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Saturday, April 25, 2015

4th Annual Maker Faire Wows, Inspires

By James Lomuscio

From high tech to low tech, innovation was the draw today as more than 6,000 persons came to Jesup Green and the Westport Library for the fourth annual Mini Maker Faire showcasing everything from cardboard box arcade games to The Great Fredini’s full body scans to make 3D statues of those who dared.

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More than 6,000 persons attended today’s Mini Maker Faire, according to organizers. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Under crisp, azure skies, the crowd seemed endless and it moved through the white tents on Jesup Green where 75 booths ranging from Ellen Gang’s dress designs to robotic forklifts, even a Sikorsky-sponsored wind tunnel to demonstrate aircraft liftoff.

In addition to outside booths and demonstrations inside the library, there were “close to 200 people showing off their work,” said Mark Mathias, founder and co-chairman of Westport’s Mini Maker Faire along with Bill Derry, the Library’s director of innovation.

“To me what is interesting is how we touched a positive interest in the community,” Mathias said. “As I see 6,000 people here today, it shows they’re clearly interested in learning, developing and growing.”

He also stressed the diversity among participants and the intergenerational draw.

“This interest applies to everyone,” he said.

For example, Fred Kahl, a.k,a. The Great Fredini is the owner of Scan-a-Rama in Coney Island, N.Y. who is determined to bring what one might perceive as a sideshow to the American mainstream.

For $20, those interested could stand on a metal circle resembling a Star Trek transporter. As it turned, one was sprayed with countless dots of invisible, infra-red light capturing a person’s 3D physical appearance.

To have a 1/13 size statute produced by Kahl, the cost is $60. Or , he could give one a digital photo that could be used on another 3D printer.

“We call it physical photography,” he said.

A much younger, 3D entrepreneur was found on Jesup Green where 12-year-old Blythe Serrano was selling glow-in-the-dark 3D pet collars she designed and produced.

Mathias said that one of the themes of this year’s event was “things that roll,” appropriate since many of the inventors tried to put a different spin on the obvious. Using cardboard, a group of youngsters created a “Human Foosball Table” on the lawn.

David Hodder and Japhia Haylett, both juniors from Bloomfield High School, drew crowds throughout the day with their three-wheeled, battery powered, airplane metal tube framed go-cart said to have clocked 40 mph at Lime Rock.

As he gazed at the curious crowds and passionate inventors, event volunteer Roy Fuchs lauded the mindset that drives creators.

“In effect, they’re content creators, not content consumers,” he said.

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Posted 04/25/15 at 03:19 PM  Permalink



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