Maker Faire Singapore 2018, the playground of all DIY and Inventorship was held at Our Tampines Hub. I previously introduced it on my blog a couple of weeks back to drum up interest. It is held a spanking new venue in the eastern part of Singapore for this year. Welcome to the Tampines Hub Hall. The hub comprises of non air-conditioned floors.

Moreover, it reminds you vaguely of the Westgate Eco mall with a similar open air-design. A feature of the Tampines hub is an integrated one, with many social amenities, multiple purpose halls as well as a soccer field all under one roof.

A new venue at Our Tampines Hub

Welcome to Tampines Hub!
Welcome to Tampines Hub!

Thankfully, with the shearing outdoor heat this year, the entire Maker Faire hall is air-conditioned. It is tucked on the third floor of the expansive massive structure. Last year’s Maker Faire had a mix of indoor and outdoor sectors. Also, similarly, as with every Maker Faire, admission entry was free to senior citizens.

Additionally, this time, Tampines residents of all ages get free entry. Moreover, with this being a Tampines heartland event. Also, regular entry for adults is $10 for either of two weekend days, or $15 for both days. Also, you will be affixed with a blue public wrist band for entry. Exhibitors are identified by badges and a red wristband.

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Entrance to this year’s Maker Faire
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Event hall map
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Games for all!

The Faire grounds

In a nutshell, the fair is tad like a large school science fair, with a strong spirit of sharing. Additionally, Maker Faire has its roots from the United States almost over a decade ago. Here, like-minded inventors get together once a year in a convention-style manner to share their creations, knowledge and techniques openly. However, sadly this openness to share is not largely ingrained into Singapore capitalist culture, hence its slow culture adoption. The annual event is similarly organised by Singapore Science center.

Overview booths in the multi-purpose hall
Overview booths in the multi-purpose hall.

Moreover, the hall is laid out with 3 straight aisles running the entire length of the multi-purpose halls. There is only one entrance in and out of the hall. Here, you see an assortment of booth entities scattered around the hall. Also, the displays here are brought to you from a variety of makers. Notably, here, we have independent makers, government entities to promoting science and engineering interest groups and careers. Moreover, you have societies and interest groups, as well as schools and tertiary institutions.

Independent makers at large

Furthermore, there are a number of independent makers present. Each has their own quirky range of inventions to share. Notable ones includes the Singapore Rubber band guns enthusiasts, drone flying fans and Polytechnics project showcases. The rubber ban gun has on display their laser-cut wooden rubber band gun shooting range. Interestingly, Tinker tanker was around to showcase their Microbit enabled laser canon too.

Tinker tanker guns
Tinker tanker guns

Moreover, I found a group encouraging healthy living through a series of motion detection devices. This works by keeping you moving and on your feet through prompts. Furthermore, you see inventions such as a chair which slides you off if you sit on it for too long. Additionally, there are Microbit (a micro-controller) powered slippers and shoes which buzzes your feet if it detects if you are inactive, coaxing you to move around.

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Dont’ fall off your chair!
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Edible spoons anyone?
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Yarnbombing Crochet coral

Also, I chance upon a friendly Japanese lady who introduced to me her Violin and percussion music trainer. Interestingly, the invention uses am accelerometer device place on the player’s arm to track your violin playing hand. Additionally, it interfaces with a smart phone app to gauge whether you are playing your songs right right children-friendly cartoon characters.

Furthermore, on showcase are Microbit driven servo orchestra powered off a power bank. You have a mix of keyboards which tracks your fingers using lightgates which allows you to “play” your instrument without even touching it.

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Violin trainer aid
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Music percussion trainer
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Servo orchestra

Additionally, the Yarnbombing Group is back this year again with their Crochet knitting sessions and display. This year, they have a crochet coral formation out on display. each with a collection of sea life comprising of fishes, corals and even shell fish such as clams and crabs.

Getting your hands dirty

Dremel booth with a smaller DIY section, but still just as educational
Dremel booth with a smaller DIY section, but still just as educational.

Furthermore, Dremel is back this year too with a smaller set of tool arsenal. This allowed participants to have a go at wood work and crafting out functional or novelty items from the various bits of wood available. However, unlike last year’s outdoor venue, you could tell that they had reduced the number of tooling stations this year given venue space limitations.

Trying a go at center punching at the Dremel booth for drilling
Trying a go at center punching at the Dremel booth for drilling.

Moreover, commercial entities such as Autodesk and Cognizant were present this year too. Additionally, new for this year is Lionsforge. Lionsforge is Singapore’s very own home grown manufacturer and provider of Craftlaser. They deal with affordable range of desktop carbon dioxide laser cutter machines.

Lionsforge Craftlaser, affordable carbon dioxide laser cutter machines on display
Lionsforge Craftlaser, affordable carbon dioxide laser cutter machines on display.

Additionally, there are some try-out booths where you can have a ago at Drone racing flying through an obstacle course or Virtual reality games.

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Autodesk Booth
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Drone obstacle course
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Virtual reality games

Strong school participation

The pleasing thing I found about Maker Faire, was the participant’s genuine interests on the subject. We are talking about kids who are willing to spend time after school just to tinker with electronics and kits. Also, even voluntarily burning up their entire weekend with the school at the Maker Faire.

Kids entertaining members of the public at their school booths.
Kids entertaining members of the public at their school booths.

Moreover, the contributions by school’s this year is similarly strong. In Singapore, especially, the polytechnics, usually have large cohort graduating every year with a large range of final year projects which are often showcased in their Campus. Singapore Polytechnic for instance have their SPinnovex exhibition. You might see them also similarly showcased here too.

NYP with their retro-fied Arcade gaming machine, a hit with the kids
NYP with their retro-fied Arcade gaming machine, a hit with the kids.

A display of multiple science disciplines

Furthermore, I enjoyed the variety of ingenuity which goes into the inventions the kids make. Notable ones includes Tampines Secondary school, as well as tertiary institutions such as Ngee Ann Poly, Singapore Polytechnic and SUTD. Additionally, the Singapore Polytechnic booth have on display a mini toy drone soccer pitch. Here, small inexpensive toy drones were modified and reprogrammed into remote-controlled hover soccer robots. An affordable solution to owning your very own soccer team!

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Singapore Poly Pong Machine
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Modified hover drones
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Single player air hockey

The great thing about these inventions is that it usually encompasses many engineering disciplines to get a exhibit out. Taking an automatic clothes rack from Monfort Junior school for instance. You observe students having to deal with structural and mechanical design to build the super structure required. Electrical engineering to wire up the motors, servos, stop limit switches and rain sensors. To software having to program logic into the microcontroller for the “magic” to happen.

Smart Invention ideas

Going in hand with the nation’s Smart Nation initiatives, came a myriad of “Smart” inventions and concepts. Moreover, I was introduced by Cupcake maker and tester which tests for food dryness using a humidity sensor. Also, when the cupcake passes the test, the students demonstrated programmable logic control into having the machine decide to carry on in dispensing cupcake topping filings to complete their dish. A rather adorable invention indeed.

Smart Kitchen Cupcake sensor
Smart Kitchen Cupcake sensor

Furthermore, on showcase too is an automatic Aeroponics plant watering system built by students. Called the Smart vertical Garden, it is a multi-tiered system powered by a 5-volt small water pump. Also, it feeds nutrient water with constant monitoring with nutrient loopback and recycles the water used.

Aeroponics re-circulation plant watering rig
Aeroponics re-circulation plant watering rig by Smart vertical Garden.

However, strangely, there is minimal university involvement this year, with only SUTD being the only attendee. Also, it was quite a letdown that both NUS and NTU were nowhere to be seen during my visit.

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Smart dustbins
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Animatronics and mining rigs?
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Mircobit inventions

Moreover, there was a fairly strong 3D printing presence this year. Interesting finds such as 3D printing with 2 motors, as well as interest groups who does fused deposit 3D printing for collectable custom toys and figurines.

3D Printed toys and figurines
3D Printed toys and figurines

Items for Sale

Furthermore, as with every Maker Faire, on top of that you also get your usual collection of sale booths hawking and selling hand-made maker items of trade. However, thankfully, there are few of such booths this year, giving the fair much less a stale commercial feel.

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3D Printing pens
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More yarn bomb!
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Sale booths

That concludes the first part of my Maker Faire 2018 walkthrough. The next part of my Faire explorations talks about the Microbit micro-controller, which you can obtain free in the show. Soak in the contagious enthusiasm of the makers, especially the students. Lets go!

Next part of the article.

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