Visiting Maker Faire Taipei 2016 – Part 2 – The Presentations

One of the most important and interesting aspects of Maker Faires are to sit in and hear from the assortment of speakers who come to share about their experiences and work in their various Maker related endeavors. Due to the wide range of cool things to check out, it’s not humanly possible to sit in and listen to all of the sharing but for the 3 speakers below, they shared many interesting ideas and thoughts about how they are involved in the maker moment and also the work their various organizations have done!

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Masato Takemura from a Take-Space, Fablab Hamamatsu shared about the advent of his space and that various projects which they work on over there.With a unbridled enthusiasm he shared about the background and various types of projects and initiatives which they run over at their Fablab.

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Hamamatsu city (in the western Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan) is an industrial city home to a number of manufacturing companies such as the likes of Roland Corporation, Suzuki Motor Co., Yamaha and Hamamatsu Photonics. Nestled between the industrial and residential areas of the city, and somewhat near the agricultural area, the folks at Take-Space try to innovate in the areas of argicultural technologies and lately, in bio-tech and bio-hacking.

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One example of using 3d printing by the members from Take-Space is to put in models of protein molecules and printing it out to allow for 360 views of it. Seems like some of the models were also printed in glow-in-the-dark materials – nifty! More on the bio work which they are involved in, there are also connected to a global network of organizations and space which are promoting the use of more readily available tools and methods to start “wetware” exploration into biological and chemical materials

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The next speaker who shared about the stuff they do was Fiona from Makerbay, whom we had the fortune of visiting previously.

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She shared about how before MakerBay was started in Hong Kong, there wasn’t really a place where Makers and folks from all walks of life (entreprenuers, artists, dreatives, designers .. .etc) were able to come together and work on their projects. And at the beginning, it was difficult to explain the idea and concept of a Makerspace to most people, who would mistake it to be just another workshop or incubator.

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Now after operating for some time, they have found that areas of Maker Education (focusing more on the process/journey as opposed to the destination/outcome) and the Entrepreneurial Support as two of the main areas they look at.

Now, they also do more hosting of corporate visits where firms like to give their staff a chance to create things and build their innovation skills, helping with the setup of similar maker spaces in other organizations (hint – it does not have to be a costly endeavor!), as well as educational course for younger children and students. Makes one not help it but admire their drive of making things happen.

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On the schedule for Sunday, managed to catch Eric Pan from Seeed Studios/Chaihuo Makerspace (柴火创客空间). Based in the Shenzhen where most of the main electronics and other component manufacturers are based, they also organize the ShenZhen Maker Faire (more on that later). At the start of their makerspace, it was a community of like-minded folks coming together to hang out, share ideas and build projects. And as the progression of the Maker Movement and word of its philosophy spread, more and more people become enamored with the idea of visiting and checking out what this is all about – from individuals to corporate to even government agencies.

However, one of the side effects of this was that it may crowd out the original group of folks who were just more interested in getting their projects put together and pushing their innovations forward. Now, there is a great spotlight on things and even to the extent where the mere word or label Maker has become a “sexy” terms which people and businesses like to apply to themselves. Even so, Eric feels that the work to help bring up the next generation of makers should continue and that there can be balance between the veterans and how they can continue to stay open to the new-comers who like to begin working and making their projects and dreams come to fruition.

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Another particularly interesting point Eric out forth was the relationship and the respective strengths which Shenzhen and Taiwan had; and how makers from both sides could work with one others. Shenzhen has the link to the market as well as the pool of engineering and supply chain talents and infrastructure setup. On the other hand, Taipei has the kind of culture, design approach and talent combined with core technology and know-how which can add tremendous value to projects. Together, it makes for an interesting combination on how things can be done.

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Now, in terms of looking into the next thing which will happen – Maker Faire Shenzhen 2016 is coming up on 21 – 23 Oct 2016! It’s still a couple of months down the road from now but perhaps, just perhaps, we will be planning a (group?) trip to check out the awesomeness there!

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