Maker Faire Berlin 2015

James Mitchell, who for the past year and a bit has been organising a mean Raspberry Jam Berlin, kindly agreed to represent Raspberry Pi at Maker Faire Berlin 2015 last weekend. It was the first continental European Maker Faire that Raspberry Pi has been to, and it was a fantastic event! Here is James’ round-up of a really busy and very worthwhile weekend.

Last weekend, 3-4 October, Berlin saw its first Maker Faire! As the organiser of the Raspberry Jam here in Berlin I got really excited to hear that finally Maker Faire was coming to town so, I jumped at the chance to represent Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Jam Berlin.

Maker Faire Berlin 2015

The goal was to let people know what the Raspberry Pi is and what it can do. And maybe also to sneak in that there is a Raspberry Jam in Berlin for those looking for support and community.

With a lot of help from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, community leaders like Les Pounder, Jam members and Jam sponsors, plus a whole lot of understanding from my wife, I set about building the booth and the little displays and demos:

  • Motorised spinning flower
  • Jedi or Sith detector
  • Conway’s Game of Life demo
  • Sense HAT demo
  • Internet Connected Goal: with camera, thermal printer and Twitter
  • Tweeting Photobooth
  • Robots: Line-following and Wiimote-controlled
  • Workstations with Minecraft, Scratch and Sonic Pi
  • Timelapse Cameras
  • Cheer Light Demo

Phew – that was a lot of work to set up!

It was extremely important to keep things simple but still show off the potential of the Raspberry Pi. The spinning flower, for example, might not look like much to veteran Pi users, but to someone new it’s showing the start of robotics. It’s showing that with a couple of wires and a motor you can make things move. Each display showed a key feature found in most Raspberry Pi projects: interface, data collection, connectivity and feedback.

Jedi OrSith detector at Maker Faire Berlin 2015

A Raspberry Pi-based Jedi Or Sith detector

A child explains something to an adult at the Raspberry Pi booth at Maker Faire Berlin 2015

A child explains what it’s all about to an adult

To avoid just having a mess of Pi’s on the table I made some display plates (painted 4mm MDF with a lot of holes, held up by sticks). Thanks also goes to Pimoroni for making acrylic versions for me! This kept things neat and also at eye level for kids who would be coming to the booth.

James Mitchell’s post on Vine

Watch James Mitchell’s Vine taken on 4 October 2015. It has 0 likes. Vine is the best way to see and share life in motion. Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see.

Both days got really busy!

Crowd at Maker Faire Berlin 2015

There was a constant stream of people interested in the Pi. Special thanks go to my great team who helped out at the booth: Richard Ruston, Dr. Nana Schön and Florian Merz. Without their help and sunny disposition I don’t think our booth at the Faire would have run nearly as smoothly as it did.

Cannybots at Maker Faire Berlin 2015

Cannybots are programmable robots that you can control with your Pi

Visitors to the Raspberry Pi/Raspberry Jam Berlin booth at Maker Faire Berlin 2015

I did mention further up that we had timelapse cameras running…

Raspberry Pi at Maker Faire Berlin 2015

Raspberry Pi booth timelapse for Maker Faire Berlin October 2015 Music: www.bensound.com

We also won a Maker of Merit ribbon. How awesome is that?

Maker of Merit ribbon at Maker Faire Berlin 2015

What I can take away from the Maker Faire and the people I met is that education is very important to parents in Germany. They are looking for the resources and platforms to equip their kids for today’s technological world, and there are lots of choices out there. But it is all a little fragmented and maybe not always easy to learn. I found appreciation for the Raspberry Pi and what the Foundation is out to achieve. I found kids with wide eyes willing to learn, teachers desperate to teach and makers willing to share. This honestly validates the work that is going into the Raspberry Jam Berlin and makes it clear that I am on the right track.

If you want to help, just get out there, go to your Jams, help out at your Maker Faires, volunteer at your local schools. Keep things simple but awesome. Engage with people and spread the word!

Enormous thanks to James and his team for all the hard work that we know went into representing us at Maker Faire Berlin and showing people what they can do with Raspberry Pi. Everything we’ve seen tells us that it was a great first European Faire, and we’re sure there’ll be more to come!