Our tinfoil helmets at the ready

tinfoil helmet
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

We had a great time at Maker Faire yesterday!

Consider how the tinfoil helmet making booth succeeded! It was so simple. The suggestion of space aliens and tinfoil, provided by the giant UFO and the informational poster, did not constrain one’s concept of what a helmet should be. Rook made Moomin’s helmet. Mine was a headband with antennae. I saw bonnets, top hats, beanies, and all different kinds of helmets and hats!

All from a few rolls of industrial strength tinfoil!

The giant Mousetrap was great. Rook got chosen to turn the crank to lift the 2-ton safe, along with a dude in a yellow shirt. We cheered wildly! The main Mousetrap dude, Mark Perez, proposed marriage to his partner, the chick in the sexy mouse costume with corset and frilly thigh highs. I couldn’t tell if it was real or something they did every hour on the hour, but it seemed real and very romantic if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t mind being put on the spot.

I’m all hot to download the instructions to build a marshmallow popgun from .

The Battlebots, or Combots, or whatever, fill me with bloodthirsty glee. Brutality really kicked ass. Plus it has a cool name. On the other hand cute zippy little robots like Mosquito were alluring… and I love Texas Heat for the outrageousness of having a flamethrower. I wish I could remember the name of the robot I saw years ago — the one that had a giant hammer sort of thing. It made for a dramatic battle, the way the hammer would come pounding down with a tremendous noise, very ominous, while the other robot zipped around frantically trying to avoid squashing! Anyway, I watched some battles with Moomin, and then later after he left with Rook I watched some more with another bloodthirsty small child in my lap and a slightly more peaceful one by my side.

I nearly bought this tiny helicopter but didnt’, and now am filled with regrets. It’s almost my birthday… Radio Shack here I come…

If you have a nerdy child you could teach them how to build their own game controller using Exemplar, which is open source software from HCI at Stanford, along with some fairly cheap bits of hardware. I tried a motion detector, a pressure sensor, and an accelerometer. You set a threshold for each kind of motion and then associate it with a keystroke or other action. So, very quickly, you can make a Wii-like controller that will work with any game. That really rocked!

P.S. I’m all for geeky parents, but WHY must Wired be all up my grill with the Geek dad thing? I’m sure it’s a cool blog with cool guys and all… BUT. What would be so wrong about geek parent? Did I not just see a jesus fuckload of geeky moms at Maker Faire? It seems so simple…. just make it neutral! Could have been a cool opportunity to bust some stereotypes – but no.

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