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AZ Tech Beat | May 27, 2017

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Southwest Maker Fest hope to create culture of makers – wrap up

Southwest Maker Fest hope to create culture of makers – wrap up
Jesse A. Millard

Inventors from across the Valley gathered over the weekend in downtown Mesa for the second annual Southwest Maker Fest. Exhibitors displayed robotics, artistic pieces and more for everyone to come and enjoy.

The event has doubled in size and aims to enhance Arizona’s “maker” culture where inventors can gather and collaborate, according to Thomas Sollars, one of the lead organizers.

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“We’re having inventors come out and open up about what they’re doing,” Sollars said.

When Sollars was introduced to the folks at the Mesa Arts Center the volunteer driven event boomed from there, he said.

Parents had brought their children to the event in hopes of creating that spark of interest in STEM, or STEAM as Sollars likes to call. Art is just as important, he said.

Booths were filled with everything from robotics and welding to hacking events where children could ask questions of the creators and realize they can become a maker too.

“There is a big drive of getting kids interested (in the sciences) at an early age,” Sollars said. And the Southwest Maker Fest is doing just that.

Executive Director at the Mesa Arts Center, Cindy Ornstein hopes events like this help foster a maker culture where everyone can band together and create. At events like this everyone can learn and show one another what they have been creating, Ornstein said.

Software engineer at Intel Pranav Sanghadia was showcasing a gesture controlled robotic arm he and his son had made. Maker Fest goers stood around in awe as Sanghadia and his son would control the robotic arm with their hands.

Sanghadia and his son had a radio chip attached to a glove where they would control the robotic arm from.

Having a maker culture and a world where everyone is taped into their ability to create is important for society, Ornstein said.

Read more about AZ SciTech festival here.