The White House is hosting its first Maker Faire to showcase the efforts of children and adults who build, invent, tinker, engineer, craft, and create.
Maker Faires, the first of which was held near San Francisco in 2006 and organized by the publishers of Make magazine, are part of a larger push for increased entrepreneurship and innovation, known as the "maker movement." The movement urges a do-it-yourself approach and exploration of new technologies, such as 3-D printers and laser cutters.
The June 18 event at the White House will feature more than 100 makers and 30 exhibits. Among the inventions and crafts on display are a 17-foot robotic giraffe, comfortable crutches, "smart" furniture, a biodiesel car, and balloon cameras that help with environmental mapping.
The student who wowed President Barack Obama with his marshmallow shooter at the White House Science Fair in 2012 will also be
there with his newest innovation: the 3x3x3 LED Cube Arduino shield. (I'm really not sure what it is either.)
Senior administration officials, CEOs, and more than a dozen mayors will be in attendance as well.
President Obama also proclaimed June 18 National Day of Making. "I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that encourage a new generation of makers and manufacturers to share their talents and hone their skills," he said in the proclamation. (The official hashtag is #NationofMakers.)
The White House hosted its fourth annual science fair last month. While science fairs and maker faires do overlap, the latter tend to include more arts and entrepreneurship (and tend to be a bit more wacky. In fact, the tagline for Maker Faire is, "Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new.")
Photo: President Barack Obama checks out the "Extreme Marshmallow Cannon" designed by Joey Hudy of Phoenix, Ariz., during a tour of the White House Science Fair in February 2012. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty.