Elektor Visits the Maker Faire Bay Area 2019

May 30, 2019 | 08:33
Members of the Elektor Team attended the Maker Faire Bay Area 2019 in San Mateo, California, to meet electronics designers and to chat with the electronics-focused companies on exhibit. Despite some rain, it was an excellent show with a nice variety of electronics innovation on display.

The tens of thousands of makers, artists, innovators, and DIY enthusiasts who attended the 2019 event were treated to the usual Maker Faire mix of engineering, science, and arts and crafts. The Elektor team focused on the engineering-related aspects of the show. Below we highlight a few of the interesting exhibitors and technologies that were on display.

Engineering Solutions at the Maker Faire

Maker Faire attendees looking for easy-to-use development hardware solutions were in luck. The Turta team exhibited its shields and modular IoT boards, including the IoT Node-ESP32 development board, which features a modular sensor slot, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and an Arduino IDE-compatible ESP32 SoC. The company also sells a MKR Sensor Shield, MKR Motor Shield, CNC HAT for Raspberry Pi, Relay HAT for Raspberry Pi, and more. 
 
Turta boards at Maker Faire Bay Area 2019
Turta's IoT Node ESP32 and its Relay Shield for Arduino.
Need a portable electronics workbench? The nScope might be for you. Nick Marchuk, a mechatronics lecturer at Northwestern University, demonstrated the nScope platform, which is pitched on the team's website as a tool that "empowers you to create anything with electronics right at your desk." The easy-to-use nScope is an oscilloscope, power supply, and function generator in one small package.
 
nScope at the Maker Faire Bay Area 2019
nScope is a USB-powered oscilloscope, function generator, and power supply.
Pokit Innovations grabbed some attention at the Maker Faire with its handy Pokit Meter, which is a compact wireless multimeter, digital storage oscilloscope (DSO), and logger. CEO Paul Moutzouris explained how the easy-to-use, $79 Pokit connects wirelessly to a smartphone and enables you to measure, display and log voltage, temperature, current, and resistance. The company's website includes many more details about the super-portable measurement tool.
 
Pokit Meter at Maker Faire Bay Area
Pokit Meter connects wirelessly to your smartphone.
Audio lovers and electronics enthusiasts alike were lined up to check out Beatbox Instruments's innovative Beatbox kit. The compact cardboard DIY drum machine kit — which features an on-board amplifier, speaker, battery assemblies, and more — enables users to start creating beats for much less than a typical drum machine. Founder Ethan Jin began working on the product while studying at Babson University in the United States in 2017. Jin said the product will be launched via Kickstarter in June 2019. Interested DJs and DIYers can sign up for notifications about the campaign on the company's website.
 
Beatbox kit at the Maker Faire Bay Area 2019
The Beatbox includes an on-board amplifier, speaker and battery.
Raspberry Pi users will be interested in SixFab's Raspberry Pi IoT shields, which were exhibited at the Maker Faire Bay Area. Among the various solutions on display were the Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield and the Raspberry Pi Cellular IoT App Shield. The former is an interface bridge between the Raspberry Pi and Mini PCIe 3G/4G/LTE modules. The latter is an LTE-M and NB-IoT and eGPRS combined Raspberry Pi shield with GNSS functionality.

The Odyssey Board team drew some traffic at the show from students and teachers intersted in electronics. Developed by two teachers, Terri Sligar and Chad Norman, the Odyssey Board is intended to introduce young students to electronics and to excite them about microcontroller-based projects. A full kit listed on the company's website costs $145 and includes: an Arduino-compatible Keyestudio Uno Microcontroller, an Odyssey Board Mounting Base, a potentiometer, a switch, three hex socket blocks, a TMP36 temperature sensor, a photoresistor, a piezo speaker, assorted LEDs, instruction booklet, and much more.

Audeme Cofounder and CTO Gerald Friedland was on hand to demonstrate the MOVI Arduino Shield, which is a speech recognizer and synthesizer. The device's features and benefits include: full sentence speech recognition (up to 150 phrases), an integrated speech synthesizer, an onboard mic or headset compatibility, and more. You can use the shield with Arduino Uno, Mega, and Due, and you can program with Arduino IDE. Demos are posted on the company's website.

The aforementioned products were a few of the more notable solutions we came across at the Maker Faire Bay Area. You might also find the following products interesting:
 
  • Obniz Board: Control hardware from your smartphone
  • Phase Dock Workbench Project Development Kit: Protect your designs and take them with you.
  • Quest for Space Space Kits: Educational kits that enable students to experiment with electronics engineering and run experiments on the International Space Station (ISS). 
  • Whizoo Controleo3: A reflow oven controller that's fully compatible with the Arduino programming environment and runs Arduino Zero sketches.

Electronics Innovation Continues

A week before the event, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the future of the Maker Faire Bay Area is in question. But that doesn't mean the global electronics maker movement is in trouble. Elektor staffers know well that global DIY electronics community is stronger than ever, and so we will remain focused on delivering high-quality engineering content and tools to our members. We encourage engineers and electronics makers to check out the free Elektor Labs online platform, where they can collaborate and design electronics.
 
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