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Big Orange Slide

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

I had fun in Detroit and other shocking tales

August 4, 2011 by Sara Vinten

Illustration by Brian Ross

As creatives, we’re always looking for ways to spark our imagination, stimulate our brains, and reinvigorate our creativity. You might be the kind of person who can do this at a tropical all-inclusive. I, on the other hand, can think of a million things more enticing than being cooped up on hotel grounds with a bunch of tourists. These things include having an annual physical or falling up a flight of stairs.

My brand of creative reinvigoration includes activities like trekking to an isolated corner of the Nevada desert to camp in the raging dust storms of Burning Man, or snorkeling between the tectonic plates in the heart of Iceland. I do these things in the name of seeing something truly unique and inspiring.

This weekend was no exception. This weekend I decided to tangle with Detroit.

I had the pleasure of driving down to suburban Detroit (words I never thought I would ever type) to experience Maker Faire, the world’s largest DIY festival.

A fire-breathing pony, three-dimensional printers, a video playing trench coat, a life-size game of Mousetrap, and a whole bunch of spectacular mutant vehicles. Intrigued? You should be. Here’s a highlight of some of the most awe-inspiring exhibitors.

MakerBots

So you’re probably thinking since when has a printer ever done anything cool? With the exception of the time the colour cartridge exploded, probably never. Enter MakerBot, a printer that can make virtually any 3-D object: toys, jewelry, machine parts, a miniature bust of Bill Murray, you name it. Mind blown.

Super Street Fire

A Toronto-born project from the creative minds of Site3, Super Street Fire is a simulated fighting game in the style of the Street Fighter. Two fighters face off in a circle of flame emitters wearing gloves that interpret their hand gestures, aka their punches, and translate them into fire.

Everything on Wheels

From the towering fire-breathing dragon, to the big bikes, and to cars shaped like cupcakes (photo below, and clearly the wave of the future), Maker Faire had a set of wheels for any taste.

Photo by Sara Vinten

It may sound like a Renaissance fair knock-off, and I don’t suspect that the ample presence of dragons helps that any. But to me, Maker Faire isn’t only the sort of creative atmosphere that charges me up with the delicious miscellany of the kind of things that people make. It’s also the kind of place where these peoples’ dreams are made. Literally. Take that Disney!

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