AppsLab at the Maker Faire

May 19th, 2014 Leave a Comment

Last week was Maker Week for us, and the culmination was the Maker Faire over the weekend.

This was my first Maker Faire, and wow was it an absolute blast. I highly recommend taking in one of their events if there’s one in your town. Perhaps the best attribute of the Maker Faire is that it includes not just technology, but also handicrafts, woodcraft, pretty much every kind of craft. Walking around, you can feel the passion of everyone there, and it’s infectious.

Anyway, Oracle and Java were present in a big way at the Faire, and our team’s role was to build the DIY activity for the Java area in the Expo Center. Noel (@noelportugal) created an activity he calls “If this, then Pi” which pays homage to one of our favorite services, IFTTT, and highlights the power of Raspberry Pi and Embedded Java.

IFTTPi takes an input:

And does something:

IMG_20140517_085236

Noel’s if-this-then-pi console

Noel and a few of the guys (Anthony, Raymond, Tony) put all this together in less than a month with some inspiration and guidance from Hinkmond Wong. Aside from showcasing Embedded Java on the Raspi, the overall goal was to show how actions can trigger IoT events with limited human interaction.

Aside from some network hiccups, the DIY activity was a big hit. We also brought along Noel’s Raspi target to entertain kids of all ages.

Noel also gave a short talk on Saturday, check it out here or on YouTube:

As he promises in the video, Noel expects to share the code he and the guys wrote for IFTTPi soon, and I’m going to nag him for a technical post on the whole shebang, sooner than later.

A nostalgic note, both Paul (@ppedrazzi) and Rich (@rmanalan) were at Maker Faire on Saturday, and they happened to come visit us at Java DIY area, creating an impromptu AppsLab reunion. Great to see those guys. They helped lay the groundwork for what we’re doing today.

Update: Almost forgot my favorite story from Saturday. We were in the Expo Hall, no AC, and it was hot and stuffy. Someone asked facilities if the doors could be opened to let some breeze into our area. Facilities said they had no more doorstops, and a guy said he could print some up on his 3D printer. I don’t know if he did, but the doors were eventually opened.

You wouldn’t get that kind of answer at any other event. Hilarious and very typical of the Maker Faire. No problems, only solutions.

Another update: We plan to take a scaled-down version of IFTTPi on the road with us to conferences, so look for it, possibly as soon as at Kscope 14 next month.

Enjoy some shots I took around the Faire and find the comments.

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