Olivia Moody and Alex Cone are smart kids.
But even the 12-year-olds from Blythewood were amazed at the innovations on display at EdVenture’s Columbia Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, where the inventive interests of more than 20 makers from Columbia and surrounding areas were on display.
“I’m surprised at how much air it needs to actually hover,” Moody said of a hover board fashioned out of two battery-powered leaf blowers attached to a piece of plywood.
How does the EdVenture Rotocaster work? The blowers push air through holes in the plywood into a bubble of plastic. The air then pushes through tiny holes in the plastic, lifting the board – and its rider – up and across the floor on a pillow of air.
“I know some things about code,” said Cone, who at home learned the Java programming language while making models in the video game Minecraft.
Cone said a 3-D printing station at the Mini Maker Faire that produced miniature robot figurines was “amazing. ... In the future it will be very useful,” he said of the technology.
Joshua Yoon, 10, his dad and his teacher Scott Johnson watched as flames shooting from a seven-foot tube danced as maker Caleb Pinckney pumped music from an amplified speaker through the tube.
Yoon said he learned that it takes “just a few parts to make something really cool.”
A company’s whole IT department by day, Pinckney spends his free time at Cola Makerspace – a membership organization in Columbia for adults interested in collaborating on technology, science and art-based projects.
Midlands Technical College had a table for aspiring makers, drones flew outside at the museum, robots competed and artists made paintings and drawings. The makers ranged from high-tech to crafty.
Some classic technology was on display at the event at the children’s museum, a local version of the larger Maker Faires produced around the world by the same company that publishes the do-it-yourself Make: magazine.
Kids learned how to tap out Morse code from ham radio operators from the Columbia Amateur Radio Club.
Sara Kennedy, with 100 Girls of Code Columbia, was teaching young girls how to spell their names in binary code, a computer language that allows people to talk to – and control – computers.
Kennedy said the organization is trying to encourage girls to “consider becoming a maker of technology instead of being just a consumer of technology” because men outnumber women in programming jobs.
Nancy Marine, who teaches at Killian Elementary School, had a steady stream of miniature makers crowding her table, where she helped them transform old compact discs, bottle caps and a little hardware into spinning tops they decorated with markers.
Wearing a necklace of sharpened pencils, stub-length from use, Marine said she encourages children to make use found objects and recycled materials.
“I love the whole maker movement – getting back to making something with our hands.”
Reach Self at (803) 771-8658.