Meet the Sponsor: Bit Space


Photo Credit: Bit Space

Want to create a mixed reality game with a steel framed cube? Join Bit Space at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire!

Located in Lincoln Square, Bit Space’s mission is “to engage, enrich, and educate the creative and critical minds of our youth, using a full spectrum of material and computational skills for open-ended inquiry and design-build projects.  From complete beginners through PhD caliber research, Bit Space can prepare young makers for any future they wish to pursue.” In conversation with co-founder Thomas Kearns, he explains, “Emerging technologies are transforming the way we make things, and the way we live, work, and play are increasingly a convergence of material and computational intelligence.” The space has several classes for ages starting at 6 years up to  18 years. They run many different classes from summer camps, workshops, and exciting birthday parties. BIt Space has many different projects available including making a skateboard “from a stack of raw veneer to a tricked out and completely custom, fully functional board they can ride out on.” Kearns explains, “Recent projects have included pewter casts using laser cut molds, laser trip wires without microcontrollers, interactive sound and light projects built with Arduinos, and virtual reality obstacle courses complete with physics based interactive elements.”

For Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, BIt Space will be bringing a prototype of a new project that they’ll run in their summer camp called “Inter-Act.” There, they will create “a 10′ steel framed cube which will serve as the armature/enclosure for a week long group project. Each week of the camp, the participants will re-conceive and implement a new identity or program for the cube using a range of technologies. With each new group will come a new set of interests and aspirations and hence a whole new concept for the cube. Right now Bit Space is “feverishly working on setting up some of the core building blocks for this, with body tracking using Kinect to augment the tracking within Oculus Rift and an improved communication framework for Arduino and Unity3d.  We’re going to bring the Beta version of the cube to the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, and work with participants to build out a mixed reality game experience that pits a group of people outside the cube with or against a brave soul wearing the Oculus inside.” That sounds really swell.

Check out a video of the project here:

Come one, come all and join Bit Space and their amazing mixed interactive Cube at Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire!


Meet the Maker: Digital Media

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Photo Credit: Digital Media

Want to travel to far away and impossible places without even moving? Come to the Digital Media Green Screen at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire!

Caitlin Stich, leading teacher for the program, explains: “Digital Media at Schurz is a four year program that teaches students the tools and techniques needed to be a graphic designer in the professional world.” There are over 100 students in the program with even more students joining in the fall as freshmen.

For Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, participants of the faire will have the opportunity to learn and play with a green screen. According to Caitlin Stich, “The green screen, or really any solid color screen, allows us to easily change the background of an image.  First we will have our guests choose a background from our selection which is full of cartoon landscapes, and other silly places.  Then guests stand in front of the green screen and act out their scene such as if their background has the T-Rex from Jurassic Park chasing them, maybe they are pretending to be scared running away.  Guests can either take the photograph using our DSLR cameras of each other or have our professional Digital Media artists take the photograph.” They’ll upload the photos to Google Drive so anyone can use them for Facebook or whatever! People should come and learn about this technology used so often as “special effects” in movies. Also, people should get ready to get silly and have fun with it!  Digital Media is excited to meet new potential students who may be interested in joining the program in their Freshmen year.

We can’t wait to “go places” with the Digital Media Green Screen at Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire!

Maker Faire Speaker Series: Progressive Education

This year we are pleased to present seven speakers who are doing amazing things in the education and making space. The inaugural theme is Progressive Education and each person will speak to the ways they are advancing progressive methods of learning for kids, teachers, those who work within traditional models of pedagogy, and those pioneering new trails.

Speaker Schedule

Meghan Hausman (Center for College Access and Success) – Project Based Learning & Pop-up Makerspaces 10:30 – 11:00 AM

Jackie Moore (LevelUp & Southside Maker Faire) – The Value of IKI Making 11:00 – 11:30 AM

Mike Meiners (Co-Founder, Hackstudio) – Do It First, Figure It Out Second 11:30 – 12:00 PM

Charles Adler (Center for Lost Arts, Co-Founder, Kickstarter) – Creative Independence 1:00 – 1:30 PM

Christina Pei (CNS Maker Faire founder) & Dan Kramer (Principal, Schurz High School) – Making Within a Public School Curriculum 1:30 – 2:00 PM

Anneliese Gegenheimer (Founder, Chicago Students Invention Convention) – Inspiring Bright Ideas Through Invention #ChiKidsInvent 2:00 – 2:30 PM

Lawrence Pavia – Self-Directed Learning 2:30 – 3:00 PM

Meet the Maker: Build Your Own Chicago


Photo Credit: Build Your Own Chicago

Want to make a paper sculpture of the John  Hancock building or the El? Join Build Your Own Chicago at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire and construct architecture!

Matt Bergstrom started making Build Your Own Chicago cards in 1999. He started the project in order to teach himself Adobe Illustrator and has been making architecture cards ever since. Each card in Build Your Own is a 2D design of a building in Chicago and several other cities. You can cut it out and build it into a 3D building. Bergstrom explains: “By reconstituting the two-dimensional image into a scale model you can remember visiting the real place and imagine yourself inside it.”  His first models are the Water Tower, Chicago Tribune Tower and Red Line El Train, but he has expanded into new designs including iconic buildings in other cities including NY, San Francisco, and Washington DC. We asked him which models he recommends to start with; he suggested starting with the El Train cards, the Rookery or the John Hancock. Bergstrom explained that one of his most difficult is Marina City but many paper crafters love the challenge!

At Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, he’ll be selling the cards and will have tools available for participants to build their own cities. There will be other large cutouts to practice with. He’ll be there to assist in the assembling of new buildings! Matt Bergstrom is thrilled at all the creativity he sees at Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire; he can’t wait to check out the other makers at the Faire.

So make sure to stop by and build some of Chicago’s iconic buildings with Build Your Own Chicago!

Meet the Maker: Trossen Robotics

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Photo Credit: Trossen Robotics

Trossen Robotics is a familiar face at Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire. Trossen Robotics wants people to learn how to make robots and work with arduinos. Since the company started in 2000, it has been designing and manufacturing robot kits for anyone to learn. For Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, Kyle Granat will be bringing a variety of robots ranging from standalone arms and rovers to humanoids and hexapod. The hexapod can be put on a leash;  Attendees are encouraged to walk it around. For folks new to robotics, Trossen Robotics shows how accessible robotics are to both kids and adults. All of their files are open source so anyone can make their own Trossen robot from scratch. This mentality lends itself to accessibility as much as it does to building a community of people who care about creating and building. That means talking about successes as much as failures. Trossen is launching a Kickstarter campaign in May for an open source arduino and robotics curriculum. You can find out more at the faire!

What has Trossen Robotics got up its sleeve this year for Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire? They plan on having a competition where participants will be able to pilot rovers within an arena to bring back the most colored balls to their home base. Here’s where it gets awesome: you won’t get to use your own point of view. Cameras will be attached to the robot so competitors will have to pilot looking through the “eyes” of the rover. This will be a Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire first and we’re super excited to see Trossen continue to evolve in their mission.

Kyle Granat put it best when he said “We are standing on the shoulders of giants so it is our duty to share what we learn with the world.” We can’t wait to see what they bring to Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire.