A Look Back at Maker Faire 2008


This year, we decided to set up shop at the 3rd annual Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA. Last year, Cycling ’74 shared a little corner of a booth with the nice people at MakingThings, and that was enough to get us hooked on this crazy annual celebration of all things DIY and electrified.

We found MakingThings inside the Shed, and we got a little 10′x10′ booth in Expo Hall, not far from the hourly Tesla coil demos. We set up a couple of computers running a MIDI-controlled synthesizer patch, an Arduino I/O demo, and a small collection of Jitter patches.

We’re used to being the odd-ball company in the corner of fairs and trade shows, so it was a thrill to see so much MaxMSP and Jitter expertise being demonstrated at the Maker Faire. A lot of our friends and long-time users stopped by the booth to say hello and take a peek at Max 5. The Cycling ’74 booth was a real hub of activity. We also got to meet a lot of great new people in the Expo Hall and hear about their awesome projects.

Here are some project highlights from the show that use Max:

  • Josh Boughey brought along a couple of friends to help promote his Stribe controller, a uniquely designed fader box inspired by the Monome project. It was great to finally see the Stribe in person and meet the nice people behind it.


  • Over at the CNMAT table, Adrian Freed and Michael Zbyszynski were demonstrating some peculiar interfaces built with new conductive materials and Michael’s experiments in molecular gastronomy (carrot caviar anyone?).
  • Nearby, Jitter power-user Peter Nyboer was Maxing it up with his Livid Ohm controller and a couple of Percussa AudioCubes.


  • Perry Hoberman had a fantastic 3D viewing project on view that used Jitter’s OpenGL to do some great tablet-controlled 3D sketching. Maybe it’s our love of anything to do with 3D glasses, but we had a lot of fun watching it in action.
  • Also on hand were Guillermo Galindo’s Max-powered sound robot MAIZ.
  • The Guitar Zeros show how combining gaming, music, and computers can be a beautiful (and fun) thing.


  • ALERT (Active Learning Environment with Robotoic Tangibles) allowed people to interact with the iRobot Roomba by placing tiles on the floor that it can recognize.


  • And there was Anomaly: an interactive adaptive scupture/installation (metal sculpture of a tree with spinning bicycle wheels combined with sensors, MidiTron and Max). The scultpure acts as a sound generator and controller.


While we enjoy seeing all the Max-related projects, we don’t miss other Maker Faire highlights like the giant, rolling cupcakes and all the pedal-powered projects including a soundstage for performances.

Hope to see all of you next year!