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Everything you need to know about Sydney Mini Maker Faire 2016

The greatest show (and tell) on Earth is coming back to Sydney for the third straight year.

The Sydney Mini Maker Faire is basically a grown-ups science fair. It celebrates the Maker movement by gathering tech enthusiasts, scientists, and garage tinkerers to share what they’ve created – and how these inventions are changing the way we experience everyday life.

Dev Anand Dorasamy is one such maker. He designed a building block system that – more than just looking nice and colourful – actually has functional capabilities.

“It’s what you would get if LEGO met IKEA, fell in love and had a baby,” he said.

Aran blocks

He got the idea for the system, called Aran Blocks, after playing with his son Aran and his LEGO. He noticed how the blocks only linked vertically, and the buildings they built weren’t structurally sound. So he decided to find a better alternative.

But the convention doesn’t just feature makers who build toys. It also has makers who ‘destroy.’

BotBitz is a local company that makes and designs robot-related parts – but that’s not the most exciting part about them. When they’re not tinkering, they hold national and international competitions, pitting robot against robot.

Fighting robots

That’s right. These guys engineer robots armed with hammers, flamethrowers, and even kinetic energy weapons, then have a fight to the death.

According to Steve Martin, the creator of BotBitz, he started the business after seeing the Australian robotics community’s need to have a place to source parts. The robot wars then stemmed from there.

“It began as a hobby on the side and has grown every year,” he said.

Another exhibitor is Dominik Fretz of Open Remote Operated Vehicles (OpenROV), which builds open-source, low-cost underwater robots.

An underwater drone

While most underwater bots cost millions, OpenROV’s version allows amateur ocean researchers to explore the ocean’s depths, without breaking bank. Think of regular science teachers taking their class on field trips under the sea, without actually having to take them there.

Now every science geek can feel like a National Geographic explorer!

Other exhibitors include those making advancements in transportation, biohacking, and 3D printing – one of which is Eora 3D, the world’s first high-precision 3D scanner solely powered by your smartphone.

There will also be family-friendly talks and performances showing how modern science has enriched various creative mediums.

The Sydney Mini Maker Faire runs between 13–14 August and is a “family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness.”

A 3D printer

If all this piques your interest, be sure to get along to the annual Sydney Science Festival, held throughout Sydney between 11−21 August 2016, and featuring eleven days of stimulating talks, workshops, exhibitions, and events – including the fascinating Powerhouse Museum family day and the aptly named Shock Room.