I somehow manage to spend little to no money at Maker Faire. I chalk it up to sheer willpower because every year I make a round (or two or three) through the Maker Shed, where all the cool products are sold. This year was particularly tough, but I managed to make it out without a credit card charge -- yet not without gathering up some of the most interesting items that I bet you'll be interested in too.
I've come to the conclusion that there will never be a truly sustainable electronic device, but there can be truly sustainable electronic device owners which make electronics have the lightest possible footprint on our planet. The first steps for any of these green gadget owners is getting comfortable with making, hacking, repairing and modifying their devices. To that end, the Maker Shed is filled with resources.
First up is the book Getting Started with the Internet of Things, which teaches you how to use microcontrollers to make the real world even more connected. We talk about this frequently on TreeHugger, but you might recognize it more as the basis of the smart home -- connecting your appliances and gadgets to sensors and the web, so you can be alerted about or control the functions of these items. The limits of the Internet of Things is contained only by your imagination.
And that brings us to another "I want that" item -- the Ultimate Microcontroller Pack which gets you started in actually connecting up stuff around you so that your stuff can sense. So tempting to start rigging up a smarter apartment for myself!
Of course, what gadget tinkerer wouldn't be interested in a handy soldering kit?
And definitely what maker wouldn't be interested in taking home their very own MakerBot? This one was really tough to walk past.
Mintronics has several rad kits that will fit inside, you guessed it, an Altoids tin -- a favorite hackable container among DIYers for small gadget projects. This particular kit is a "Survival Pack" with parts needed for various projects, though you might not know you need them yet.
After all, "You never know when you'll find yourself in a MacGyver moment."
And of course if I want the Mintronics Survival Pack, I really wanted the MintDuino Game Pack. Here's the run down of everything this little blue box has to offer:
"The MintDuino Game Pack provides a fun and informative way to learn about the world of Arduino compatible microcontrollers. This exclusive kit combines the Mintronics: MintDuino, Mintronics: Survival Pack, and the MintDuino book to give you all the necessary parts and instructions to create your very own 2-player reaction game. Even if you’ve never dabbled in electronics have no idea how to program, the MintDuino Game Pack will give you a firm foundation with Arduino and the confidence and ability to create your very own projects!"
And finally, one of the books that has been most inspiring to me to get off my rear and make things myself -- Made By Hand. I reviewed this book awhile back and it has held a special place in my head since then. If you're looking for DIY inspiration, read this.