Category Archives: As seen on MAKE

Take those old pennies and make something new!

Wondering what to do with your pockets of soon-to-be-useless pennies? The Vancouver Design Nerds will be hosting a “Penny Nerd Jam” at this year’s Maker Faire, and will invite participants to turn pennies in to fantabulous objects! The jam will be happening for an hour on both Saturday and Sunday. More details on the timing of that jam to come.

We found a pretty stellar re-use of them from Shane Walton. It takes some time, but so do all things worthwhile and shiny.

Check out how to make it here


Photo by Shane Walton


Inspiring Makers — Ladyada Takes One Giant Step for Womankind


Limor Fried, or Ladyada as she’s better known in geekspeak, is a prolific maker, engineer, kit maker, entrepreneur, MAKE advisory board member and open source hardware pioneer.


In an exciting blessing for makers and female engineers, Fried graced the April cover of WIRED magazine: a publication that’s been around for 18 years. This is the first time a female engineer has ever been featured on the cover.


MAKE Magazine called it a milestone for makers, for women, for engineers, and anyone who makes things for a living.


Fried was also interviewed this year on CBC’s Spark by host Nora Young. She defines what a Maker is, and touches on some amazing projects she’s got her eye on for the future.


“A maker is the new hobbiest. It’s someone who likes to build stuff with their hands and with tools,” Fried says. “I work a lot with electronics makers, people who really like to build electronics, both from scratch, and to take stuff off the shelf and modify and manipulate it to make it do cool and awesome stuff.”


Cool and awesome indeed. Though she’s one of the most talented, hard-working and intelligent voices in the maker community, one of the best things about Ladyada is that she’s female, and she embraces it.



As she explains to CBC:


“I just love glam. I wanna go out there and be crazy and blinky and awesome and have a good time.”




After first talking about the importance of open source software and hardware (that’s how she learned her stuff), Fried talks about her own clothing line using wearable computing. This is clothing with embedded coloured lights that allows the wearer to feature a movie, favourite team colours, or other more elegant displays using layers of softly lighted fabric to create a stunning visual display.


And what if she gets lost?


Fried also has an idea for a handbag that would harness GPS powers to tell the wearer which direction to walk in.




If you’re still not convinced that Ladyada is awesome, take a gander at her website The site receives about 3000 unique visitors each day, and logs an average of 20G of traffic per day. After taking a peek around her site, it’s easy to see why.


There’s a veritable feast of information on how to make/deconstruct/hack/recreate different electronic items, all with her trademark upbeat, step-by-step instructions.


Two of my favourite projects are the Minty Boost: a portable USB charger, and the x0xb0x: a digital synthesizer.


The Minty Boost is a small-yet-powerful USB charger for your mp3 player, camera, cell phone, and pretty much any other gadget that plugs into a USB port to charge. And it all fits neatly into an Altoids tin.



You can order the kit from Adafruit Industries, Fried’s webshop. With a few basic souldering skills and your own discarded tin, you can make your very own Minty Boost for about 20 bucks.


And once you’re done, just sit back, relax, and watch your electronics come to life!


The x0xb0x is substantially more complicated.


x0xb0x (pronounced “zocks box”) is a full reproduction of the original Roland synthesizer with a fully functional sequencer. The sequencer can be programmed just like the original, and can be used to control other synthesizers using one of its various output formats.



The x0xb0x boasts 128 banks of track memory and 64 banks of pattern memory, which are stored in onboard EEPROM.


And, of course, it’s got no less than 40 LEDs.


“Crazy and blinky and awesome!”


In Fried’s words:


“Electronics is now the new palatte. It’s the new way for us to modify, hack, explore… It’s great for everyone to know how to fix the things around them, or upgrade the things around them… [because] everything that you fix is another thing that isn’t being thrown away.”


Amen sister. Now how do I join your official fan club?


Photo credits:

Wired Cover — Courtesy of

Fried with x0xb0x — Courtesy of

Minty Boost and x0xb0x — Courtesy of


Open Up the Box with Mini Maker Faire Toronto

Check out this awesome video that was created at Mini Maker Faire Toronto. Looks like the event was a great success!!



Makers: Mini Maker Faire Toronto from Ryan Varga on Vimeo.


As seen on Make Magazine: Why Educators Want to Attend Maker Faire

Post by Emily Smith

Featured on the MAKE blog yesterday is an article about why Maker Faire is such a great fit for educators. Check out some of the testimonials here.



Some testimonials from various educators (via MAKE):


“Maker Faire is a great opportunity to get my students out from behind the computer and put their ideas into the world in a tactile way.”
—Brian A., college professor of art and computer science, Emeryville, Calif.


“I am always inspired and motivated (a hard thing to do at the end of a school year!) from all the new approaches to materials and sharing. Makes for great material to chew on over the summer and apply in the next fall’s lessons. I just photograph and download on my computer as an ‘inspired images’ album.”
—Kirsten J., high school teacher and college professor of art, San Francisco, Calif.



“Maker Faire exemplifies the best coming together of creativity and science. As a teacher I feel it is not only important to convey theories, laws, and equations to my students, but also give them a sense of what can be achieved by the power of these scientific ideas that they can relate to in their day-to-day lives.” —Thanh-Lam N., high school science teacher, San Jose, Calif.


See more testimonials on MAKE Magazine.


If you’re in the Bay area the weekend of May 22nd and 23rd, get your tickets for Maker Faire San Francisco today! Just one more day for early bird passes