactive trash-art project of mysterious proportions.
  • Fly a Plane:Brooklyn Aerodrome creates maneuverable remote-control planes from cardboard, credit cards and other household items. They will host a workshop where you can learn to build and fly planes made out of fruit, thus answering a question that has plagued man since ancient times.


Brooklyn Aerodrome flies planes at the 2010 Maker Faire. In preparation for the 2011 Faire, consider the banana-plane. Video courtesy of New York Hall of Science.

  • Prototype Anything: Retired tech teacher John Abbella of Bot Builder will host the 3D Printing Village. Participants will learn how to use a 3D printer to fabricate a prototype for your invention. There will also be lessons in robot building, if you wish to fabricate a robot army. Science: perpetually hustling toward a robocalypse.
  • Pump for a Sustainable Future: Eyebeam Art + Technology Center fellow-in-residency Maria Michail introduces The Handcar Project, human-powered machines designed to address competing land-use issues. Could hammering away at these steampunk-esque machines unlock the key to planetary resource quandaries?


Maria Michail users her handcar to create solar energy. Video courtesy of New York hall of Science.

  • Groove on Some Weird Goo: It’s nearly impossible to make the following sentence sound less sexy: the New York Hall of Science’s own “Explainers” team invites you to robotically wiggle their Oobleck, a non-Newtonian fluid that possesses both solid and liquid properties. Stay weird, science.


New York Hall of Science’s non-Newtonian Oobleck, trance-inducing when wiggled. Video courtesy of New York Hall of Science.