Last weekend I visited Maker Faire Rome at the Fiera di Roma venue in Italy.  Please read my article Maker Faire Rome: A Firing of Minds and a Launch of Innovation.

I have been covering the Call for Makers in Ireland for this event, so when I had the opportunity to meet some of the Irish attendees, I jumped at it.  Get a run down of some of the Makers at this years event:

Stevie the Robot 

I met up with the lads and 1 young lady in the Robotics section of Maker Faire Rome from Trinity College Dublin who had brought their project Stevie.  The team is headed by Professor Conor McGinn and he spent some time explaining to me the motivation behind the project and the steps they have taken to get here.  With the strides of improvements in health, people are living longer and requiring assistance for longer.  Although this is not the only sector they field an interest in, Healthcare has been seen as a vibrant area for Stevie to be inserted into.

Stevie has been built to be an an aide for care staff and for the elderly as well.  Staff would utilise him for monitoring the health and wellbeing of their residents and the residents would see him as a presence and response to call.  The robot can help with switching lights on and off and reminding them to have their medication among many other things.  He also records the “norms” of who is tasked to monitor and when they fall out of those, he can report directly to a monitoring station that he is connected too that something is wrong.

They are now working together with Alone to better meet the requirements of this sector and they have plans to take this to America in the coming months.  More on that to follow….

Wia (Like Hiya)

I also met up with Irish Maker Conall Laverty and Austin Spivey at their stand and after spending a few minutes trying to work out how to pronounce the business name we got down to business.

Conall Laverty and Austin Spivey

Wia Technologies Ltd are based in Dogpatch Labs, The CHQ Building, Dublin.  They help developers build things and connect them to the internet in a nutshell.  The platform can connect any device either Arduino or Raspberry Pie or any sort of IoT and have it hooked up to the cloud within a few minutes.  Conall mentioned thermostats and facial recognition cameras have been hooked up in the past, which are made possible through integrations with other cloud platforms too.

Conall mentioned that the story of Wia began when his bike was stolen from 2 stories under ground and he decided to build a tracker that would work under those really harsh conditions.  Whilst doing this he realised he could turn this into something really useful and went on to build a platform that anyone could add an IoT device too.

It is a platform that you can sign up for free and plug in to and simply get going in a few minutes.  He mentioned in the coming weeks they will be launching a new hardware which will enable hardware developers to go from the typical 30-40 minutes set up time to just 2 minutes.

They have also launched Wia Studios.  This helps companies rapidly build prototypes as they had noticed that in the industry it typically takes companies about 9 to 10 months to build a hardware prototype.  This product has brought that down to about 6 weeks.

He noticed a while ago that the IoT processes are broken and with his background as a developer he wanted to update these processes and make it easier all over for the end user.

MakerMeet.ie

This ingenious bit of kit is by MakerMeet.ie and I met up with Chris and Pam from the team.  They have made this kit possible from a few washers, bamboo sticks and some specially made plastic connectors.  That being said, the work that went into creating it looked exhausting!

Each of these paper domes were created by hand and an awful lot of glue during the Summer by Pam.  It was their way of measuring how to create a geodesic dome that had mathematical values.  To reach the final dome they used three different lengths of bamboo which gives it distinctive shape.

As they personally come from a educating background themselves, they wanted to find new and innovative ways to bring STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths)  techniques to the classroom.  These domes are a relatively lightweight kit that can be built as part of a team effort within the class room or playground and are sturdy enough to be kept outside.

It certainly caught the eye of kids and educators alike during my visit to Maker Faire Rome and they held regular workshops within it as well.

Skull Radio

This was certainly an interesting way to capture the imagination of the attendees.  I first met Jeffrey Roe at Re:Publica in Berlin last year and again in Dublin Maker.

This was made by Jeffrey to show how vibrations travel through the skull so that you can hear it.  Needless to the say the choice of the Beachboys “Good Vibrations” was probably a sensible one.  You simply add a cut straw over the metal tubing, place both in between your teeth, cover your ears with your hands and he switches it on.

The footfall at the venue was high over the course of the few days and plenty of people have commented, tweeted and watched what they were showing.  I hope to see each of the makers build on the event and have further updates on their progress over time.

Watch out for further articles to come from Maker Faire Rome 2018.

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