Photos: The scenes (and science) from this year’s Maker Faire festival

From cupcake cars to robotic avatars, the San Mateo-born creativity carnival was as engaging (and visual) as ever.

Photos by Federica Armstrong and Amar Dillon

Heady stuff: some young makers put their thinking caps on. (Photos by Federica Armstrong and Amar Dillon)

The 5pm time slot posed a real dilemma. How does one choose? Do you watch the 7,000-pound off-road racing mech, or the Coke Zero and Mentos geyser fountain? The latter was billed as a “mint-powered version of the Bellagio Fountains,” while the former was….well… a 7,000-pound hulking robot (or rather, as its makers call it—The Anti-Robot). Ah…tough choices.

But therein lies the allure and out-and-out awesomeness of the Bay Area-born Maker Faire: an abundance of unique and amazing (and uniquely amazing) creations in every direction throughout the weekend.

From left: “TRY THIS AT HOME!!” The members of Eepy Bird get creative with mentos and diet soda: 540 mentos are dropped into 108 bottles of Coke Zero (diet soda has more carbonation) to create a series of homemade fountains. Right, big crowds gather to see a demonstration of Prosthesis: the Anti-Robot. Prosthesis is the world’s first 100% human controlled, 100% electric powered off-road racing mech. (Photos by Amar Dillion and Federica Armstrong)

Now in its 13th year, the creativity and innovation festival returned to its home stomping ground on the Peninsula — the San Mateo County Events Center—for two highly interactive days of science, art and miscellaneous marvels of many, many kinds.

Now in its 13th year, Maker Faire has a reputation more for hands-on interaction than spectating. (Photo by Amar Dillon)

The list of maker attractions is long, eclectic and wonderfully eccentric: Check out Mechateuthis—the giant mechanical squid—or scope the repurposed rides of the Power Racers as they battle it out on the track, say hi to R2D2, ask Rick where Morty is, learn how to solder (finally!) and get acquainted with Herbie the Mousebot. Much like the mech and the Mentos fountain, it was often a challenge just to fit everything in (though hopefully you did catch the very engaging—and really, uplifting— talk by MythBusters host Adam Savage.)

The Six Fifty made the rounds throughout the weekend to take photos of the many spectacular sights to be found in San Mateo throughout this year’s Maker Faire weekend.

Cyclecide provided pedal-powered carnival rides for the daring, from self-propelled spinning rides to funky bikes. (Photo by Amar Dillon)
Clockwise from top left: In the ‘play’ section of the Nintendo Lab, kids race with the RC cars they have just finished building in the ‘make’ section of the stand; in the Mechatronics Interactive Experience section, high school students from Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy demonstrate and help visitors play with the games they have created to demonstrate concepts of engineering, science and physics. In this section kids play with an augmented reality sand box. Front row for an innovative Newton’s Cradle; in the ‘Learn to Solder’ stand, part of the Make Town area of Makers Faire, kids and adults learn the basics of soldering by making their very own blinky LED pin to wear. (Photos by Federica Armstrong)
Pedal-powered cupcakes spin around Maker Faire. (Photo by Federica Armstrong)
Robots, in many shapes and phases of development, were in abundance at Maker Faire. (Photos by Amar Dillon)
In the Mechatronics Interactive Experience section, high school students from Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy demonstrate and help visitors play with the games they have created to demonstrate concepts of engineering, science and physics. In this section, kids play with an electronic pinball. (Photo by Federica Armstrong)
Clockwise from top left: Power racers get ready to compete in their homemade rides. Their cars are “repurposed” from old power wheels and other motorized toy cars that have been tricked out, but all under a budget of just $500; Students from Learn2T3ch Robotics Club of Bowditch Middle School in Foster City. At the club, students work on robotics projects that are fun and aimed towards solving real-life problems using Python, Arduino & Raspberry Pi. The club was founded by 7th-grade teacher Samarth Ghodke in 2017; Adam Savage of MythBusters gave his Sunday sermon about the importance of sharing invention, avoiding inventing strictly to produce commodity, open source, family and fun! “Pencil and paper are probably the most powerful tools of change ever.”; Carlos Girard, research assistant in R&D department at Galileo University, operates the Telepresence robot with a motion capture suit. The robot has its own locomotion platform that allows him to recognize his surroundings and navigate. You can also talk to him and get preset answers. (Photos by Amar Dillon and Federica Armstrong)
From top: A pedal-powered creature tours the Maker Faire grounds in San Mateo; Andy Tibbetts’s Clock Ship Tere contains a 10-foot hubless front wheel and 33-foot-high mast (which, of course, spews fire); Leo Madrid explains the future of quantum mechanics and the possibilities the power of our thoughts have on changing our daily lives (and even bending time!); Makers making bubbles. (Photos by Federica Armstrong and Amar Dillon)

More photography from the Six Fifty:

Photos: Our favorite costumes (and wacky scenes) from Silicon Valley Comic Con

Cowboys and Crow Hoppers: Scenes from the 2017 Grand National Rodeo

Mastiffs and mohawks: photos of California’s most interactive dog show competition

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THE SIX FIFTY staff

Sometimes our work is a collaborative effort, hence the "staff" byline. The best of what to eat, see and do on the SF Peninsula.

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