Good Thinking

The makings of Maker Faire Tokyo 2015

The makings of Maker Faire Tok...
Maker Faire Tokyo 2015 covered everything from electronics to robots, vehicles, music, space, science and art
Maker Faire Tokyo 2015 covered everything from electronics to robots, vehicles, music, space, science and art
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Maker Faire Tokyo 2015 saw around 13,000 people view 300 pieces of creative work
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Maker Faire Tokyo 2015 saw around 13,000 people view 300 pieces of creative work
Pepper the robot showed its versatility through a workshop of designers - here one plays the part of a traditional Japanese Summer festival dancer
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Pepper the robot showed its versatility through a workshop of designers - here one plays the part of a traditional Japanese Summer festival dancer
These small robots are DIY RAPIRO`s that run on Raspberry Pi
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These small robots are DIY RAPIRO`s that run on Raspberry Pi
ARMmbed is an organization that provides assistance in the digital world on a variety of levels ... and makes some cool wooden building blocks
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ARMmbed is an organization that provides assistance in the digital world on a variety of levels ... and makes some cool wooden building blocks
AgIC (half of the chemical symbol for silver) aims to electrify your creativity and make your card designs into a circuit, either by a printer or an erasable pen
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AgIC (half of the chemical symbol for silver) aims to electrify your creativity and make your card designs into a circuit, either by a printer or an erasable pen
The Maker Faire isn't all about servos and 3D printing – this polypipe-framed bike is a case in point
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The Maker Faire isn't all about servos and 3D printing – this polypipe-framed bike is a case in point
Is this the world's cheapest home-theater? Feature on crowd funding website Makuake, Solo Theater is a cardboard box with a mount for iPhone or iPad that you put your head in the box ... simple!
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Is this the world's cheapest home-theater? Feature on crowd funding website Makuake, Solo Theater is a cardboard box with a mount for iPhone or iPad that you put your head in the box ... simple!
Maker-made watercraft negotiating the "rapids" at the Faire
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Maker-made watercraft negotiating the "rapids" at the Faire
Godzilla vs. racing mini-sub ... Godzilla won
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Godzilla vs. racing mini-sub ... Godzilla won
Maker Faire Tokyo 2015 covered everything from electronics to robots, vehicles, music, space, science and art
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Maker Faire Tokyo 2015 covered everything from electronics to robots, vehicles, music, space, science and art
Young children get creative with newspaper and tape at Maker Faire Tokyo 2015
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Young children get creative with newspaper and tape at Maker Faire Tokyo 2015
The TakotsuboX_VR is a head-mount for iPhone 6 designed by a UTB and produced on a 3D printer
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The TakotsuboX_VR is a head-mount for iPhone 6 designed by a UTB and produced on a 3D printer
The Sunny Finder plant pot by a company called Team8 will follow the light where ever it goes
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The Sunny Finder plant pot by a company called Team8 will follow the light where ever it goes
A Bento-box is your lunch box in Japan – the XBEN keeps your meal in a 3D jigsaw like container and incorporates sensing technology and LED illumination
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A Bento-box is your lunch box in Japan – the XBEN keeps your meal in a 3D jigsaw like container and incorporates sensing technology and LED illumination
The slightly annoyed looking Tony Robot giving cooking lessons
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The slightly annoyed looking Tony Robot giving cooking lessons
The Bezelie "TV-Reaction Robots" are designed to make you happier when watching TV
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The Bezelie "TV-Reaction Robots" are designed to make you happier when watching TV
These shoes by Orphe take a dancer's movement and turn it into a light show
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These shoes by Orphe take a dancer's movement and turn it into a light show
The Slime Synthesizer produces notes when it is pulled up from the base or drops down from the top – a truly eerie creation by Yumi Sasaki
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The Slime Synthesizer produces notes when it is pulled up from the base or drops down from the top – a truly eerie creation by Yumi Sasaki
Produced by a company called Koozyt Inc., this system uses four cameras mounted in a circle to provide a 360 sweep of a boardroom meeting and decides whether the participants are happy or not
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Produced by a company called Koozyt Inc., this system uses four cameras mounted in a circle to provide a 360 sweep of a boardroom meeting and decides whether the participants are happy or not
This creation uses motion sensors to detect and then move a bionic hand that has inflatable fingers
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This creation uses motion sensors to detect and then move a bionic hand that has inflatable fingers
This walking millipede-like robot from Shellmo.org is an open source robot platform for hobby and educational use
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This walking millipede-like robot from Shellmo.org is an open source robot platform for hobby and educational use
At the Yukai Engineering Robot Company stand we encountered the iDoll, a programmable dancing Doll that can perform as a dancing group, and the BOCCO, a communication robot that helps a busy family keep in touch by text and voice
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At the Yukai Engineering Robot Company stand we encountered the iDoll, a programmable dancing Doll that can perform as a dancing group, and the BOCCO, a communication robot that helps a busy family keep in touch by text and voice
This robot can uses its nimble fingers to tackle the Rubix cube
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This robot can uses its nimble fingers to tackle the Rubix cube
Running on un by a Raspberry Pi B+, the Logistics Conveyor Machine is a replica of the robot used in the Japanese animation "ARISE - the Ghost in the Shell"
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Running on un by a Raspberry Pi B+, the Logistics Conveyor Machine is a replica of the robot used in the Japanese animation "ARISE - the Ghost in the Shell"
Star Wars Jedi Training device
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Star Wars Jedi Training device
Mononome is designed to make normal household products come alive via the Internet of Things
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Mononome is designed to make normal household products come alive via the Internet of Things
Mononome is designed to make normal household products come alive via the Internet of Things
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Mononome is designed to make normal household products come alive via the Internet of Things
Still at prototype stage (unfortunately) the Thundrblade electric powered inline skate base clips onto your favorite boots – they feature regenerative braking and is operated through a wireless controller
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Still at prototype stage (unfortunately) the Thundrblade electric powered inline skate base clips onto your favorite boots – they feature regenerative braking and is operated through a wireless controller
The Momonome - eyes for the Internet of Things
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The Momonome - eyes for the Internet of Things
A Lego business card dispenser ... a Lego toilet roll holder was also on display
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A Lego business card dispenser ... a Lego toilet roll holder was also on display
Sharp ultra-thin IGZO display (or technically, transparent compound semiconductor) was shown on this stand sponsored by iAX
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Sharp ultra-thin IGZO display (or technically, transparent compound semiconductor) was shown on this stand sponsored by iAX
Amazing wooden creations from Kinohaguruma
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Amazing wooden creations from Kinohaguruma
This amazing six-wing creation is from a group called Mayoneko-micro slow fly
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This amazing six-wing creation is from a group called Mayoneko-micro slow fly
Mayoneko's six-wing creation being launched
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Mayoneko's six-wing creation being launched
The Mugbot social robot interacts with sight and sound, as well as vibration
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The Mugbot social robot interacts with sight and sound, as well as vibration
High above the event, a watchful eye was kept by this balloon-mounted a camera which beamed live images back to an iPhone
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High above the event, a watchful eye was kept by this balloon-mounted a camera which beamed live images back to an iPhone
Pepper the robot puts a self-portrait on a cup of coffee
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Pepper the robot puts a self-portrait on a cup of coffee
Show work proved a little tiring for the Peppers – huddled here for a group recharge
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Show work proved a little tiring for the Peppers – huddled here for a group recharge
The E-cat kit by Fabmobi turns a wheelbarrow into a transport appliance
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The E-cat kit by Fabmobi turns a wheelbarrow into a transport appliance
A wooden excavator from Kinohaguruma
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A wooden excavator from Kinohaguruma
A closeup just shows how complex and well made these models are
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A closeup just shows how complex and well made these models are
The Kinohaguruma Excavator, with two levers for controlling the bucket and the arm
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The Kinohaguruma Excavator, with two levers for controlling the bucket and the arm
The Kinohaguruma Excavator in action
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The Kinohaguruma Excavator in action
Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz promoting the Japanese version of their "Amazing Science Book"
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Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz promoting the Japanese version of their "Amazing Science Book"
A full size R2-D2 kit from Astromech
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A full size R2-D2 kit from Astromech
R2-D2 parts laid out ready to assemble
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R2-D2 parts laid out ready to assemble

Lying somewhere between an exhibition of school science projects and a presentation of company R&D concepts, Maker Faires provide a window into a world of ingenuity and creativity where talented "hands-on" types let their imaginations run wild. So what did Maker Faire Tokyo 2015 have in store?

In Japan, these events have been educatingand entertaining people for a number of years now. Maker Faire Tokyo 2015, organized now by makezine.jp (Japanese only), began as a smallgathering of about 100 visitors and Makers as the Make: Tokyo Meeting in 2001. Fourteen years later, it is anevent that over two days sees around 13,000 people view 300 pieces of creative work.

For Maker Faire Tokyo 2015, the ideas andevents were organized into ten basic sections covering everything from electronics (the biggest) to robots and vehicles, music, space and science/craft/art. Particular emphasis was put on kids education – projects designed to help inspire scientistsand electronics engineers of the future.

Major sponsors and large companieshad an area devoted to them, while all of the other exhibits were mixedtogether. Within this mix you could find everything from intricate 3D-printed products to delicate handmade creations. Some ideas were simply held together by tapeand sheer enthusiasm.

Here's a quick look at some of our favorite projects:

Wooden wonders

Amazing wooden creations from Kinohaguruma
Amazing wooden creations from Kinohaguruma

A company called Kinohaguruma showed a number of magnificent mechanical models made from wood, including a fullyworking crane and bulldozer. All built totally by hand, these large toy machines are controlled by just two levers, each with four waymovement, that provides a high degree of control – a point proved by some amazingtower building demonstrations.

Air swimming

Mayoneko's six-wing creation being launched
Mayoneko's six-wing creation being launched

This graceful winged creature by mayoneko is a true experiment in aeronautics. The group makes available its designs for fixed-wing, rotor-craft and waterborne rc creations so they can be built on 3D printers. The kit for the 6-wing craft shown can also be bought for about JPY60,000 or US$483. The craft are best suited for indoor flight and it was a delight to see them in action at the Maker Faire.

Trainingfor Jedi’s

Jedi Training Device

Star Wars is coming (again) and here is atraining aid to get your Jedi reflexes in shape. The Jedi Training Device uses small lasers in the light-saber that enable you to hit targets on a screen.

Built by a company called TAC, the latest version is designed to leave the word "Stars Wars" writtenin the air when you swing it in an arc. It also makes a light-saber crashnoise when you hit something with the blade. Unfortunately, there's no word on whether budding Jedi's will be able to get their hands on one anytime soon.

Household characters

Mononome is designed to make normal household products come alive via the Internet of Things
Mononome is designed to make normal household products come alive via the Internet of Things

Injecting character into normaleveryday items is a Japanese specialty. This example, the Mononome, is a stick-on device shaped like a pair of eyes that adds personality to the Internet of Things by monitoring items it is attached to. Examples of how Mononome could be used include monitoring the temperature inside a fridge or putting on a lonely expression on a chair when it's empty.

Buildingyour own bug

This walking millipede-like robot from Shellmo.org is an open source robot platform for hobby and educational use
This walking millipede-like robot from Shellmo.org is an open source robot platform for hobby and educational use

In Japan, collecting and keepingbugs and insects is a popular pastime. The Shellmo Project makes home entomologists into home roboticists by allowing you to make your own robot bugs from an open source platform. Many different variations can be created using the basic kit and the critters can be given an authentic walking gait.

This brief selection represents just a fraction of the intriguing projects on display – you can continue the tour by clicking through to our Maker Faire Tokyo 2015 photo gallery.More information: Maker Faire Tokyo 2015 (Japanese only)

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