Unleash your creative side at Dublin Maker

The Dublin event exhibits everything from smart dollhouses to 3D-printed prosthetic limbs

Two of the 50 or so makers showing their creations at Dublin Maker last year were just nine years old, including Ciara Whelan, above, who made a smart dollhouse

Two of the 50 or so makers showing their creations at Dublin Maker last year were just nine years old, including Ciara Whelan, above, who made a smart dollhouse

 

Fancy unleashing your creative side? Then answer the call for Dublin Maker this July. The event will bring together assorted makers to build, hack and generally celebrate their creations.

The annual event started in 2012, when UCD engineer and rocket scientist Dr David McKeown and Dr Tomas Ward from NUI Maynooth University Makers Club organised an event for Dublin City of Science. They linked in with organisations such as the Dublin “hackerspace” TOG and Science Gallery, and the resulting one-day gathering brings together makers of various backgrounds and ages.

Last year, creations on display included a “pet-proof” alarm system, a “skull radio” that allows the user to listen through bone conduction, UV-sensitive bracelets, lock-picking demonstrations and a blending of traditional lace-making techniques with new technologies.

Two of the 50 or so makers showing their creations at Dublin Maker were just nine years old: Ciara Whelan made a smart dollhouse and Sophie Donnan worked on a robot Copycat to copy handwritten texts and drawings, says engineer Laura Tobin, who took part as a marker in the first year and has been helping to organise the event ever since.

Tobin has seen the use of specific technologies in Dublin Maker develop over time. “In 2013, a number of makers were showing off 3D printers and what they could make, like Yoda figures,” she says. “Now we are seeing makers use these 3D printers for really practical things, like E-Nable Tallaght printing off 3D prosthetic hands for children who have been born with partial limbs.”

Last year Dublin Maker attracted more than 10,000 visitors, according to Tobin, who adds that now the event has Science Foundation Ireland funding, it can grow even bigger. “We will have a lot more freedom for larger projects from makers, and we will be able to accommodate more makers.”

Makers are now being sought to take year in this year’s event, and organiser McKeown hopes it will inspire curiosity. “Ideally it will encourage people to try and create something themselves,” he says. “We want to see people making things as a part of local community groups, or working on projects in the shed or the spare bedroom. Whether it is groups of friends trying their hand at home-brewing beers or fathers and daughters making robots, we hope people try things out.”

  • Dublin Maker takes place on July 23rd in Merrion Square, Dublin. dublinmaker.ie

Spaced-out weekend

Another creative event taking place this month, Nasa’s International Space Apps Challenge, is one of the biggest global hackathons in the world, says Cian O’Cuilleanain. “Teams of technologists, scientists, designers and entrepreneurs work together to develop answers to some of the most pressing challenges on Earth and in space, using Nasa’s open data resources,” says O’Cuilleanain, co-founder of Baily Labs, a software startup that is sponsoring the Dublin Space Apps Challenge event.

“This year’s challenges include problems relevant to 3D printing, air quality, games, aviation, drones, space fashion, design, storytelling, space history, data science and virtual reality.”

Introductions and brainstorming on the Friday will lead to group work over the weekend, he says: “A local winning pitch selected on Sunday evening will advance to the final round of the global awards.”

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