2017 – The year of Maker Faires!

I am never able to recall what I did in a particular year. But, I think 2017 has been an exciting year for me. Here are the things that come to my mind about 2017 (I collaborated with my brother on most of these projects):

  • I switched jobs and I moved from the West Coast to the East.
  • I visited 13 states this year (30 overall)
  • We exhibited at 4 Maker Faires
  • We wrote three articles for different magazines
  • We published a book!

I am really proud of our exhibit at the Maker Faires: A Personal Health Dashboard

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Personal Health Dashboard

Function of the dashboard

We built the personal health dashboard to motivate oneself to be physically active. It is driven by a Raspberry Pi Zero. We use a Fitbit tracker to keep track of our physical activity. Hence, we used the Fitbit API to build this dashboard.

  • Every 15 minutes, the dashboard makes use of the Fitbit API to determine the total number of steps clocked for the day.
  • The dashboard counts down from the step goal using the steps clocked for the day. For example: In the above picture, I have about 3625 steps left for the day and my daily step goal is 11000.
  • We built two versions: one that counts up while the other that counts down. We found the latter to be useful since it informs you of the activity left for the day. You could plan your exercise accordingly.
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Dashboard V1: Counts up to the step goal

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Dashboard V2: Counts down from the step goal

We participated in 4 Maker Faires across the country:

  • World Maker Faire – September 2017 in Queens, NY
  • East Bay Mini Maker Faire – October 2017 in Oakland, CA
  • Cleveland Mini Maker Faire – November 2017 in Cleveland, OH
  • Rochester Mini Maker Faire – November 2017 in Rochester, NY

What did we learn?

Traveling is awesome

Our first trip was to the World Maker Faire in NYC. I picked my brother up from Cleveland and drove to New York City. It was an amazing experience.

I am someone who is always nervous before embarking on a trip. I don’t know why but this is slowly changing since I started traveling frequently. We also got to visit the Adirondacks region in Upstate New York:

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Adirondacks, Upstate New York

Maker Faires are a source of entertainment

You get to meet a lot of people at the Maker Faire. It is important to visit other booths at the Maker Faire. They serve as a source of inspiration for future projects. We got to meet Lady Ada from adafruit.com, John Park from Adafruit, 3D Printing Nerd, the dude from Maker’s Muse. I strongly recommend visiting other booths at the Maker Faire:

We also witnessed some major announcements in the Hardware World:

  • The Arduino Foundation announced some major changes to their organization: Arduino.org and Arduino.cc merged to become a single entity
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Massimo Banzi’s announcement at the World Maker Faire

  • They also announced some exciting new hardware:
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Massimo Banzi’s Hardware Announcement

Freebies:

We got a lot of freebies at the Maker Faires. Our favorites include:

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  • A book by Simon Monk signed by the author himself:
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Image source: adafruit.com

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Simon Monk’s autograph

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Image: Protocentral’s Github repo

Networking Opportunities

We got to meet different kinds of people from different walks of life. Here are some highlights:

  • The Raspberry Pi Foundation director tweeted about our project:

As I write this article, I realized that 2017 was an eventful (successful?) year! I look forward to 2018!

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