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May 5, 2009

ReMaking America: Building a Sustainable Future--Nation's Leading Innovators Gather at Maker Faire 2009

May 5, 2009; San Mateo, CAMaker Faire, the world's largest do-it-yourself (DIY) festival is taking place on May 30th & 31st at the San Mateo County Expo Center. This annual gathering of Makers will showcase the countries best innovations in arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology.

This year's theme, "ReMake America: Building a Sustainable Future", is based on President Obama's call to action to participate in a new era of DIY. During his inaugural address, the President spoke about the bedrock of America, citing that it has been "the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things" that has led to our prosperities and freedoms. With that lesson in mind, he is calling on everyone to resume the work that will remake America once again.

In an effort to encourage people to participate, here are ten ideas from Maker Faire--along with ingenious examples from 10 Makers--to show Americans how they too can join the Maker movement by creating their own DIY projects.

Top 10 Ideas for ReMaking America

Be Resourceful: Necessity is the mother of all invention and now, more than ever, is the time to make or fix things instead of buying them:

  • Learn how to fix your broken iPod or Apple product yourself by troubleshooting the problem, getting the parts you need and following step-by-step instructions iFixit enables you to easily repair devices on your own.
Conserve Energy: Action starts at home by unplugging idle electronics, replacing products with energy efficient ones and subsidizing with natural resources:
  • One Maker takes the DIY to a whole new level by proving self-sufficiency is possible. Luke Iseman cultivates just about everything he needs to live sustainably including using recycled greywater for irrigation, practicing permaculture for food production and inventing a garden controlling system that only waters plants when they need it.
Alternative Transportation: From electric vehicles to innovative bicycles, there are many methods that don't involve gas-powered vehicles:
  • Take a ride on the Solar Touring Bike, which allows two riders to travel up to 200 miles per day entirely powered by the sun.
Revive Our Agricultural Roots: From urban farming to bee keeping, find more ways to live sustainably through agriculture:
  • At the HOMEGROWN Village you can dig in the dirt and connect to the soil and the source of your good food.
Participate in Community: Cultivate trades and crafts by engaging with others and sharing knowledge:
  • Stop by to see the sophisticated DIY robotics warships of the Western Warship Combat Club (WWCC). These 6-foot-long robotic warships duel to the death in a large, specially built pond with guns that fire CO2-powered steel balls.
Encourage Learning: Passing knowledge to future generations ensures that innovation will thrive engage students by providing hands-on learning experiences:
  • Tom Zimmerman is an inventor, educator and researcher who volunteers at an elementary school, teaching computer animation and robotics, and at a high school, helping students with their science fair projects. His belief that learning can be enhanced when students have something to hold or touch resulted in barcode system that had students arrange a deck of cards in a sequence to write computer programs.
Monitor Usage: Be aware of how much energy and natural resources you use on a daily basis to help promote conservation efforts:
  • Tweet-a-watt wirelessly manages energy usage by automatically updating daily power consumption to a user's Twitter account.
Lend a Hand: Volunteer your time to promote DIY projects in schools and after-school programs:
  • Tinkering School is dedicated to developing hands-on building experiences for children of all ages. It offers an exploratory curriculum to help kids learn how to build things by providing a collaborative environment.
Take Risks: The entrepreneurial spirit of America is based on the premise of nothing ventured, nothing lost:
  • Learn how to do-it-yourself with starter kits that help create your own Jellyfish Art or Cardboard Surfboards.
Celebrate Failures: Failure is an essential key to learning, by sharing mistakes you can help prevent others from making their own thus promoting efficient production:
  • Mr. Jalopy, a leader in the Maker movement, embodies this fearless spirit his trials and tribulations are closely chronicled and watched by others.

For more ideas and additional insight into these DIY principals, please visit the Featured Maker page at http://makerfaire.com/bayarea/2009/makers.

About Maker Faire
Maker Faire is being held on May 30 & 31, 2009 at the San Mateo County Expo Center. Started in San Mateo, California in 2006, it has since expanded to Austin and is the premier event for grassroots American innovation. Held annually in each of these locations, the event may expand elsewhere in the future. Maker Faire is supported by Make Magazine, craftzine.com and O'Reilly Media, the premier information source for leading-edge computer technologies. The company's books, conferences, and web sites bring to light the knowledge of technology innovators.

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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