For two days in June dozens of inventors, both young and old, descended on the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem for what was called the Mini Maker Faire. This enabled them to display their inventions as well as giving hundreds of youngsters and their parents (and grandparents) the opportunity to touch, hold, operate and experiment with the various devices.
I was there in my capacity as the proud mother of one of the exhibitors, Eitan Shefer, whose invention displayed his many and varied talents as a designer, musician and computer whiz. His amazing device, the Lagomorph, is a hand-held musical instrument with emphasis on expression and ergonomics. The part that is held in the hand consists of a device that is reminiscent of a joystick with keys that can be pressed to create sounds. In addition, by moving the instrument in the air the nature of the sounds can be altered. A screen displays gauges which indicate the intensity of the movement (and hence of the sound) as well as keys similar to those of a piano which respond to the manipulation of the instrument. Thus, the person playing the instrument is getting both visual and audial feedback. Further development of this feature is being undertaken.
Israel’s Maker movement consists of people who think outside the box and are willing to present their work to audiences of all ages. At the Faire dozens of Makers showed their surprising and unusual creations. Among these was a bathroom chronometer, developed by Hanan Cohen, which measures how much time is spent in the Museum bathrooms. A ‘traffic light’ indicates whether it is ‘safe’ to enter or whether you should wait a bit longer, depending on the length of time spent by the previous occupant.
Also on display were three-dimensional printing methods, produced by Tech Factory Plus, easy3 and Shlomo Hanasi. These printers, which are at the forefront of creativity, provided an opportunity for visitors to watch them work and examine their output.
Another interesting exhibit was the musical salad, concocted by Arnon Gourny, which created a musical work, using kitchen utensils, while a salad was being prepared. This certainly provided a unique culinary and musical experience.
Considerable entertainment was provided by the repeating parrot, developed by Arnon Gourny, in which a group of digital parrots made up a panel that responded to remarks from passersby. It was obvious that a great many people – both children and adults – were having a lot of fun with this item.
Another fascinating exhibit was provided by the Arduino construction kits, displayed by Gil Wismonski, which provided kits for self assembly, thus making it possible to build a remote-controlled car.
And many, many more, too numerous to mention.
On the day I visited the Museum every inch seemed to be occupied by children of all ages and sized admiring and operating the various exhibits. The inventors seemed to be only too happy to show the youngsters how to deploy their creations, as well as to admire one another’s work and share experiences and enthusiasm.
It looked to me as if a good time was had by all.