July 26, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Creativity, innovations run wild at Maker Faire

Detroit Maker Faire
Detroit Maker Faire: A festival of ingenuity, creativity and fun!

Dearborn— For the more than 400 inventors, hackers, tinkerers and explorers participating in the fifth annual Maker Faire Detroit on Saturday hard work and experimentation gave way to good old-fashioned fun.

Fun like drag racing custom-designed power tools.

“My job is to make the track and let the other people bring the racers,” said Jim Dallam from the Cincinnati maker space HIVE13. “It’s a lot of fun to see what they bring.”

As visitors to the Maker Faire took their turns racing the less-dangerous sanders down the straightaways, others marveled at “Vlad the Impaler,” a chainsaw racer outfitted with a sword that would not be heading to the track any time soon.

“That one there is probably the most dangerous,” said Dallam.

With hundreds of displays including everything from hand built Star Wars drones and dancing, painting robots, to marshmallow shooters and a life-size version of the game Mouse Trap, the Maker Faire has something for everyone.

In the spirit of creation, ROBLOX, an online gaming platform that allows players to create their own games, brought out some of their best developers to showcase the products they have coded.

“Everyone here is just building games, playing each others’ games, and getting to know each other,” said Antoni Choudhuri, an engineer with the San Mateo, Calif., company.

“Some of the programmers who have become successful are actually getting paid for their games.”

David Nurkkala, 18, started playing ROBLOX in 2008, but soon began building his own worlds and games.

“Because of ROBLOX, I really got into programming, especially video game programming,” the Upland, Ind., teen said. “It’s my passion.”

He said he makes about $11 an hour for one of his most popular games on the site.

“I highly suggest it as a way to get started (in programming), said Nurkkala.

One of the most eye-catching and entertaining displays at the Faire was the Crazy Cart demonstration, Ali Kermani’s invention that has been named Toys’R Us Toy of the Year for 2014.

Kermani, 35, was a 17-year-old high school dropout and skateboarder when he and a friend began developing the concept for the electric cart that uses a hand lever to make the toy drift through turns.

A decade later, he has a successful creation marketed and sold by Razor, the brand that sells scooters and other toys. The Crazy Cart retails for $369.

“This is a dream I’ve been working on for 10 years,” Kermani said while showing off the cart at the Maker Faire. “If I can get kids off the couch, playing, spurring their minds, that’s what I’m passionate about.”

More than the product itself, the Monrovia, Calif., native wants to share his story with young inventors in the hopes of inspiring them to persevere.

“When someone tells you no repeatedly, you just see stop lights,” said Kermani. “But the lessons I took from that is these are just sign posts along the way. Don’t stop.”

lrazzaq@detroitnews.com
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Bailey Hannan, 14, cruises around in a giant wheeled Dicycle on Saturday at Maker Faire Detroit at the Henry Ford Museum and grounds in Dearborn / Daniel Mears / The Detroit News
Teagan George, 10 and Chloe George, 12 learn the hard way its not easy to ... (Daniel Mears / The Detroit News)
William McKenzie cruises around in a electric driveable cupcake at Maker ... (Daniel Mears / The Detroit News)